2019 Instructors & Staff
2018 Instructors & Staff
Our 2019 Instructors:
Fiddle – Alasdair White
Harp – Rachel Clemente, Rachel Hair, Jen Narkevicius and Sue Richards
Highland Dance – Elizabeth Gollan, Mary Beth Klein, Joy Tolev and 1 TBA
Pipes – Barry Conway, Andrew Duncan, Ben Elliot, Stephen MacNeil, Craig Munro and Laureano Thomas-Sanchez
Drums: Snare – Graham Brown, Tenor/Bass – Andrew Elliot
2019 Fiddle Instructor
Alasdair White is an exceptional exponent of West-coast Scottish music and is widely regarded as one of the foremost Scottish fiddler players of his generation.
He was born and brought up on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, a chain of islands of singular importance to Gaelic Scotland’s musical heritage and is perhaps best known as having been a member of Scotland’s seminal Battlefield Band for over 16 years, touring extensively in that time throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
Now resident in New York, Alasdair has performed and recorded as a guest with many of the most well known names in Scottish, Irish and Breton traditional music including Kathleen MacInnis, Julie Fowlis, Eddie Reader, Allan MacDonald, Manus Lunny, Nuala Kennedy, and Arnaud Ciapolino. Current ongoing projects include Daimh, the Alan Kelly Gang and of course Battlefield Band. Alasdair also recently premiered a major commission at the Hebridean Celtic festival in Stornoway, an hour long original piece entitled ‘an Iuchair’.
2019 Harp Instructors
From when she began playing harp at the age of five, Rachel Clemente has had a passion for both classical pedal harp music and traditional and contemporary Scottish clarsach music, which ultimately led her to studying both genres in Scotland. She is a recent graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow and holds a bachelors degree in Traditional Music.
She started her studies with harpist Candyce Dunham until attending the renowned arts boarding school, Interlochen Arts Academy under Joan Holland. Her time at the Royal Conservatoire was spent studying under harpist and composer, Corrina Hewat. Rachel won the title of U.S. National Scottish Harp Champion in 2016.
Rachel has recently released her debut EP, A Quiet Uniqueness, and moved back to her home in Granville. She is currently working towards becoming a certified Suzuki Harp teacher.
Rachel Hair was born and brought up in the Scottish Highland village of Ullapool and first came across the Scottish harp through the work of the renowned Gaelic arts organisation Fèis Rois.
Now resident in Glasgow, a city famed for it’s melting pot of musical and cultural style, she has toured extensively throughout Europe, the USA and beyond, and has released 5 critically acclaimed albums, the most recent Sparks with acoustic guitarist and fellow Scots Trad music obsessive, Ron Jappy.
A much sought after soloist and teacher Rachel has performed/taught at harp festivals in the USA, Russia, France, Switzerland, Spain, Germany and Scotland and her arrangements and compositions from her harp books feature in the current syllabuses of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Trinity College London.
When downtime allows, Rachel teaches locally in Scotland and she also journeys once a month to the Isle of Man where she teaches Manx celtic harp. Having founded the harp ensemble Claasagh on the island, she is at the forefront of the revival of Manx harp music and her work has firmly established the harp at the heart of the Manx tradition.
Perpetually surprised by what comes out of her mouth, Jen Narkevicius prefers to let her harp do the talking – sometimes. From the Washington DC area, where talk is cheap, she leverages wit to bridge the gaps between the two. Jen enjoys teaching and performing. She also is taken with traveling through Scotland with others, pairing the music with the places, people and events that inspired it. She is Co-Director of Harp Camp in SE Pennsylvania and is beyond delighted to be invited to OSAS. Currently Competition Committee Chair of the Scottish Harp Society of America, Jen is a credentialed SHSA judge. She has been privileged to play for “important people” and to be part of the Harpa tours, but she will be even more fortunate to share some tunes with you! She blogs weekly on topics that range from touring Scotland with a harp to staying healthy and fit as a musician, on to fulfilling your promise as a harper on http://www.jeniuscreations.com/blog/ and she especially enjoys writing about herself in the third person.
Sue Richards is a traditional musician and collector of tunes. She has played the harp since childhood, first classical harp at Oberlin College, then Scottish and Irish harps exclusively. She won the Scottish Harp Society of America (SHSA) championship four times, studied and taught in Scotland, and is now a SHSA Distinguished Judge. Sue has performed at Celtic Connections and the Edinburgh International Harp Festival in Scotland, and toured Norway and Sweden with the “Harpa” ensemble. She has played for Presidents Clinton and Bush, Queen Elizabeth of England, and sat in with the Chieftains Irish band. Sue’s main gig is touring with Ensemble Galilei, performing Celtic, early, and original music. As a member of EG she has written music and performed in three multi-media shows, “A Universe of Dreams” (with images from the Hubble telescope), and “First Person: Letters from the Edge of the World” (sponsored by the National Geographic Society), and more recently, “Seeing America”, using images from the collection of American photographers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has three solo recordings and many with EG, and she has published 6 books of arrangements of Irish and Scottish tunes, a book of exercises specific to Irish and Scottish technique, and more recently a book of her own compositions, “Morning to Midnight.” www.suerichards.net. Ensemble Galilei: www.egmusic.com.
2019 Pipe Instructors
Barry Conway has studied under Doug Ross, Ken Eller, Sandy Keith, Noel Slagle, and Bob Worrall, and had his Piobaireachd training from Jim McIntosh. He is a successful solo player having won the Ohio Scottish Games Piper of Day 3 times and won or placed at virtually every major contest in Ontario, Midwest and East including North American Championships in Maxville. Barry finished his solo career at Open level.
He is the current Pipe Major of Great Lakes Pipe Band and a former member of Windsor Police Pipe Band Gr. 1 and City of Washington Gr. 1 Pipe Band, 87th Cleveland Gr. 2 Pipe Band, and Western Reserve Gr. 2 Pipe Band. He began his career playing with The Caledonian Pipe Band, Cleveland, OH and he is founding member and former Pipe Sergeant and Pipe Major of North Coast Pipe Band.
He has produced or co-produced four recordings in career. Pipes UP, New Crossroads and “Dirty Laugh” while with North Coast Pipe Band and Generations while a member of 87th Cleveland Pipe Band.
Barry has been a bagpipe instructor in the Cleveland, Ohio area for many years and has taught at the Ohio Scottish Arts School since 2008. He is an adjudicator on both the EUSPBA and MWPBA panels.
Andrew Duncan began piping at age ten. His first teacher was his mother, Ann Marie Duncan. He has studied with John Cairns for over 18 years. Drew won the P&PBSO’s Champion Supreme award for Grades II and I light music. Drew has won several professional prizes in North America including the 2004 Winnipeg Knockout Championship and the 2005 John Ure Anderson Memorial Gold Medal for Piobaireachd at Ligonier. He began competing with Grade I bands at age 15. Andrew was a member of the highly successful Windsor Police Pipe Band Organization. As a nine year member of the Windsor Police Organization he was; a member of the Grades One and Two bands, pipe major of the Grade Three band, and the primary instructor and organizer for the piping school. Andrew is currently a member of the Peel Police Pipe Band. Andrew also teaches piping at Alma College. Andrew is a past president of the Windsor-Detroit Branch of the Piper’s and Pipe Band Society of Ontario. Andrew is the Director of Piping at Alma College and the Co-Director of Alma College’s Highland Arts Program. He and his wife Jodie own and operate Duncans Highland Supply and reside in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Ben Elliot grew up in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan and began piping with his local pipe band Midland Highlanders at age 8. In 2012, Ben began taking lessons from Andrew Duncan who has been his primary instructor since. He currently plays with the Alma College Pipe Band as well as the Great Lakes Pipe Band. Ben has successfully competed in solos across the United States and Ontario, and most recently the Toronto Knockout which he placed among the top amateur pipers in Ontario and the Midwest. Ben will have graduated from Alma College in April of 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
Stephen R. MacNeil has a career consisting of 24 years of successful open piping plus 34 years’ experience in Grade 1 pipe bands with The MacNish Distillery, St. Thomas Police, 78th Fraser Highlanders, Peel Regional Police and Windsor Police Pipe Bands. Also Pipe Sergeant with the Windsor Police during their 4 top 5 placings at the World’s in Grade 2. Stephen is also a PPBSO adjudicator and founder of the Northern Michigan School of Piping. He is a member of the Celtic Folk group “Glengarry Road” and the Irish folk/rock band “Wild Sully’s”. Past 8 years as the Bagpipe Professional at Henderson Imports in Traverse City, Michigan. Stephen was raised in the Detroit area, with strong family ties to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and now lives with his family in Manistee, Michigan.
Craig Munro is the Master Craftsman and Production Director of Wallace Bagpipes, Glasgow, Scotland. He is also an instructor for The College of Piping and The National Piping Centre, teaching at their workshops all over the world.
Craig has played in Grade 1 now for a total of 12 years after joining Shotts & Dykehead at the age of 15. He has since played with Dysart & Dundonald, The Clan Gregor Society and was Pipe Major of Clydebank Pipe Band coming runners up in the Grade 3A Scottish, European, Cowal and World Pipe Band Championships in 2008 who were promoted to Grade 2 after his first year in charge. He then returned to play with the House of Edgar Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band, which would turn out to be Robert Mathieson’s final year as Pipe Major of the band. Craig says “Standing beside Robert on his farewell performance as Pipe Major will always be one of the highlights of my piping career”. He now plays with the 2010 World Pipe Band Champions, St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band and is also a member of the world famous Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
Craig travels in demand all over the world entertaining audiences and leaving them amazed at how much goes into a set of bagpipes behind the scenes with his “Understand & Appreciate Your Bagpipes” lecture that takes you on a journey back to the first African Blackwood seeds being planted in Tanzania, through to the harvesting and manufacturing stage.
Some of Craig’s notable performances out with the competition circuit have been playing on the BBC Hogmanay Live Show, performing as the finale piper at T in the Park to a crowd of 50,000 and recording soundtracks for the new Disney Pixar movie “Brave”.
Laureano Thomas-Sanchez started piping at the age of 11 under Wayne Holscott, followed by Michael Crawley, and is currently under the instruction of Barry Conway and Andrew Duncan. He first played with The 87th Cleveland Pipe Band and currently plays with The Great Lake Pipe Band and the Alma College Pipe Band. Over the past 7 years, Laureano has competed in solo events across the states and into Canada placing in at least top 3 in events for his grade in each association, including the North American Championships and several invitational contests such as the Nicol-Brown Amateur Invitational. He has been piper of the day four times at the Ligonier Highland Games and twice at the Ohio Scottish Games, among others. Laureano grew up in the Cleveland area and currently attends Alma College in Michigan where he is studying Music Education with a concentration on Bagpipes.
2019 Drum Instructors
Graham Brown began drumming in the fall of 1991 under the instruction of Doug Stronach. He started his drumming career as the Lead Drummer of the Milton Optimist Pipe Band, founded by his mother Gail. The band was very successful, winning the World Juvenile Championships in 1994, and the Grade 3 Worlds in 1997.
In 2002, after four years of playing Grade 1 in Ontario, Graham moved to Scotland to realize his lifelong dream of playing with the Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band. With Shotts, Graham has won 3 World Pipe Band Championships (2003, 2005, 2015), 4 World Drum Corps Championships (2002, 2003, 2005, 2014), and amassed a total of 17 Major drumming wins (4 Worlds, 3 Scottish, 5 British, 2 European, 3 Cowal).
In 2007 after six seasons with Shotts, Graham returned home to Canada and was named the Lead Drummer of the Grade 1 Peel Regional Police Pipe Band. Over five years Graham led Peel to many band and drumming wins including the North American Championships, and a place in the World Championship final. The fall of 2012 saw Graham reunite at Shotts with his brothers Blair and Glenn, to be part of the band’s rebuilding process under new Pipe Major Ryan Canning, which culminated with the bands win of the 2015 World Championship. In August of 2015 Graham was named Lead Drummer of the St. Thomas Alumni Pipe Band of Houston, Texas, one of the world’s top Grade 2 Pipe Bands.
In the solo realm, Graham has won the North American Championships at Maxville seven times, the Agnew-Harrison Invitational six times, the Kansas City Gold Medal, and has been a Finalist at the World Solo Drumming Championships.
Graham is a full time drumming instructor at the renowned St. Thomas Episcopal School in Houston Texas. He also teaches private lessons, workshops, and schools internationally. Graham is a certified judge with the Piper’s and Pipe Band Society of Ontario, and has previously sat on the society’s music board. Also a prolific composer, Graham released his first book of music “A Tap and a Roll” in 2013.
Originally from Toronto, Canada, Andrew Elliott now lives in Houston, Texas, where he teaches drumming at the Saint Thomas’ Episcopal School. As a member of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, Andrew has won every RSPBA major title, including 4 World Pipe Band Championships and 1 Best Drum Corps title since joining the band in 2013. As a solo player, Andrew has won the American, Canadian, and North American Championships on numerous occasions as well as being a 7 time MHAF Gold Medal winner, and the only person to have ever won in both bass and tenor drumming. In addition to competing, Andrew is one of the most highly sought teachers, having taught at workshops across North America, UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. When not teaching or competing, Andrew runs Ace Percussion, manufacturing the world’s first fully customizable hand-made tenor and bass sticks and drumming products.