Apr 30, 2014

The last OPS of the season was a great success!

Thank you to all the competitors, judges, performers and volunteers this year! Your support is what keeps this organization fun, entertaining and running smoothly.

OPS was pleased to be able to award 3 scholarships this year.  Winners of $500 OPS scholarships for piping tuition and instruction were:

  • Dashiel Pederson - Dash is in 7th grade and plays with the Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band under the direction of Mark Tomasetti.  His instructor is Patrick Case.  
  • David Brock - David lives in Prineville and practices with the Oregon Defense Force Pipe Band. 
  • Becky Nowack - Becky is a piper with the Clan MacLeay.  She is also an accomplished bassoon and alto sax player, and she takes lessons from Mark Cameron.

OPS is grateful to the Portland Highland Games Association for its ongoing generous support of Scottish music in our community. Winners of three $500 PHGA scholarships for piping and drumming this year were:

  • Joshua Done - Joshua lives in the Seattle area and has been playing pipes for about 4 years.  He takes lessons via skype from Murray Henderson, and has attended the Winter School. 
  • Lily Devlin - Lily is in middle school and is a piper with the Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band.  Her instructor is Dan Delmain.  When she is not piping, Lily enjoys playing with her cat. 
  • Alonso Cruz - Alonso is in middle school and has been side drumming with the Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band for about two years now.  He also plays in a jazz band and enjoys basketball.  He takes lessons from Billy McWood.

Good luck to all the competitors in their summer competitions! 

If you would like to make a donation to these annual scholarship please contact Laura Devlin, devlinla@hotmail.com, on how you can help. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Apr 10, 2014

Dram & Go will also be performing for us this month!

A new local celtic music group called Dram & Go, with Micah Babinski and Tricia Fairman, will also be playing for us on April 26th. They will play throughout the evening, after the competition and as we wait for awards and scholarship announcements. Micah plays the small pipes or border pipes and Tricia is a classically trained violinist and fiddler.

Tricia teaches private lessons at Ethos Music Center and works with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Beginning Strings. Along with her passion for performing and teaching, she is a skilled administrator and manager in the creative non-profit sector. She managed the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestras and taught lessons at Michelle Tuesday Music School in Gahanna, OH.

Micah began his piping career at the age of nine.  He has been a member of three Grade 1 Pipe Bands: Prince Charles of San Francisco, Simon Fraser University, and DowcoTriumph Street. Micah is also a recurring member of Tartanic, one of the most popular Celtic acts on the national Renaissance Faire circuit. Micah was our featured performer at last October.

We are glad they can join us!

Apr 8, 2014

Final meeting of the 2013-1014 season: Saturday April 26th

Piping and drumming competition begins at 4:30pm and entertainment begins at 7:30pm.  Food and beverage will be available for purchase throughout the evening, including pizza, salad, bread, and delicious homemade onion soup! You can wet your palate with Scottish Ales, Oregon beer and wine, or a soft drink.

The evening will begin with our Local Hero, Jack Toohey. 

Jack Toohey started on the chanter when he was 9 and moved onto the pipes at the age of 12. He has been a member of the Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band for 5 years, which he thoroughly enjoys and currently serves as Pipe Major for the band. He also has the privilege of playing along side of his 3 siblings, Sam 11, Lauren 14 and his older brother Ian  who ages out after the 2014 season. His sister Lauren is currently the Drum Sgt. for the band.

Although Jack's primary instruction has come from his father John Toohey, his piobaireachd knowledge comes from Colin MacKenzie. Jack enjoys his connection with Colin and appreciates his knowledge and passion for the music. Jack has matured greatly as a player because of it!

Jack is a very accomplished player and has recently been promoted to Grade 1 by the British Columbia Pipers Association after finishing 1st in his grade for the 2013 season. Out of the many awards Jack has won over the years, he is particularly proud of his successes at the BC Indoor, where he has won the Aggregate 4 years straight.

Other than piping, Jack loves to hang out with friends and enjoys being involved with his youth group. He is an avid sports fan and hopes to get a football scholarship to a division 1 college as a kicker/punter.

The Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band will also be joining us!

The Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band (PMYPB) is made up of bagpipers and drummers ages 8 to 18 years from the Portland and Vancouver area.

These dedicated children and young adults attend band practice weekly, take private lessons with professional instructors, and utilize regular practice in preparation for Highland Game competitions.

The band's mission is to promote and advance the learning and performance of highland music, through youth, in Oregon and Southwest Washington. PMYPB provides a safe age appropriate environment to learn highland music. It is the intention of the PMYPB that at age 18, a PMYPB musician will become a competitive player in the adult Portland Metro Pipe Band. The youth band performs with the adult band at their annual fundraiser, Burns Supper in January.

Our featured performer is Alexander Schiele.

Alex began playing bagpipes at age 8 with instructor Kevin Auld. He plays with the 8th ranked pipe band in the world, Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band.

An accomplished solo piper, most recently Alex made it to the final round of the 2014 BCPA Pro Knockouts in his first year entering the event as a professional piper, placing 3rd overall. He placed 2nd as an invited amateur in the 2013 BCPA Professional Knockout first round, out of 11 professional competitors and was promoted to professional in February, 2013, winning one of his first events at the BCPA Annual Gathering March 30, 2013. He finished his first professional season ranked 7th.

Alex was promoted to Grade 1 at age 13, the youngest of all grade 1 Amateur pipers in Washington/Oregon and British Columbia at the time in the British Columbia Pipers' Association.

Join us for the final OPS meeting of the season! Only $5 for OPS members. $10 for non-members.

Apr 1, 2014

We had another really excellent OPS meeting in March

Special thanks go out to Jori Chisholm for judging the competition at the last minute due to an illness of the judge. We had a treat before the show started when Tricia Fairman, 1/2 of Dram & Go, played us tunes on the fiddle...if there's time next month, we might have both Tricia and Micah Babinski - Stumptown Piper provide more tunes!

Portland Metro Pipe Band blew the audience away to start the evening off with a few of their upcoming competition sets. Raasi Rush, our Local Hero of the Month, did an outstanding job showcasing the talent we have in our local youth.

And we can't thank The Keith Highlanders Pipe Band enough for making the trip down from Seattle to be our featured set of the evening! They also brought some dancers to perform for us. They showed us why they are at the top of the Grade 4 BCPA class year after year!

Thank you to all the performers! Be sure to mark your calendars for the last meeting of the season, on April 26th. We'll be featuring Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band and Alexander Schiele!