June 30, 2000

100 Years of Fortitude

One Hundred Years of Pipe Band Drumming
Compiled by Drum Majors Wilson Young and Allan Chatto
108 pages, published independently by the authors

Reviewed by Greg Dinsdale

One Hundred Years of Pipe Band Drumming is a book that shows the development of pipe band drumming over the last one hundred years. It was put together by drummers Wilson Young and Allan Chatto, and provides readers with examples of pipe band drum scores over the last century. Each chapter in the book represents one decade of the century and includes profiles of the influential drummers of each period along with one of their scores.

The compilers have included drum settings of drummers who were leading drummers of Grade 1 bands, or regular prize winners in the World Solo Championships, and considered to have been influential in developing and enhancing the standard of drumming. The book also includes a history of the military drum, a list of World Champion Drum Corps and World Champion Pipe Bands, and a register of World Solo Drumming Champions.

For each drummer profiled in the book, there is a photograph with a short biography. A reproduction of the original score showing the penmanship of the drummer is also provided. This is very clever and provides a real personal touch to the work. These scores are also typeset to allow for easy reading.

One Hundred Years of Pipe Band Drumming provides dramatic evidence of how pipe band drumming has developed over the years. It also provides some wonderful background to help drummers understand how drumming has evolved. Many drummers understand the impact that Jim Kilpatrick and Alex Duthart have had on drumming, but they may be less aware of the impact of Paddy Donovan, Jimmy Catherwood and John Seton. By looking at and playing their scores we get a real appreciation for the contributions they have made.

The collection also gives us a chance to review and play material to which one would not normally be exposed. There are some wonderful scores to suit all tastes and I would encourage drummers to play through this book. In particular, there are several great scores from the 1950s and ’60s. I really enjoyed playing and contrasting the material written between the late 1950s and late 1960s from Duthart, Jim Hutton, John Kerr and Wilson Young, just to name a few. One can quickly see just how much impact these drummers and others have had on the current standard of play.

One Hundred Years of Pipe Band Drumming is an excellent resource and learning tool for all drummers and it is also quite good fun. It is a must have for any serious drummer.

Greg Dinsdale has been leading drummer with the Metro Toronto Police, St. Thomas Police and Dofasco pipe bands of Ontario. He was also a member of the British Caledonia Airways Pipe Band. Greg is currently on the judging panel of the PPBSO and lives in London, Ontario.


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