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: Blow your drones without the pipe chanter for a few minutes when you first take your pipes out of the box. Initially, the blades on your pipe chanter reed and the tongues on your drone reeds will be dry (not pliable), which will make the chanter reed stiff and often too much for the drone reeds – causing them to shut off. The warm air that is blown through the drone reeds will make the tongues more pliable and receptive to handling the strength of the pipe chanter. This applies to synthetic and cane drone reeds.
John Cairns, double Gold Medallist