Organiser Bob Worrall reports….Countdown to the 23rd Annual George Sherriff Memorial Invitational on November 17. It will be held in St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Hamilton, Ontario.
All the details with regard to competitors, their bio’s, times, location, adjudicators, etc. are all available on the website. Last year’s competitors and judges are pictured above.
‘The Sherriff’ gives top amateur players a taste of what it’s like to play at a major professional event, and for many of the past competitors, this contest has been a springboard to the professional ranks.
The event brings together top players from across North America (and occasionally from Scotland) and gives them an opportunity to compete for amazing prizes, and also to develop their network with other players, judges and spectators. If you reside in the Toronto/Hamilton area, this event gives you the chance to hear the very best amateur pipers deliver THE performances of their amateur careers.
The players at this year’s contest will be:
KEVIN DARMADI – Houston, Texas
JOSEPH HORWATH – Saginaw, Michigan
COLIN JOHNSTONE – Aurora, Ontario
TORI KILLORAN – Pitt Meadows, British Columbia
GAVIN MACKAY – Kitchener, Ontario
MARK MCCLENNAN – Guelph, Ontario
LIAM MELVILLE – Renfrew, Ontario
BRANNAGH O’DONNELL – Assonet, Massachusetts
ALEXANDER SETO – Aurora, Ontario
FILEMON TAN – Bellaire, Texas
More on the pipers:
Kevin Darmadi is a 16-year-old high school junior at St. Thomas Episcopal School in Houston, Texas. This is his eighth year piping under instructors Lyric Todkill, Nick Hudson, and Mike Cusack. He currently plays with the St.Thomas Episcopal School Pipe Band, recently winning the Grade 3 contest at the 2017 and 2018 American Pipe Band Championships in Norfolk, Virginia. He has also been playing with the St. Thomas Alumni Pipe Band for 2 years now, winning second in Grade 2 at the 2018 World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.
Joseph Horwath is 18 years old and a senior at Heritage High School. He began bagpiping in 2006 at the age of 6, however, he did not start competing until 2013. His first teacher was Bob Pennington and shortly after that he moved on to Dennis Lowe. He currently takes instruction from various teachers as well as his instruction at Alma College. Along with helping out the Alma College Pipe Band he also plays with the Great Lakes Pipe Band (grade 2) from Cleveland, Ohio.
Colin Johnstone is 18 years old and has been taught by his grandfather, Reay Mackay and his mom, Glenna Mackay-Johnstone. He is a member of the Toronto Police Grade 1 Pipe Band. The bagpipes he is playing today, hold much sentimental value, as they were his grandfather’s. Bagpipes aren’t Colin’s only musical instrument. He has been playing piano for the past 12 years. He is in the 9th grade, Royal Conservatory Music program. He has just started his first year at York University, as a Computer Science student.
Tori Killoran is a Criminology student at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby, British Columbia, currently residing in Pitt Meadows, BC. She started piping at the age of 9 under the instruction of Scot Kortegaard and later Edmund Chilton. Currently, Tori receives instruction from Jack Lee. The Kamloops Pipe Band Society was the first band that Tori played with, and in 2011 she joined the Robert Malcolm Memorial (RMM) organization. In 2015, she was promoted to the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band.
Gavin Mackay is a 17-year-old high school student in Grade 12 at Cameron Heights Collegiate in Kitchener, Ontario. He started piping at the age of 10 under the expert guidance of Gail Brown, Ed Neigh, and more recently, Jim McGillivray. Gavin comes from a family of pipers, as his two aunts, Angela and Lynda, along with his father, Andrew, are all pipers and have previously competed at the ‘Sherriff’.
Mark McClennan is second-year Engineering student at the University of Guelph, born and raised in Guelph Ontario. Mark began piping in 2010 when he joined the 121 Red Arrows Air Cadet Pipe Band. In 2011, Mark joined the Guelph Pipe Band where he is currently still an active member. Mark began his piping tuition with Tyler Bridge and moved up the ranks quickly from grade five to the top level of grade one. He currently sees Bob Worrall for Piobaireachd and light music tuition.
Liam Melville starting piping at the age of 12 with the 653 Air Cadet Squadron in his hometown of Renfrew, Ontario, and he joined the Arnprior McNab Pipes and Drums, under the tutelage of Bobbie Smith, soon after. At age 14 he began solo lessons with Ross Brown of Kingston, Ontario, who took him to grade 1 before a 5-year hiatus from competitive solo playing starting in 2011. He currently studies with Andrea Boyd and teaches a number of piping students from his home near Carleton Place, Ontario.
Brannagh O’Donnell is a first-year Business student at Trinity Western University, who started piping at the age of 10 under her grandfather. Since then, Brannagh has taken lessons from various instructors and now studies under Jack Lee. At age 14, she joined the Worcester Kiltie Pipe Band, and currently plays with them in the Grade 2 arena.
Alexander Seto is a recent graduate from Western University, and is currently pursuing a Master’s in psychology. He began learning the pipes when he was 12 years old, at a local independent school, St. Andrew’s College, under the tutelage of Ellen Mole and Jim McGillivray. Alexander continued to play and progress within this band and eventually became pipe major in his senior year of high school.
Filemon Tan is a senior at St. Thomas Episcopal School. Here, he serves as Pipe Major of the “A” Band and receives instruction from Mike Cusack, Lyric Todkill, and Nick Hudson. He also plays in the St. Thomas Alumni Band, with which he won second in the Grade Two World Pipe Band Championships in 2018.
Take a look at the list of sponsors and donors. Without their support an event like this would not be possible. I encourage as many bands and individuals as possible to make a small donation.
Cheques can be made out to the George Sherriff Invitational and sent to me at 1316 Monmouth Drive, Burlington, ON L7P 3J6. Drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to make a donation.
We’ll add you to the Sponsors List. All sponsors get free admission to the contest, that includes all members of bands which are sponsoring the event. Check out the details at www.georgesherriffinvitational.com .