– the College of Piping California Summer School 2017
By Craig Farley
The College of Piping’s 2017 California Summer School completed the 46th year as part of the College’s programme. Although the school has had different venues over the years, the school has been at the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad California for many years now. 2017 saw the addition of Colin MacLellan to the school’s teaching staff. Colin was asked to fill the position vacated by longtime Summer School instructor, Dugald MacNeill who had retired.
Several students travel long distances to attend. Mikaela Kuefler and Cynthia Munro both play with the Edmonton and District Pipe Band based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They have made the trip to California four times now. They discovered the school during a web search and found the overall costs to be competitive with schools closer to home, but that the addition of a southern California beach was worth the slight price difference. After the first year, they were hooked on the location, the classes offered, and the quality instruction. Cynthia commented on the networking possibilities with other pipers and instructors. Mikaela started competing with the Edmonton and District Pipe Band after attending the summer school. Both pipers were impressed with how the instructors interact with students in
After the first year, they were hooked on the location, the classes offered, and the quality instruction. Cynthia commented on the networking possibilities with other pipers and instructors. Mikaela started competing with the Edmonton and District Pipe Band after attending the summer school. Both pipers were impressed with how the instructors interact with students in class, at meals, and during evening hours. Having the same instructor for the week, ensuring that errors were caught and corrections made consistently, was a plus for both Mikaela and Cynthia.
Also traveling a long distance was Heidi Stocker, who is a member of the Brevard Police and Fire Pipes and Drums located in Melbourne, Florida. Heidi also found the school through a web search. Having family in the area also helped in the decision to make the cross-continental trip. She is new to bagpipes and enjoyed the support from fellow students and instructors. Having access to different instructional methods was beneficial, and a week of solid instruction cemented lessons learned. Heidi is already planning to return next year.
Another new student was Jeremy Hoag, a firefighter with Fremont Fire Department in California. Jeremy was referred to the school by long-term attendee and piper, George Rodgers. Jeremy is also relatively new to bagpipes. He said the best lessons he left the school with were in bagpipe set-up, maintenance, and tuning. He, too, is returning next year and plans to bring more students with him from the department.
Andre’ Powell has been attending the Summer School for the past 16 years. He is not currently playing with a band but plays for personal enrichment. Though he appreciates the school’s current location and its proximity to the beach and local restaurant, what keeps Andre’ returning is the depth of instruction offered and the sense of bagpipe history made available through its instructors. The social relationships with students and instructors built at the school and which extend to highland games and events is also a draw. He particularly appreciates how everyone at the school is ready and willing to help each other. Every year there are new methods and techniques offered, and Andre’ always feels he takes something home he can use.
Approachable instructors during the week, access to instructors during breaks, meals and after hours are all reasons students have been returning to the school year after year. The instructors become mentors and friends that you see at competitions during the pipe band season. They are always willing to help and see a student improve year after year.
- The 2018 school takes place over 15th – 22nd June. Further information, a video and booking information can be found HERE.