Our Judges 2023


Sean Somers has established himself as one of the top professional
pipers from the Canadian Prairies, gaining accolades as a composer,
leader, bandsman, and soloist.

Sean has been a consistent prize-winner in professional piping contests
throughout North America and is the pipe-major of the Grade 2 Rocky
Mountain Pipe Band (RMPB) based in Calgary, Alberta. As its pipe-major,
Sean has led the RMPB to win the North American Pipe Band Championship,
the BC Indoor Annual Gathering, the Mid-America Championship, the
Northern Canadian Championships, the Alberta Provincial Championships,
the Saskatchewan Provincial Championships, and many other top prizes at local Highland Games. An award-winning composer, Sean is also the
author of his own book of bagpipe music entitled “The Out West
Collection”. With his compositions appearing in many other contemporary
collections of bagpipe music, his tunes have been played and recorded by
some of the world’s best soloists and pipe bands. He is an accredited
adjudicator with both the Alberta Society of Pipers and Drummers and the
Pipers and Pipe Band Society of Ontario.


Wes first started competing at the age of 11 under the instruction of
John Service. Shortly after he became a member of the Dauphin Legion
Pipe Band under PM Iain MacLeod. At the age of 13, Wes began competing
in the open class.
Wes went on the play in the Stirling Centennial Pipe Band under PM’s
William MacLeod and Tommy Thompson.
In the late 80’s Wes began teaching in Kenora Ont and formed the Kenora
Scottish. This band went on to play at the World Pipe Band Championships
in 2000 and is still in existence as a teaching community band.
In 2000, Wes joined ranks with the 78 th Fraser Highlanders of Toronto
under PM Bill Livingstone as a travelling player.
In 2003 Wes assumed the role of Pipe Major for the St Andrews Society of
Winnipeg Pipe Band. Under his leadership the band won the grade 3 North
American Championships and in 2010 had a successful run in Grade 2 at
the World Championships making it through to the final. The organization
also grew to have 3 bands at one point of which 2 are still active.
Wes is currently the PM/instructor for the St Andrews of Winnipeg Pipe
Band Grade 4 and is very active instructing solo students and band
In the light of day, he is the service manager for Pritchard Engineering
in Winnipeg.


Sean is a local Winnipeg snare drummer who came up through the Transcona
and District Pipe Band under the instruction of Bob Cooper. After
graduating the program Sean joined Bob’s grade 3 St Andrew’s Society
Pipe Band drum corp, played under Roland Reid when the band moved up to
grade 2, and eventually lead the organizations drumming programs as the
grade 2 lead drummer and instructor of the grade 4, and juvenile pipe
bands. Sean lead the grade 2 corp to the World Pipe Band Championship
including a top 10 finish in drumming.

Sean stepped back from active playing to run his business Harvester
Outdoors here in Manitoba, but continues to teach clinics around North
America as well as judging various contests when called upon.

Andrew Miller started drumming in 1995 with the Edmonton Boys’ Pipe
Band, now known as the Edmonton Youth Pipe Band. He holds a strong
feeling of pride in those roots. In 1999 he became a member of the grade
one Alberta Caledonia Pipe Band where he enjoyed much success, both as a
solo and corps player, in his 15 seasons with the band. In 2014 he
joined the ranks of the Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band, playing three
enjoyable seasons. Andrew is currently a member of Dublin’s St. Laurence
O’Toole Pipe Band, where he has been since 2017. With them, Andrew has
won 6 drum corps major championship titles, back-to-back World Drumming
titles, a Champion of Champions title, two All Ireland titles, and 4
band major championship titles. Andrew qualified for the World Solo
Drumming Adult Semi-Final in 2017 and feels fortunate to have had the
honour of playing the 2018 pre-World Championships concert at the
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Andrew is excited to head back to Ireland
for the 2023 season after a pandemic hiatus. He lives in Edmonton,
Alberta, with his young family, where he enjoys teaching the grade 4
Edmonton & District Pipe Band. Andrew is very happy to have been asked
to be a part of the Winnipeg Scottish Festival!

Heather is a well-known figure on the Manitoba and Ontario piping scene.
She began piping lessons at the age of 8 under P/M George Lawrence in
the 402 Squadron Air Cadets. At the age of 12, Heather was introduced to
the Winnipeg Heather-Belle Ladies’ Pipe Band and spent 20 amazing years
with them, nine of them as Pipe Major. During this time, she began as a
piper with the Manitoba Highland Dancers Association in 1980 and
remained with the organization until 1995. She resumed dance piping
duties at Scotdance Canada Championships in Winnipeg in 2016 and
continues to this day.

In the late 1990s, Heather began her composing career and placed 2nd
prize in 1998 amongst a field of internationally renowned composers,
penning a tune in honour of Princess Diana. She continues to compose and
most recently placed third in the Pipers and Pipe Band Society of
Ontario (PPBSO) 75th Anniversary 4/4 composition contest in November

Since 2000, Heather has been an active solo and pipe band judge, and a
member of both the Prairie Pipe Band Association of Manitoba (PPBAM) and
the Piper’s and Pipe Band Society of Ontario (PPBSO). She had the
opportunity to play with both the 78th Fraser Highlanders and the Peel
Regional Police Pipe Bands in the early 2000s while living in southern
Ontario and is currently a member of the Grade 3 St. Andrew’s Pipeband.

Heather currently works as a nurse at CancerCare Manitoba and has one
daughter, Caitlin, who was recently married. Heather is preparing for
her next role as Grandma in July 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *