1998 Toronto Santa Claus Parade

Piping and

at St. Andrew’s College, 
Aurora, Ontario


Band Training on the beautiful St. Andrew's Campus

An independent university preparatory school for boys from grade 6 to university entrance, St. Andrew’s College welcomes established or aspiring pipers and drummers to become part of its unique and exciting Piping and Drumming Program.

Piping was originally established at St. Andrew’s College in 1915 as part of the school’s #142 Highland Cadet Corps. All students at St. Andrew’s participate in the Cadet program, and as part of that commitment many choose to learn the Great Highland Bagpipe or the pipe band snare, tenor or bass drum.

In more recent year, St. Andrew’s College has begun to offer a program that is unique in Canada -- an academic credit course in piping as part of its Grade 9, 10, 11 and 12 music program. Any boy with at least 10 months experience on the pipes and the required music prerequisites is eligible to take the courses.


Beginner piper practice

Beginners are accepted into the Cadet piping program from grades 6 to 10. They are divided into small classes and are taught anywhere from once to three times a week, depending on schedules. Pipers are taught on the practice chanter, while drummers learn on a practice pad. Learners purchase these inexpensive starting instruments with the understanding that they can turn them in for a refund should they decide not to continue with the program. Most beginners are ready to progress to pipes or drums by March of their first year. The beginning piping classes are taught by top quality piping and drumming teachers from in and around Toronto. All are supervised by Director Jim McGillivray. Drum teaching is conducted or overseen by Major Brian McCue..

Bagpipes and drums are provided by the Cadet Corps, though pipers may buy or bring their own pipes if they wish.

Intermediates and Advanced

Members of the Drum Corps

Once students have moved onto the bagpipe or drum, the teaching regimen changes. Boys now participate in group practices or lessons as part of the Pipes & Drums or the Junior Pipes & Drums.  Some boys may now qualify for the Grade 9, 10, 11 or 12 piping courses, which are taught by Mr. McGillivray. They attend small piping classes an average of three times a week, while studying music theory and history with regular music department staff.

Pipers who have expressed an interest in entering solo piping competitions can be scheduled for additional lessons with Mr. McGillivray. Pipers are encouraged to enter the competition forum, and trips are arranged during the school year to piping competitions in the Toronto-Hamilton area.

The Pipes & Drums

Leading the 142 St. Andrew's College Cadet Corps on Parade

The Pipes & Drums are the most visible and active unit in the #142 Highland Cadet Corps. For more than 85 years the band has been the musical heart of the Corps. It leads the Corps at the annual Church Parade in downtown Toronto, at the Headmaster’s Parade on campus and at the Annual Cadet Inspection. Since 1997, the band has focused on musical quality as well as appearance. The repertoire has expanded and the band has gained appeal, performing in both the Toronto and the Aurora Santa Claus parades. 

Individual pipers are encouraged to perform at functions at the school or in the community and to enter piping competitions. The band now has also begun to enter pipe band or Cadet pipe band competitions. Exchange programs with other school pipe bands or pipers in Scotland or the United States are also being explored.

The Summer School

Summer Piping School at St. Andrew's

Another important element of the Piping and Drumming Program is the of The Ontario School of Piping and Drumming at St. Andrew’s College, a summer camp open to all comers in June and July. Premier instructors from Canada, Scotland and the U.S. converge on the campus for two weeks to offer intense immersion into some of the best teaching and performing of pipes and drums on the continent. Call Director Jim McGillivray at 905-727-3178, ext 243 for more information, or check out the summer school Web site at: www.sac.on.ca/ontpiping.
The Director

Director of Piping - Jim McGillivray

Piping and Drumming Director Jim McGillivray is one of the leading pipers of his generation. He has won the major Scottish piping competitions, including the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medals and Oban and Inverness, and has several recordings to his credit. His publication of an innovative tutor in 1998, his popularity at workshops, clinics and recitals and the competitive success of his private pupils confirm him as one of the top piping teachers in the world. His more than 30 years of experience in piping worldwide provide St. Andrew’s College with access to leading piping and drumming instructors.
More Information?

If you would like more information about the Piping and Drumming Program, call the Director of Piping and Drumming, Jim McGillivray at 905-727-3178, ext. 243, or e-mail him at jim.mcgillivray@sac.on.ca

For more information about St. Andrew’s College:

  • Check out the College web site at: www.sac.on.ca
  • Or call the Admissions Department at: 

  • 1-877-EST-1899 (1-877-378-1899)
  • Or write to:

  • St. Andrew’s College
    15800 Yonge Street
    Aurora, Ontario
    L4G 3H7