January 31, 2023

Scott MacAulay immortalized with new Performing Arts Centre named in his honour

Scott MacAulay competing with Clan MacFarlane at the 1983 Chicago Highland Games. [Photo Rowland Berthoff]
It might be the middle of the harsh Prince Edward Island winter, but hearts are glowing with the College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts of Canada deciding to name a state-of-the-art building after the College’s firebrand founder.

The Scott MacAulay Performing Arts Centre immortalizes the famous piper, who died of cancer in 2008 at the age of only 52. The centre was opened in 2018 after a long period of raising funds, design and building.

The decision to name the theatre for MacAulay was made in the summer of 2022. In 1990, he became the first director of the College and continued in the role for the next 18 years, becoming famous locally and internationally for his charismatic ability to motivate students, colleagues, local business-people, and provincial and federal politicians to get behind the institution.

The newly-named Scott MacAulay Performing Arts Centre

Recognizing the potential of the fledgling internet, MacAulay made the College probably the first in the piping and drumming world to implement a “distance learning” online program. He even scooped the then-hallowed College of Piping in Glasgow by registering the URL.

“Without Scott’s tireless dedication to building the foundation of the College of Piping, and setting the stage for future growth, none of us would be able to make our livelihoods here,” said James MacHattie, Executive Director of the College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts of Canada.

There will be a ceremony to open the centre officially this summer, with the hope that MacAulay’ sisters can attend.

The Scott MacAulay Performing Arts Centre is home to the College’s popular annul production, Highland Storm, and the Atlantic Canada Piobaireachd Challenge, the maritime provinces’ prestigious piping contest. The centre is used year-round as a community centre, performing arts venue and conference site for Summerside and the province.

“Scott was a larger-than-life character, but his legacy is even bigger.” – James MacHattie, Executive Director, College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts of Canada

“Scott was a larger-than-life character, but his legacy is even bigger,” MacHattie added. “He inspired generations of pipers, and his drive and ability to bring teams together helped to elevate the College of Piping from a small local school to global recognition. He made a huge impact on the community of Summerside itself. We wanted to find a way to pay respect to what he accomplished and provided for all of us, and naming this theatre, which provides for our students, pipers and our community, seemed only fitting.”

The Scott MacAulay Performing Arts Centre extends from the original College of Piping building.

Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Scott MacAulay grew up as a piper with the Grade 1 Erskine Pipe Band under Pipe-Major Sandy Keith. He would go on to be a member of the Grade 1 Clan MacFarlane under Pipe-Major Ken Eller for about 20 years before moving to Ottawa, where he co-created and co-led the short-lived Grade 1 Dunvegan Pipe Band with Colin MacLellan. MacAulay was an accomplished solo piper winning, among other awards, the Silver Medal and Jigs at the Northern Meeting. His grave is at his ancestral home of Carloway on the Isle of Lewis.

The College of Piping also announced that Atlantic Canada Piobaireachd Challenge will be on April 29th with Jim McGillivray judging all events. The winner in the Grade 1 Amateur category will receive an invitation to the new Sun Belt Amateur Invitational Solo Piping Competition in Florida this November.





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