Gillian Blaney is currently studying Child and Youth Care Studies at Nova Scotia Community College. At the age of seven, Gillian started playing bagpipes at the Halifax Citadel School of Music and she has been taking lessons from Bruce Gandy since she was nine. Currently, Gillian is playing with the Dartmouth and District Pipe Band. Some of Gillian’s solo piping highlights for the 2023 season include winning the Grade One Piobaireachd and MSR at the Atlantic Canada Piobaireachd Challenge, winning the Grade One overall for the Antigonish Highland Games, the Amateur Piper of the Day at The Maxville Highland Games, and placing 4th in the MacGregor Memorial Piobaireachd Competition in Oban. She is honoured to be invited to the 2023 George Sheriff Invitational.
Cameron Bonar is 15 years old and from British Columbia, Canada. He started his piping career at the age of 6, working with his dad, Andrew. Since 2017, he has been fortunate to have Jack Lee as his instructor and mentor.
Cameron’s piping highlights this year include winning his events at both Winter Storm and the BC Pipers Association Indoor Gathering. He also enjoyed piping in Scotland this summer where he won Pipe Idol. He also was a finalist in the MacGregor Memorial Piobaireachd and won the MSR in Oban. Cameron also competed at the Northern Meeting in Inverness where he won the Under 18 Piobaireachd and was 4th in the MSR.
Cameron is excited to be invited and compete again at the George Sherriff Memorial competition.
Thomas Cangelosi is a student of James Stack and learned bagpipes in 2010 with the CuChullain Pipe Band of Morris County, NJ under the instruction of PM AJ McCann and Todd Ferrie. In 2015, he joined the MacMillan Pipe Band of Washington, D.C. and has been serving as Pipe Sergeant since 2019. Thomas also instructs and performs with the Northern Virginia Emerald Society Pipe Band of Fairfax, Virginia.
This year Thomas was the overall winner at the Fair Hill Scottish Games, Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, Covenanter Scottish Festival and the U.S. Piping Foundation. Outside of piping, he enjoys time spent with his girlfriend Olivia, hiking and surfing.
Colin Forrest turned 15 in June and lives in Mission, British Columbia, Canada. He started playing pipes at the age of 8 under the instruction of Glen Robertson. Colin has been taking lessons from Andrew Lee since 2018 and is also seeing Alan Bevan. Colin just won the 2023 Nicol-Brown Invitational, picking up firsts in the piobaireachd and 6/8's. His solo season this year was also a success, placing second in the Amateur MSR in Kansas City Winter Storm and winning multiple first-place prizes in the Pacific Northwest competition circuit. In Scotland this August, he competed in the Argyllshire Gathering in Oban, placing third in the Intermediate MSR. Colin also placed first in the Junior March contest at the Lochaber Gathering in Fort William. He competed with the Robert Malcolm Memorial 3 Pipe Band at the World Pipe Championships, placing second in the grade 3A band event. Colin has been invited to practice with the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band in addition to practicing with the Robert Malcolm Memorial Band. His future ambitions are to win the gold medals at Oban and Inverness.
Malachi Johannsen is 16 and from Modesto, California. He has been bagpiping since he was seven years old. Malachi began his instruction under Pipe Major Gary Speed and later Pipe Major Elizabeth Tubbs of the City of Sacramento Pipe Band. He is currently a student of Callum Beaumont and plays for Silicon Valley Pipe Band in Saratoga, California. He has been fortunate enough to be a multiple aggregate winner of the WUSPBA’s light music and Piobaireachd categories throughout the years and most recently won the overall Grade 1 aggregate at Costa Mesa. Malachi is a homeschool junior in high school and in addition to playing bagpipes he enjoys studying astronomy and aviation. Malachi is grateful for his supportive family, and feels fortunate and blessed to have been invited to this year’s George Sherriff Competition.
Kayleigh Johnstone is a 19-year-old, second-year university student, studying Criminology. She began piping at the age of seven. She has been taught by her grandfather, Reay Mackay and her mother, Glenna Mackay-Johnstone. In addition to piping, she has played piano with the Royal Conservatory Music Program for nine years.
Some proud piping moments include: 2022 Champion Supreme Grade 1 Piobaireachd, 2023 Champion Supreme Grade 1 Piobaireachd, 2023 Champion Supreme Grade 1 Light Music, 2022 Amateur Piper of the day at Maxville Highland Games, 2019 Winner of the Balmoral Classic, 2019 Metro Cup - 2nd place in MSR, 2019 Winner of the MSRHJ -Grade 1 Winter Storm - Kansas City, 2018 Winner of the MSR - Grade 2 Winter Storm - Kansas City and in 2017 The JT MacKenzie Youngest 1st place piper at Maxville.
Michael Malish is a 20-year-old student attending Durham College, studying chemical engineering. He started his bagpiping career with the Durham Regional Police Pipe Band at the age of eight, with instruction from Tom Bowen. From 2019 to 2021, Michael played with the Toronto Police Grade 2 Pipe Band and, as of September 2023, has just joined the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band. Aside from bagpiping, he enjoys working on engines and riding motorcycles.
Henry Paluch is currently a second-year student at the University of Toronto studying philosophy and law. He started playing pipes at the age of ten, later becoming the Pipe Major of St. Andrew’s College Pipe Band while in high school. Henry has competed in PPBSO for the past eight years, receiving tutelage from Jim McGillivray and Matt MacIsaac. This past summer, Henry placed second in the 2023 PPBSO Champion Supreme standings for both Grade 1 Light Music and Senior Amateur Piobaireachd. Since its inception in 2019, Henry has been a member of the St. Andrew’s College Association Pipe Band. Henry also enjoys composing, and works for the sheet music Web site, pipetunes.ca, as a tune recorder.
Magnus Stone is a 14-year-old bagpiper/musician from Natick, Massachusetts, who started playing the bagpipes in 2019 when he was 10 years old, and is currently taking online lessons from Callum Beaumont, Margaret Dunn, and Glenn Brown. He has been competing in Grade 1 for one season, and is currently in 3rd place for light music and 2nd place for Piobaireachd in the EUSPBA, having won the most points in Grade 1 at nine different competitions this year. Along with his local achievements, he travelled to Scotland this past summer to play in Pipe Idol, a competition for the 24 best bagpipers under 21, and Emerging Talent, where he showcased his self-composed modern bagpiping and Irish whistle along with an original backing track. He also enjoys composing and recording music on the Bagpipes, as well as other instruments like Irish Low Whistle, Bass Guitar, and Electric Guitar.
Mic Trenor started piping in 1979. His first instructor was Bob Ryan and then David Gettinbey. Upon entering the competition arena Mic started lessons with Noel Slagle. Quickly he climbed the ranks reaching grade 1 in 1990 only to retire from competitive piping. After 27 years sabbatical in 2018 at the encouragement of his wife, Katrisha, Mic once again got on the boards. This season he has won piper of the day at The Ohio Valley Indoor contest, The Cincinnati Indoor Contest, Central New York and The Ligonier Highland Games. Mic is ranked second in the EUSPBA for the second year in a row. He is honored to be back at The George Sherriff Memorial Invitational. Mic lives in Columbus, Ohio with his beautiful wife Katrisha and their son Ethan.