JUDGES

Peter Aumonier

Although born in Atlantic Canada, Peter grew up on Vancouver Island on Canada’s west coast.
His main teacher, throughout his life has been P/M James W. Troy.  He’s also studied piobaireach with Neil Angus MacDonald, Bob Hardie, and Andrew Wright.

At the age of 15 Peter began his grade 1 pipe band career with The City of Victoria Pipe Band. Prior to moving to Ontario in 1996, he played with SFU. On arrival in Ontario he played with Peel Police.  In 2003, Peter became P/M of Hamilton Police where he took a group of young people progressively through grades 4-2 inclusive, winning many championships along the way including North American Championships and Championship Supreme in each grade. In 2012, no less than 18 of the players who came through Hamilton’s program played in the Grade 1 final with various bands at the World Championships.

As a soloist, Peter has won many open prizes in North America and Scotland including the North American Piobaireachd Society Banner.

Retired as a Senior Vice President of a major insurance company, Peter continues to play and teach pipes. He works with players of all ages and skill levels. Peter’s family have all been involved in music and piping. His wife, Linda, was a member of the Vancouver Ladies, his son Stuart is a piper, and daughter Elizabeth is a tenor drummer who also has a music degree specializing in voice.

Peter is an accredited adjudicator with the Piper’s and Pipe Band Society of Ontario, The BC Piper’s Association, and serves on both associations’ adjudicator committees.

Peter has composed a number of Piobaireachd and is currently working on publishing a collection.

Graeme McCombe

Graeme started learning the bagpipes with Pipe Major Robert Fraser and the Lord Selkirk Boy Scout Pipe Band at age 10. His first trip to Scotland took place in 2004, where Graeme was the youngest player in the competition circle with the band. Graeme won several Piper of the Day and Champion Supreme light music and piobaireachd awards coming up through the solo ranks while in Lord Selkirk. In 2008, Graeme became the Pipe Major of the band and was lucky enough to take the band to Scotland in 2009. In Scotland, the band made it through to the finals at the World Championships and won the day a week later in Bute. Come 2010, Graeme began playing with the St. Andrew’s Society of Winnipeg Pipe Band in Grade 2. Highlights of playing in St. Andrew’s include successfully trips to the Maxville Highland Gathering and the World Championships.

In 2012, Graeme started solo lessons with Bruce Gandy of Darthmouth, Nova Scotia. In 2013, Graeme began playing with Alex and Bruce in the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Pipe Band and traveled to play for 5 seasons in Grade 1. The 78th Highlanders won the North American Championship in Maxville in 2014 and made the final circle at the World Championships in 2015. Another highlight includes being a part of the Citadel’s quartet at the yearly International Quartet Competition in 2015 and 2016 in Glasgow. Graeme returned to the local scene in 2018 with the Winnipeg Police Pipe Band to compete in Grade 2, where the band has enjoyed success in Pleasanton, California, Chicago, Illinois, and locally. Graeme also plays for many highland dance competitions and championships. Graeme currently works as a 911 Call Taker with the City of Winnipeg and continues to enjoy playing with the Winnipeg Police Pipe Band.

Heather Purvis

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. 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 in 1998 was selected as a finalist in the Pipe Tune for the Peoples’ Princess, a tune-writing competition in honour of Princess Diana. She went on to win 2nd prize amongst a field of internationally renowned composers. 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 2021.

Heather had the opportunity to play with the 78th Fraser Highlanders, the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band and the Hamilton Police Pipe Band in the early 2000’s. The knowledge gained in playing with these world-class performers gave Heather increasing experience which she continues to share with other younger pipers.

Since 1996, 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 is currently a member of both the Grade 3 St. Andrew’s Pipe Band and the RCMP ‘D’ Division Pipes & Drums.

Today, Heather teaches out of her home and also assists teaching with the Lord Selkirk Robert Fraser Memorial Pipe Band organization in Winnipeg (as of October 2023). Heather currently works as a nurse at CancerCare Manitoba and has one daughter, Caitlin. Heather also has a young grandson, Callum.

Wes Sheppard

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 78th 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 workshops.

In the light of day, Wes is the Northern Bands manager for Pritchard Engineering in Winnipeg.

John Fisher

John is a former North American Solo Champion. He is a former lead drummer of The City of Victoria Pipe Band, 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band, and Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band. John is also a former member of the World Champion Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Drum Corps under the leadership of the legendary Alex Duthart.

The Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band members were featured in the award-winning documentary “On the Day” by John McDonald.

Sean Johnston

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 and played under Roland Reid when the band moved up to Grade 2, eventually lead the organization’s drumming programs as the Grade 2 lead drummer and instructor of the Grade 4 and Juvenile Pipe Band’s. 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 and has turned his musical attention to his award winning band The Sean Taylor Band, but continues to teach clinics around North America as well as judging various contests when called upon.

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