College of Piping’s 25th anniversary weekend a success

Organizers happy with turnout and weather

Ancelene MacKinnon
Published on June 29, 2014
The massed bands exit the field after performing for the closing ceremony of the Summerside Homecoming Highland Gathering, which was held over the weekend. 
Ancelene MacKinnon/ Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE — It’s been a reunion and a celebration, said Karen Hatcher, executive director at the College of Piping. 

The College celebrated its 25th anniversary this weekend with events like Scottish country dancing, Celtic Idol and competitions for highland dancing, drumming and piping.

Hatcher said the anniversary was an achievement for the College and a hit with the public.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend. All in all it’s been successful.”

They had eight pipe bands, more than 80 highland dancers and 101 step dancers.

“We’ve had people travel as far as Ontario to come and be here,” added Hatcher.

The Highland Gathering is an annual event, but staff at the College has been planning the anniversary for a couple of years, said Hatcher.

“We started creating the alumni database two years ago and it’s been steadily growing. People were able to meet previous students and instructors of the college.”

She had the opportunity to meet a lot of people as well since she has only been with the College for four years.

It was also great to see a lot of familiar faces, as two of the judges are former instructors from the college, added Hatcher.

James Beaumont was the bagpiping judge and Kendra Jones McGrath judged highland dancing.

Hatcher said the weather for all three days was “absolutely phenomenal.”

“When you have an outdoor event, weather plays a significant key and we were shone upon all weekend.”

She couldn’t be happier with how the anniversary played out and she thinks the public would agree.

“Everybody is leaving the field on an all time high.”

Kearsney Smith is the highland dance instructor at the college, and thinks it was a wonderful weekend.

“It’s been a huge achievement for the college to reach 25 years. It was good that everyone came out to support it.”

Smith said they had dancers from Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia participating.

The girls she teaches were excited with how it went and their dedication to dancing paid off, she said.

“It was a lot of preparation and a lot of hard work.”

She said Saturday night was action-packed with Rawlins Cross and Kevin Arthur and the Jacktar Band performing.

“There were so many people around. Everyone was just so excited to be here.”

She can’t see how the anniversary could have been better.

“I think the whole spirit of the weekend was a huge success.”