2020 Instructors & Staff

Our 2020 Instructors:

Fiddle – Alasdair White

Harp – Rachel Clemente, Rachel Hair, Jen Narkevicius and Sue Richards

Highland Dance – Gemma Baillie, Jennifer Miller, Alison Plemmons and Joy Tolev

Pipes – Barry Conway, Andrew Duncan, Ben Elliot, Craig Munro, Palmer Shonk and Laureano Thomas-Sanchez

Drums:  Snare – Graham Brown and Tenor/Bass – Andrew Elliott

2018 Instructors & Staff (sorry – no photo of our 2019 Staff)

2020 Pipe Instructors

Barry Conway - Pipes
Barry Conway – Pipes

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 - Pipes
Andrew Duncan – Pipes

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 – Pipes

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.

Craig Munro - Pipes
Craig Munro – Pipes

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”.

Palmer Shonk – Pipes

Palmer Shonk has been the Director of Piping at the College of Wooster since 2017. Palmer played with one of the top pipe bands in North America, the Grade 1 Toronto Police Pipe Band, for eight years, during which time he performed at the Festival Interceltique in Lorient, France, the largest Celtic music festival in the world, competed in the finals of the World Pipe Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, and recorded an acclaimed CD album. Currently, Palmer competes solo in the professional ranks in Canada, the U.S., and Scotland. Beginning his studies at the young age of 10 in Ligonier, PA, Palmer has been lucky to study with some of the best performers and tradition-bearers from Scotland (Jimmy McIntosh, Alasdair Gillies, Willie Morrison, and Duncan Watson.) In addition to performing regularly, he teaches four different pipe bands weekly in OH and PA, along with maintaining a large private lesson studio. Palmer was the 2017 Professional Piper of the Day at the Ohio Scottish Games.

Laureano Thomas-Sanchez – Pipes

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.

 

 

Pipe Class information

2020 Highland Dance Instructors

Gemma Baillie – Dance

Gemma Baillie is a member of the BATD and represents Granite City festivals as a deputy delegate on the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing.  She is an RSOBHD registered adjudicator and was an RSOBHD competitor for 22 years for which she danced with Wilma Tolmie, she won many championship titles over the UK including the UKA, BATD, British Open and European Championships. She also qualified to dance in the world championship finals 14 times and finished in the top six in the adult world championships in 2003, 2008 and 2009. After finishing competing, Gemma enjoyed dancing at the 2013 Basel International Tattoo and more recently, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo when it was on tour in Australia and New Zealand. Together with Rachel Mclagan, Gemma organised the 2010 charity highland dancing concert, assemble and leap to honour the 60th anniversary of the board whilst raising over £8000 for action Duchene and the MS Society Scotland and in 2013 ran a charity highland dancing competition in Aberdeenshire in aid of breast cancer campaign.

Jennifer Miller – Dance

Jennifer Miller has been involved in Highland dance since the age of 5. Jennifer was very successful in competition, winning several championships across the US and Canada. She was the US National Champion twice (1987 & 1988) and placed in the overall top six in the US for thirteen consecutive years (1986-1998). Jennifer received her degree in dance from Oakland University, where she was a scholarship student and the recipient of the Jakob Decker Dance Award for outstanding performance. Jennifer has danced on the Central Michigan University Dance Team “Chippettes”, the Oakland University Dance Team “Images”, Oakland Dance Theatre and the OU Repertory Dance Company. She has danced professionally with Patterson Rhythm Pace Dance Company in Michigan and the Celtic Dance Theatre of Arizona where she was selected to be a soloist in the west coast tour of “Fire and Grace”.
Jennifer has been teaching dance for over 17 years. Along with teaching Highland, “Miss Jen”, as her students call her, has also taught jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, modern and lyrical at many different schools and studios and has also taught classes at Oakland University. Jennifer is an adjudicator for the Michigan Educational Theater Association and is an accomplished choreographer. She has choreographed over 30 musicals for several different theater companies in Michigan including the Groves Performing Arts Company, where she worked for four years with Evan Kasprzak, finalist on the hit FOX TV show “So You Think You Can Dance” and currently performing in the Broadway musical “Newsies”.
Jennifer is a member of FUSTA and the BATD and is the chairperson for the St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit Annual Highland Games dance competition. She opened her own dance school, the Lakes Area School of Highland Dance, in 2003 where she went from having only 3 dancers to having 42 dancers in just three years. Her students perform annually at the Michigan Renaissance Festival and have also performed at the Magic Kingdom inside Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Her students have won many awards and scholarships and she has had dancers representing the Midwest Region at the US National Championships for the past three years. She was honored to receive the Max MacLeod Memorial Award for Excellence in Highland Dance Instruction in 2009 and is thrilled to be teaching at the Ohio Scottish Arts School this year! Jennifer lives in Highland, Michigan with her husband, Greg Combs, and their six children, Henry, Nate, Maddie, Tucker, Caden and Ellie.

Alison Mettig Plemmons – Dance

Alison Plemmons was born in Park Ridge, IL to her parents, Sheila and Tom Mittig.  Her Mom, Sheila, is a Highland Dancing teacher and from a very early age Alison loved to watch her Mom’s classes. Almost as soon as she could walk, Alison began trying to dance and therefore her Mom decided that she might as well teach her properly.  Alison’s dancing prowess progressed quickly and in 1986 and 1987, she won the USIR Junior Championships (15 and under) and in 1987 She and her Mom were awarded the Australia award that was given to the dancer of the day and her teacher. In 1988 and 1989, she won the USIR Senior Championships and in 1989 again the Australia award this time sharing it with another dancer and her teacher. Alison also won many other competitions and Championships including Regional Championships. Alison is a Member of the British Associations of Teachers of Dancing (BATD) is the Secretary of the Great Lakes Region of the B.A.T.D. In 2010 Alison qualified as a member of the Scottish Official Board Judges panel.  Alison has judged in Canada and the U.S. She has also taught at many workshops and Schools including the Ohio Scottish Arts School for many years. Alison has many students who are doing very well in competition and she is proud that one of her students is the won the USIR Senior Championship and will have her name on the same trophy as her teacher. Alison is married to Andy Plemmons and they live in Hartland, Ml with their two sons, Devin and Brandon.

Joy Tolev – Dance

Joy (Allen) Tolev started dancing at the age of 3 under the instruction of Mrs. Evelyn Murray in Toronto, Ontario.  During her competitive days she successfully competed in many highland dance competitions and championships throughout Canada and the United States.
She has been teaching at her own school of highland dancing in Toronto for the past 30 years and has produced many dancers of high caliber who have captured titles in various championships including the Ontario, Canadian, Scottish, Commonwealth and World Championships.   There have been over 25 Canadian Championship Titles, many Scottish and Commonwealth Championship titles and runner-ups, and a World Champion who holds 10 World Titles.
She is a Fellow and Examiner of the B.A.T.D., North American Co-ordinator of the B.A.T.D., and adjudicator on the S.O.B.H.D. Judges panel.
Joy teaches annually at the Ohio Scottish Arts School which is a week camp in June, the Delco Workshop in February and travels across Canada, United States, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand, judging, examining and conducting workshops.

 

Highland Dance Class information