Eric MacNeill has resigned as Leading-Drummer of the Grade 1 Oran Mor Pipe Band of Albany, New York. MacNeill cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason.
MacNeill had been a member of the band since 1996 and the lead-tip of the band since 2000, playing under Pipe-Major Andrew Douglas since Douglas took over the top spot in 2008. Oran Mor’s biggest success in the grade to date was qualifying for the Grade 1 Final at the 2011 World Pipe Band Championships. The band failed to make the Final at this year’s event, finishing seventh in the qualifying round.
“Andrew [Douglas] and I have irreconcilable differences with reference to the future direction of the band,” MacNeill said in a statement to pipes|drums.
“After this year’s Scotland trip, and a disappointing drumming result, the Oran Mor leadership set out to brainstorm ways to re-energize the drum corps such that we could contend in the Worlds final in 2013,” Douglas said. “We all, including Eric, agreed that the corps had reached a place where something big would be required to reach the next level. Many ideas were discussed, and among these ideas was the suggestion of potentially bringing on someone else to lead the corps. Our conversations were always very candid, sincere, and inclusive. It was clearly communicated to Eric throughout these discussions that there was absolutely no intention of forcibly removing him from his position as lead tip, but it eventually became apparent that Eric felt it was appropriate that he leave the band. We are deeply saddened by Eric’s decision, but are confident that we will be able to move the band forward in a positive direction in the coming season.”
Oran Mor had an extended visit to Scotland in August of this year, and enjoyed a first in the MSR and a second in the Medley competition at the North Berwick Highland Games.
MacNeill said that he plans to play with the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band. It is not known who will be taking over as leading-drummer at Oran Mor.
MacNeill is the current President of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association.
Stay tuned to pipes|drums for more on this story as information becomes available.