Anyone who has been in or around the Glengarry Pipe Band, or school, will know the name Shelley MacPhee. Not only does her piping career read like a “who’s who” of the Eastern Ontario piping scene, her determination and zeal for the art brought her to many concerts, camps, and conversations with many of the great
piping and drumming luminaries of the time. While many would measure their career in terms of stories of piping greats, medals won or tattoos performed at,
Shelley’s contribution to the Eastern Ontario piping community is best described in the number of bands and bagpipers that she has taught, outfitted, practiced, and readied for a lifetime of playing. In her own words, “I learned, I played, I taught.”
Shelley’s own piping career began in 1967 under the instruction of Charlie Bell at the Glengarry School of Piping and Drumming (GSPD) in Maxville, Ontario. Celtic music and the bagpipe had a special place in the MacPhee household. Shelley’s mother, Sybil MacPhee, was a member of the GSPD executive and tireless supporter of the students and teachers at the school. Shelley progressed quickly on pipes and found herself engaging in the Eastern Ontario piping community at a young age. Her Grade 8 teacher was renowned player Connie “Kippen” Blaney. In 1970 Shelley joined the Glengarry Pipe Band where she played under the direction of Pipe Major (P/M) Dave Danskin. It was in this vintage of the band that Shelley made her first, of many, trips to Scotland in 1972.
Our thanks to Ross Davison for writing this article!
Photo credit: Cindy McGillivray Ritchie