My first piping and drumming summer school was in the summer of 1996. I attended the Invermark College of Piping and Drumming in mid-July for a week-long study of drumming. The school was held at Buzzard’s Bay, near Cape Cod, MA and was a military school during the school year. I had a blast and there’s no doubt that the friends I made and the fun I had played a major role in shaping my love and passion for pipe bands and for drumming. I have never missed a summer at Invermark since, and I am incredibly grateful for the life-long friendships the school has helped cultivate in my life.
Today, I am an instructor and administrator for the Invermark school, a role I’ve been involved in for at least 15 years. I value the opportunity to create the same environment for new students that did so much for me when I was younger and I strive to foster that each year at Invermark.
This July I also had the opportunity to teach for two weeks in British Columbia at Piping Hot Summer Drummer, which is the largest piping and drumming school in the world, held at the beautiful Silver Star Mountain resort. This school is particularly special for me not only because of the great students and location, but because of the other faculty I teach with. Some of these instructors are among the very best pipers, drummers, and teachers of this art in the world and the opportunity to integrate and socialize with all of them for the two-week session has become a significant “charge” for me in my own teaching and playing. Each year I come home from this school equally tired and inspired.
My experiences at Invermark and Piping Hot served as a strong motivator for me to work with Dunedin Piping Director Iain Donaldson, to launch a piping and drumming week-long summer camp here in Dunedin, Florida. This year was our second year of the Dunedin Tide of Piping and Drumming and it was a huge success. We had about 20 students and it was a lot of fun to see the progress the students made throughout the week and the fun they had through piping and drumming. I am really looking forward to seeing this program continue to grow and to become a source for improving the quality of pipers and drummers in Dunedin and throughout Florida.