Invercargill picks ScottishPower’s Esler to lead drum section

Published: June 17, 2013
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After a global search, Russell Esler of Glasgow has been chosen to be Leading-Drummer of the Grade ILT City of Invercargill Highland Pipe Band of New Zealand. Esler also gets a full-time job with the Southland Piping and Drumming Development Trust as Principal Drumming Tutor.

A long-time member of the Grade 1 ScottishPower Pipe Band, Esler will join Invercargill and move to New Zealand after the World Pipe Band Championships in August.

“I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to be part of the excellent set up with the ILT City of Invercargill and the SPDDT,” Esler said. “Although my season with ScottishPower has not finished yet I am very excited to get started in New Zealand . . . It’s my dream job.”

Esler will play under Pipe-Major Alasdair Mackenzie, who also was a member of ScottishPower and still competes with the band in the New Zealand’s off-season. Mackenzie said that there were numerous applicants for the post, including “many associated with world-class Grade 1 bands.” The selection committee created a short-list of four.

“It was a very, very tight race and Russell won the day as the selection committee considered he had the best mix of strengths for the role, and its environment, but it was a tough choice and those that missed out can rightfully feel disappointed,” commented SPDDT Chairman Allister Macgregor.

Esler is a pupil of Shotts & Dykehead L-D Jim Kilpatrick and ScottishPower L-D Barry Wilson, and he has assisted with writing bass and tenor scores for ScottishPower and often leads the drum section when Wilson is unavailable.

“I am looking forward to working alongside [Russell] at the SPDDT. He has all the qualities to succeed. It’s going to be a huge year too for the ILT City of Invercargill and I know Russell can’t wait to get stuck in and is right up for the challenge.”

Mackenzie said that Esler has already started to write material for Invercargill.

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  1. Lawrie

    What a tremendous advantage to have a purpose built fund to offer salaries to full-time leaders/instructors. Whether it has come from a benefactor or via community efforts (or both), this is the one true envy of all bands. The ‘agony’ of having to choose from all the candidates is a nice problem to have. Future-proofing:101

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When competing, play to your strengths, not your weaknesses. It’s useless to play ‘Susan MacLeod’ if you are not able to make strong clear darados. Steer clear of the ‘Atholl Cummers’ if you can’t make F doublings. Concentrate on tunes that allow you to show off the best of your finger technique.
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