Piping and Drumming School

The Antigonish Highland Society School of Piping and Drumming is a renewed program in 2015. Previous schools of piping and drumming initiated by the Royal Canadian Legion in 1966 and by the Highland Society in 1988 have produced high caliber pipers, drummers and bands. The key to past success has been excellent instruction. In 2015 we are pleased to announce that such instruction has been secured for this and subsequent years.

All new piping & drumming students must purchase chanters and instructional books (for piping students) or drum pads & sticks prior to classes beginning. Practice chanters may be purchased through John Walsh Bagpipes: www.johnwalshbagpipes.com

The Antigonish Highland Society Pipe Band is prepared to receive new players when they have learned their instrument sufficiently well to play and march with the band. Antigonish has produced competitive bands that have won Atlantic Canadian and North American Championships on a number of occasions. Alumni from the AHS School are playing in competitive bands at all grade levels throughout the Maritime Provinces and beyond.

This is your invitation to join a tradition of excellence.

10 classes will be given between October 6 and December 8, 2015. At $10 a lesson and $100 for the October to December semester. Cheques should be made out to The Antigonish Highland Society Pipe Band.

  • Cheques for registration are required at the time of registration.
  • The School will not reserve space for a student until a signed registration form and payment have been received.
  • Once registered, no refund will be issued if a student decides to withdraw from the program for any reason.

Drumming Instruction

Supervisor/instructor: Ray Haliday

Ray Haliday started drumming at the age of 10. He joined Saint Laurent Pipes and Drums, in Montreal in 1965 and performed with them for 15 years as snare and tenor drummer. He was lead drummer for many of these years. The Saint Larent band changed its name to Clan Sutherland, moved to Grade 2 and joined the Ontario Circuit. Under his leadership, Clan Sutherland won the Grade 2 Drumming Prize at the North American Championships (Maxville) in 1975 and 1976.

Ray’s formation as a drummer was under the late John Kirkwood Sr., former lead drummer of Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band, Clan MacFarlane Pipe Band, and one of the architects of modern day pipe band drumming. Ray played for several years under Brian Viens, Lead Drummer of Grade 1 Cabar Feidh (City of Toronto) Pipe Band.

Instructor: Judy MacMillan-Smith

Judy is the lead drummer with the Clan Thompson Pipe Band. and have been playing with the group about 7 years. She began drumming in the 1970’s with Sprigs of Heather, and went on to play with Iona Highland Village and Cael an Eilean Pipe Bands.

Students should be at least age 8 when they begin instruction. Chanter (the practice instrument for learning the bagpipes) and drumming (on drum pad) lessons will begin on Tuesday, October 6th at the Antigonish Heritage Museum. Registration will be between 6:00 and 7:00pm with the first lesson, and all subsequent lessons beginning at 7:00 pm.

Chanter students who take lessons and practice regularly at home will normally take three to four semesters to be ready to graduate to a beginner bagpipe (called a goose). Drumming students will take two to three semesters to graduate to the snare drum.

Piping Instruction:

Supervisor/Instructor: Scott Williams

Scott Williams has been teaching piping for almost 50 years in Antigonish and for the last 20 years has been teaching in Stellarton as well. He taught summer schools at St. Ann’s Gaelic College for twelve sessions before being engaged to teach at the Ontario School of Piping and Drumming, where he worked for the past 17 summers. He is pleased to be asked to be the Supervisor of Piping Instruction in the newly reorganized Antigonish Highland Society School of Piping which he founded back in the 1980s.

Instructor: Liam Farrell

Liam Farrell, from Trenton, Nova Scotia, began piping with the Army Cadets and was a member of their pipe band for 4 years. For the past three years he has performed and competed with the Clan Thompson Pipe Band under Pipe Major Scott Williams. In addition he has been a member of the Black Watch Association Pipe band for 2 years. He has performed in the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo on three occasions, and has been the Duty Piper at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton for two years. He is currently studying physics at St. FX.”

Register Online:

Registration will be accepted online using the form below. Once your form is submitted you will be re-directed to a page containing payment information.

  • Student's First Name*:
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  • Student's Age*:
  • Date of Birth*:
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  • BagpipingDrumming
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