2024 School Instructors & Staff
Pipe-Major Richard Parkes holds the record for having won the World Pipe Band Championships the greatest number of times (13) with his band, Field Marshal Montgomery.
Richard lives in Comber, County Down. He has been Pipe Major of the band since 1981, making history by leading FMM to become the most successful pipe band ever to come from Northern Ireland.
Richard is one of the most respected pipers and pipe band leaders in the world, gaining an MBE from Her Majesty The Queen in 2004 for recognition of his services to pipe band music in Northern Ireland. Although Richard has always put the band first, he also managed to win 7 All Ireland Senior Solo Championships, eight Northern Ireland Piper of the Year titles, nine Ulster Senior Championships, as well as winning the Strachan in London, the Jig in Inverness and a number of other prizes at major solo competitions. Richard holds a Masters degree in Polymer Engineering and worked as an Engineering Manager at Bombardier Aerospace until his recent retirement.
Richard has been awarded honourary doctorates from both Queen's University and Ulster University in Belfast for his contributions to the arts.
From Belfast, Gareth McLees began drumming at 8 years age playing for Glasdrummond and North Belfast Pipe Bands. He was taught by Stephen Rourke of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe band, and the drumming legend, the late Bobby Rea, who was a 3-time World Solo Champion and Champion of Champions.
Glenna’s journey in music and song commenced at a young age, as she comes from a lineage of exceptionally gifted musicians. Her lifelong commitment to her craft has been shaped by the immersive musical environment she was raised in.
With over four decades of experience as a piper, Glenna's musical education began under the tutelage of her father, Reay Mackay. She spent most of her life gaining knowledge from his expertise. Her dedication to honing her skills has persisted through ongoing mentorship from figures such as Bruce Gandy, Michael Grey, Bill Livingstone and others. Glenna continues to engage with these mentors to ensure her continual growth and development as a musician, embodying the spirit of a lifelong learner.
Glenna has built a lengthy career encompassing solo performances, contributions to pipe bands, and dedicated teaching. Her expertise extends to adjudicating solo and band competitions for more than two decades. Additionally, she has contributed to the world of music as a composer, with her compositions featured in various piping collections and recordings.
Beyond her prowess as a piper, Glenna is also a Gaelic singer who has performed at numerous venues and contributed to various recordings. She currently pursues her Gaelic studies remotely at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, honouring her commitment to learning the language.
In her professional life, Glenna served as an educator with over three decades of experience in Ontario's public education system. She resides in Aurora, Ontario, alongside her husband Alasdair and their two children. Both of her children have also excelled in music and are actively involved in the piping community, carrying on the family's musical legacy.
Born into a family of Highland dancers, bagpipers and drummers, it was natural that Jacquie started Highland dancing at the age of 5, under the tutelage of Adelaine Duncan in Victoria, B.C. Mrs. Duncan's intense instruction and attention to technique and timing ignited a passion within Jacquie and she navigated through the competitive Highland dancing ranks until age 16.
At the age of 8, Jacquie started snare drumming; taking lessons from Colin Magee (piper, drummer and composer). Colin also was the D/S of the City of Victoria Pipe Band, who ran the band with her father, P/M James W. Troy. The band was a major musical influence; not only because of the leadership and musical vision but because of the massive talent within the ranks. Having regular access to that talent for further instruction from the likes of Rob McKendrick and John Fisher, proved to be invaluable.
She rose through the solo ranks in the British Columbia scene quickly and soon was
This included playing with the Abbotsford Police in B.C. (1996 – 1998), Peel Police Pipe Band
Because of the dedicated instruction and leadership she received throughout over the years,
Ruaridh MacDonald started tenor drumming at age five, but he’s been hanging out with pipe bands from the day he was born. He started tenor drumming with the Conservatory Pipe Band. Then, at age 12, Ruaridh started competing with the Grade 2 City of Regina Pipe Band, including contests in Scotland in 2005, 2006, and 2010. He also spent 2 seasons as the band’s bass drummer in 2011 & 2015.
Ruaridh was a member of the Inveraray and District Pipe Band for four seasons (2012-2014 & 2019), and won the 2019 World Pipe Band Championships, the 2019 European and Scottish Championships, as well as the overall Champion of Champions pipe band and drum corps. Previously he was part of the wins in the 2014 European Pipe Band Championships and 2nd overall in the 2014 World Pipe Band Championships. He also recorded "Ascension: Live at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall" with the band in 2013.
Ruaridh has a Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance degree from Sheridan College, Ontario. He works as a professional actor and is based in Toronto.
Sean Somers has established himself as one of the top professional pipers from the Canadian Prairies, gaining accolades as a composer, leader, bandsman, and soloist. He started piping at the age of 8, and got his first lessons from his father, Trewin Somers.
With many appearances in the Grade 1 finals at the World Pipe Band Championships, he is also the former pipe-sergeant of the Grade 1 Alberta Caledonia Pipe Band, and former key member of the 78th Highlanders (Halifax) Pipe Band where he won both the Canadian and North American Championships in Grade 1. Sean spent his formative years with The City of Regina Pipe Band and credits Iain MacDonald (Regina) and Barb MacDonald as major influences on his piping career.
It takes an enormous amount of time to organize and run a summer camp, and the SPBA is fortunate to have a team of dedicated administrators.
Wayne Rempel - School Director
Wayne started piping as an adult after his son took an interest, and he carried on from there, taking lessons through the Conservatory of Performing Arts, and then later joining the Regina RCMP Pipe Band. Wayne competes in Adult piping class events, performs with the RCMP Pipe Band, and was recently awarded The Queen's Jubilee Medal for services to the arts. He is a Past President of the SPBA, and did a brilliant job managing the school last year.
Michelle Gallagher - School Director
Michelle (Carline) Gallagher has played in pipe bands for most of her life, including many years with the City of Regina Pipe Band, a number of seasons in the Alberta Caledonia Pipe Band, and she has been a member of Scottish bands Tayside Police and Mackenzie Caledonia. Michelle was a dominant player in the Grade 1 solos for several years, and we are fortunate to have her passion for playing and teaching as part of the school. Michelle will be taking on both teaching and administrative roles during the school.
Iain MacDonald - Website & Music
Iain MacDonald started SOUND ADVICE in 2004 and organized and ran the school each year until Fall 2022, at which time he sought others to take it on. Iain is excited to have Wayne and Michelle involved in running the school especially after doing such a brilliant job in 2023. Iain will play a role in planning and will assist with some teaching as needed. His piping bio is HERE.