Drumming it down

Published: August 31, 2009
(Page 1 of 1)

Drumming for Drinks

Lord Todd Bar

University of Strathclyde

August 12, 2009

Islay Spalding reports

As a first time visitor to the Piping Live week I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Drumming for Drinks. After arriving in George Square and a breakfast of haggis and whisky I headed up to Lord Todd Bar. There was standing room only so I sneaked my way into the side of the crowd to see the action.

There were 18 entries of bass, side and tenor drummers and a prize for the best of each, as voted by the audience. First up was Chris Duncan and family with a bit of belly dancing followed by another Gordon Duncan-inspired performance by Richard Baughman on the snare drum.

Nathan McLaren goes solo with his myriad sounds.In fact, Gordon Duncan tunes were well represented all though the afternoon. Nathan McLaren blew everyone away with the Roland RMP-12, an electric drum that he helped to develop, and LED light-up sticks from Magic Sticks of Switzerland, which enabled him to sound as if he could play every sort of drum imaginable.

Each performer had something different and imaginative in their act, Dougal McConnell of Australia’s Pipeband Club on the snare drum decided to play with the piper on his shoulders, for example, and there were other energetic aerobics routines, like a Michael Jackson-style dance and a rap dedicated to Tyler Fry. All great fun and hugely appreciated by the increasingly excited audience.

Throughout the afternoon rumours started flying when members of the Top Secret Drum Corps were seen around and sure enough, before the awards ceremony with the stage now as packed as the rest of the room, we were treated to a fantastic display ending quite literally with sticks on fire.

The awards went to Andrew Elliot for tenor drumming, Cameron Trotter for the bass and Graham Brown on snare.

Islay Spalding is a drummer from Dundee, Scotland, and plays with the Grade 2 MacKenzie Caledonian Pipe Band.

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TIP OF THE DAY
Pipers: Need to manipulate your pipe chanter reed? – use a pen knife or Xacto knife instead of sandpaper. You have much more control on the amount of cane you take off with a knife vs. sandpaper. And it is much better for the cane itself; other woodworkers call this technique “feathering.”
Donald MacPhee, reedmaker, Alexandria, Scotland