Faculty & Staff

Management & Staff

Principal - James MacHattie

James began piping in a youth pipe band in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and the formative experiences he enjoyed there have carried him to become one of Canada’s most respected active pipers. He played with the Edmonton Caledonia (now Alberta Caledonia) Pipe Band before moving to BC, where he played one year with the City of Victoria Pipe Band before joining the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band. With SFU he won the World Pipe Band Championship in 1996 and 1999, performed at Carnegie Hall and participated in two live recordings. In 2000 he moved to Toronto, and joined the Toronto Police Pipe Band. In 2004 he became the Pipe Major and led the band to North American Championship wins in 2004 and 2006. He played with the 78th Fraser Highlanders from 2007 to 2009 before moving back to BC. He played the 2010 season with SFU before moving to Summerside.

James has enjoyed a successful career as a solo competitor, having won major prizes across Canada, the US, Scotland and France. He is a consistent prize winner in the Gold Medal contests at Oban and Inverness.

He is an active composer, judge, performer and teacher, having taught at schools across Canada. One of his proudest achievements in his piping career was working with the Robert Malcolm Memorial (Juvenile) Pipe Band from 1998 to 1999, culminating in the kids winning both the Juvenile World Pipe Band and Cowal Championships.

James holds an MA in Classical Studies from the University of British Columbia. He has worked in disparate areas, ranging from lecturing at the University of Toronto, to developing and producing business conferences, to working for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Business Manager - Roger Downie

Roger has been hired for this new position to grow and take advantage of new opportunities for the College and apply proven best business practices within the framework of the not-for profit sector.  His varied experiences will assist the College in being less reliant on government support.  He will seek out new ways to improve our revenues and control costs.

Roger has a diverse background as a financial strategist, humanitarian and trusted adviser to business enterprises.  He has been involved in the financial services industry, owned his own real estate franchise, is the former Director of Business Development for a private Canadian Agri-business. He has assessed enterprise valuations, developed acquisition strategies and spearheaded Strategic Planning sessions across multiple company divisions. He has served on various not-for profit Boards in a governance role and understands completely the challenges this sector faces.

As our business manager/development officer his focus will be on opening the doors to new ideas which will enhance and continue to inspire excellence in the Celtic Performing Arts community through quality educational programming.

Roger and his wife Madeline will move into the home they have purchased here in September.  We welcome Roger and Madeline to Summerside and the College of piping family.


Kylie MacHattie
Highland Bagpipe Instructor

Kylie has been a full time piping instructor at The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada since 2010.

Kylie has been piping since the age of 7, and has been a member of Grade One bands since her mid teens. She played with the Vancouver Ladies, Triumph Street and Abbotsford Police pipe bands in BC before moving to Ontario in 2000. There she spent 6 seasons with the Toronto Police Pipe Band and three with the 78th Fraser Highlanders. In this time she was a member of the North American Championship winning band on 5 occasions. Kylie was a member of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band in 2010.

She is an accomplished solo competitor, having placed as high as second in the Canadian Gold Medal for piobaireachd. She is highly regarded as an instructor, and her patient, supportive and detail-oriented teaching style is ideal for setting the foundation of excellence in early-stage pipers.

She is currently the Pipe Major of the College’s Grade 4 pipe band. Kylie holds a BA (Honours) in English from York University. She maintains The College’s blog and writes a bi-weekly column for the Summerside Journal Pioneer called Celtic Connection.

Chris Coleman
Drumming Instructor

Chris Coleman has been the principal drumming instructor at The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada since January 2008.

He began drumming in 1992 at the Fredericton Academy of Piping and Drumming. Under the tutulage of Brian Freeman and Chris’s father, Dave Coleman, he progressed into the Fredericton Jr. Pipe Band (Gr. 4). Through his years there, he was also influenced by the teachings of Matt Carter and Sean Morton.

In 1995, Chris was promoted to the Fredericton Society of St. Andrew Pipe Band (Gr. 2), under the leadership of Matt Carter. He later began tutoring at the Fredericton Academy of Piping and Drumming, and by 1998 he was instructing the Fredericton Jr. Pipe Band.

During his drumming career, Chris has had many achievements in solo competitions, band competitions, and teaching. He has also traveled throughout North America and Europe, performing and competing. Highlights include traveling several times to the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, and the Festival Interceltique de Lorient, in Lorient, Brittany.

As well as teaching The College drumming curriculum, Chris also develops and leads drumming workshops throughout the year. Chris composes original drum scores for the Grade 2 and Grade 5 College of Piping bands, as well as the Highland Storm show. Under Chris’s direction in 2011, The College of Piping Pipe Band’s Grade 4 drummers won the best drum corps title as part of the North American Pipe Band Championship win in Grade 4, and in 2012 the band placed 5th at the World Pipe Band Championships in their first year in Grade 3. The senior band now competes in Grade 2.

Sam Ramsay
Drumming Instructor

Sam Ramsay was born and raised in Summerside, and has been involved with The College of Piping since 2000. He first started taking drumming lessons at the age of 8, and has been very successful in the pipe band scene. Thanks to the Doug and Debbie Hall Scholarship program, Sam was able to receive lessons up until 2010.

In 2006, The College of Piping Grade 4 Pipe Band won the North American Championships, which allowed Sam to travel to Scotland for the 2007 World Pipe Band Championship, when the band placed 4th. Sam has also had success as a solo drummer, winning the Grade 1 drumming aggregate at the North Americans in 2009. In March of 2014 he was invited to compete at the George Harrison Invitational Solo Drumming Contest in Hamilton, Ontario, where he placed 5th. He plans to continue competing and instructing and is excited to be part of The College of Piping team. He is a member of the Grade 2 Pipe Band and is the drumming instructor of the Grade 4 Pipe Band.

Marielle Lespérance
Highland Dance Instructor

Marielle Lespérance joined The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada faculty team in September 2015. Marielle is the current Adult Canadian and World Champion in highland dancing. Throughout her competitive career, she has won 5 World Championships, 6 Commonwealth Championships, and 12 Canadian Championships, among numerous other championship titles. Beyond competition, Marielle’s passion for highland dance extends to teaching and performing. She is a member of the British Association of Teachers of Dance and has lectured and taught dance workshops across Canada, the United States, Scotland and Ireland. Marielle has performed internationally, both solo and with various productions and groups, including DRUM! and Squid Precision Drummers, and performs actively with the highland dance company Change of Step, of which she is a founding member.

Marielle owes her passion and success in dance to her instructor of over 17 years, Ellen Cameron, and to Janice Macquarrie, with whom she trained while completing her Bachelor of Science in Physics at St. Francis Xavier University. Marielle also holds a Master’s of Science in Medical Physics from Carleton University.

Samantha MacKay
Step Dance Instructor

Samantha grew up in Kensington, PEI with a love for dance and all things celtic. She began dancing at age 4 with the Lady Slipper Step Dancers in Kensington, and then later on with the Somerset Steppers in Emerald, PEI. She has also participated in summer camps at the Gaelic College located in St Ann’s, Cape Breton.

At the age of 9 she travelled to Ottawa to perform in the Parliament Buildings for a fundraising dinner. She also danced for Governor General Adrienne Clarkson at a young age. In her senior year of high school she was selected as one of three artists to represent PEI at the 2011 Winter Canada Games in Halifax, as well as travelled to Orlando, Florida to perform with a group in Downtown Disney. In 2012 she graduated from the Holland College School of Performing Arts in Charlottetown.

Samantha passed her BATD Associate Step Instructor exam in 2010 and was able to move on to obtaining her Membership Certificate in 2012.

Samantha is thrilled to be given the opportunity to be at the College and looks forward to what this next chapter in her life will bring.


Sue McGiveron
Special Events Coordinator

Sue was born and raised in a suburb of Vancouver, BC. With Scottish roots on her Mom’s side, she tried Highland Dance at a young age, but found she wasn’t provided with any of the grace needed to be a dancer, so she took up team sports such as soccer, field hockey and softball, and was much more successful! Sue was also actively involved in the Girl Guide Movement from being a Brownie up to becoming a Brownie leader. Sue has travelled across the country a couple of times and has lived in Montreal, QC and Regina, SK. She enjoys travelling and has done two solo bicycle trips one for four months through England, Scotland (where she watched the World Bagpiping Championships in Glasgow), Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and on the other trip, she spent three weeks cycling around the Netherlands. While living in a small town on the very west coast of Vancouver Island, she met a handsome young man from PEI, who was living in Victoria, BC at the time. Fast forward a few years, love bloomed and a few years after that they moved across the country to live in Jay’s native province. Sue has really enjoyed getting to know her East Coast family and takes every opportunity she gets to explore PEI, the Maritimes and North Eastern US with Jay and their Australian Cattle Dog, Chevy. Sue has spent most of her working years in a variety of service industry positions and is currently on an extended hiatus from studying to become a massage therapist.

Rachel Kitts
Front Office Coordinator

Rachel grew up in Claresholm, a small town in Southern Alberta. Moved to Calgary to attend S.A.I.T., where she graduated from the drafting program. While attending school, Rachel met her future husband Charles. After working several years as a pipeline drafter, Rachel decided to leave her job as a drafter to become a full time mother to their two children, CJ and Kiley. Charles’ work brought him to PEI, where he fell in love with the island. In 2008, the Kitts family decided to make Summerside, PE their home. Rachel was first introduced to The College of Piping when Kiley started attending snare drumming lessons in 2012. Rachel is excited to join the team at The College of Piping.