Women in Piping and Pipe Bands: a pipes|drums panel discussion – Part 2
We continue with the second part of Women in Piping and Pipe Bands: a pipes|drums panel discussion with five outstanding exponents of the art: Margaret Dunn, Shaunna Hilder, Kylie MacHattie and Glenna Mackay-Johnstone, moderated by Jenny Hazzard.
In Part 1, the conversation was mostly about the presence, or lack of it, of female pipers and drummers, hurdles to surpass, and the need to attract and retain more women in our rewarding art.
In Part 2, the discussion turns to the positives that piping has brought to their lives, remaining negative attitudes and micro-aggressions against females players, and the role of family and friends for support.
Watch Part 2 here:
Margaret Dunn began piping at eight years old in her native Ireland. She was initially taught in the local pipe band, Cullen, by her father, Con Houlihan. She moved to Scotland in 1998 to attend the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama where she studied for four years and graduated with an Honours Degree in Scottish Traditional Music. While she was at the Academy, she joined the Grade 1 Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia where she won the Scottish, British, European and World Championships in 2000. Dunn returned as pipe-major of her home band, Cullen, in 2006, and in 2007 the band won the World Pipe Band Championships in Grade 3B, and the Grade 2 All-Ireland Pipe Band Championship in 2013. In solo piping, she’s competed at the highest level, winning, among many other awards, the MacGregor Memorial Piobaireachd (1997), the B-Grade March (1999), the A Grade Strathspey & Reel (2003), and the A-Grade March (2007) at the Argyllshire Gathering; the Strachan Memorial A-Grade MSR at London (2000); the Duncan Johnstone Memorial Piobaireachd (2001); and the Silver Medal at the Northern Meeting in 2007. She is a full-time piping instructor with the National Piping Centre in Glasgow.
Originally from Toronto, Jenny Hazzard has lived in Edinburgh for the last 22 years. She has played with some of the best Grade 1 bands in the world, including the 78th Fraser Highlanders, Triumph Street, the Lothian & Borders Police and, currently, Field Marshal Montgomery, which she joined in 2017. She was also a member the Grade 1 Spirit of Scotland, the band assembled from all-star pipers and drummers from around the world for a single appearance at the World’s in 2008, and then for all five RSPBA championships in 2016. As a solo piper she has competed at the top level for many years, and among her many awards are the Silver Medal at the Northern Meeting in 1999. Jenny Hazzard has served on the organizing committee of the Competing Pipers Association, and is a sought-after judge and teacher in the UK and worldwide. She has advanced degrees in geological engineering, and works in Edinburgh as a partner in a very successful environmental engineering company.
Shaunna Hilder began piping in the Vancouver area where she studied under Angus MacPherson and the late Jimmy McMillian. She enjoyed a successful solo piping career winning many aggregates and piobaireachd prizes, including the Clan MacLeod McCrimmon Quaich on two occasions. She was pipe-major of the Grade 3 Vancouver Ladies Pipe for several years, before joining the Grade 1 City of Victoria. Later, Hilder joined the Grade 1 Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, winning two World Championships, and subsequently became pipe-sergeant of the Grade 2 Robert Malcolm Memorial, before that band merged with Dowco Triumph Street with which she was pipe-sergeant for 10 years. The band would qualify for the World’s Grade 1 Finals nine times, winning back-to-back qualifiers in 2011, 2012. She has been a member of Grade 1 ScottishPower since 2018. As a teacher, Shaunna Hilder has seen her students grow into piping champions, including three Nicol-Brown Amateur Championships and three George Sherriff Memorial Championships. She is an accredited A-level Solo, Band, and Ensemble judge with the British Columbia Pipers Association and is the chair of its Solo Grading Committee. She works professionally as a Dental Administrator, holds a Marketing Management Diploma, lives in the metro Vancouver area with her husband, David, and is mother to a son, Liam, and daughter, Andrena.
Another British Columbia native, Kylie MacHattie now is a piping instructor with the College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts of Canada in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. She started piping on the west coast of Canada under the instruction of Ian MacDougall and, like Shanna Hilder, her first band was the Vancouver Ladies. She moved to Ontario for university, where she was a member of both the Grade 1 Toronto Police and the 78th Fraser Highlanders, winning the North American Championship at the Glengarry Highland Games at Maxville, Ontario, five times. She competes in the Professional solo grade is the pipe-sergeant of the College of Piping’s Grade 3 band. She was pipe-major of the College’s Grade 4 band when they won Grade 4B at the World Championships in 2017. She holds a BA (honours) in English from York University and has a (so far) Highland dancing-mad five-year-old daughter, Briar.
Glenna Mackay-Johnstone is of an accomplished piping family, past and present. A native of Toronto, and currently a resident of Aurora, Ontario, she grew up in a piping household as a daughter of the late, great Ontario piper, Reay Mackay. As a piper, Glenna Mackay-Johnstone played at the highest levels in both solo and band competition. She was a member of the 78th Fraser Highlanders for many years, participating in many World Championships and a host of North American Championship victories under Pipe-Major Bill Livingstone. She is entrenched in piping as a judge with the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario and was a member of the organization’s Music Committee for several years. Both of her children are accomplished pipers, rising fast in both solos and bands. In her working career, Glenna Mackay-Johnstone has been a public school teacher for many years.
Again, we thank our five expert panelists for contributing to this constructive and important dialogue.
Stay tuned for our final segment, Women in Piping and Pipe Bands: a pipes|drums panel discussion – Part 3, in the next few days.
Women in piping and drumming: further reading
March 8, 2021