February 28, 2007

Jim Agnew passes away

The popular side-drummer Jim Agnew died on February 11, 2007, at his home in the Niagara region of Ontario.

Agnew had served for many years as an adjudicator with the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, and was very active and in high demand as a teacher.

Originally from Fallin, Scotland, near Stirling, he started his drumming career with the Fallin Colliery Pipe Band. He moved to Canada in the 1960s and joined the Grade 1 Clan MacFarlane Pipe Band. He was Leading-Drummer of the Grade 2 Niagara & District Pipe Band in the 1980s.

As a testament to his popularity, his name was added to the George Harrison Solo Drumming Championship in 2004. The contest is now called the “Agnew-Harrison.”

On behalf of the piping and drumming world, pipes|drums extends condolences to Jimmy Agnew’s family and friends.

Visitors are invited to share their thoughts and wishes using our Comments feature.


  1. Memories! Having known Jimmy as a drummer and friend for some 55 years now, Jimmy recently recalled me being the first drummer he played with when he came to Canada. I remember the lightning fast single strokes he played way back then”. His drumming ability as a Lead Stroke

  2. Jimmy Agnew was a wonderful Man, and a great Teacher. Jimmy will be very,very missed! Thank you for showing me everything Jimmy……… Scott Currie Scottish Lion 78th Fraser Highlanders

  3. Jimmy will be missed. He was a real character on the Piping and Drumming scene. He always had a point of view on an issue and he was never shy about expressing it. Such honesty and integrity will be greatly missed.

  4. There are a lot memories that come to mind when I heard about Jimmy. My grandfather was one of his instructors and I can remember them bashing away with me sitting under the table. I guess I can also feel responsible for all of Jimmy’s students who got their knuckles rapped because that is what happened to him as he was learning. I was no exception. Jimmy also sent me to George Kidd when I moved to Windsor as a 15 year old kid, and I could never be more appreciative from what I learned from him. After winning the world’s in ’87, even though he would never admit it, I knew he was proud of our achievement. He’ll be missed but never forgotten.

  5. I remember playing my Grade 5 solo for Jimmy Agnew at Almonte about two years ago. I remember him slowly walking up to the judges table with his cane, listening to me play and giving me fair and useful advice to improve my playing. I still have the score sheet and was reading it the other night. That was the last time I saw him. Another story I have heard about him was that Jimmy would decribe the perfect roll-offs by taking a piece of newpaper and slowly ripping it in one long sssssssssshhhhhh over the three beats. Rest in Peace Jimmy. My condolences to his family. tomm

  6. Jimmy was my first teacher and I owe him alot for teaching me the proper basics of drumming from the beginning. Always a tough but fair judge. He will be missed very much. I was proud to call him a friend. Rest in peace my friend.

  7. Like Iain and Scott, Jimmy was my first and only snare drumming teacher. I played in his corps from 1976 through to 1980 in Niagara & District and all I learned about drumming I owe to Jim. He was like a father to me and his family treated me like I was one of them. He’s the one that originally started calling me Mitch and it has stuck to this day. Being one of the boys” was never easy and Jimmy never let me take the easy way out. I will miss him. An era has ended. Michele Curtis”

  8. Jimmy was also my first teacher back in the early 80’s with Sheridan-Oakville P&D (later became St. Andrew’s-Mississauga P&D) I sure remembered getting the knuckles rapped a few times!! Jimmy always had a story to tell and many of them were quite funny and I remember them very well to this day. Jimmy , I will miss you and Thank You for all you did for me, my other band playing family members and for my band. My condolences to the Agnew family. God Speed My Friend. Rest in Peace.

  9. Jimmy was a great friend of 45 years. We shared many happy memories and I will miss him immensely. My wife, Marge, and I send our sincere sympathy to Jimmy’s wife and family.

  10. Rest in pease Jim. Jim Agnew was my first drum teacher in Fallin Colliery Pipe Band. Jims Dad and My dad were also best friends and thats what got me started. It was great to see Jim over a year ago, working with my Grand children Cameron and Callum Mckail. Jim you have touched more people in the drumming world than you will ever know. Thanks for everything. John Mckail Snr.

  11. We competed against each other; we played in the same band; we adjudicated together; and, we shared many, many laughs together. Those who knew him well were aware that below the crusty exterior beat a heart the size of the CN Tower. Thank you, Jimmy for sharing a piece of that heart with so many of us over the years. You will be missed. Rest in peace, my friend.

  12. Jimmy was my first instructor also. I was 48 at the time and he was teaching the Caledonia Pipes and Drums drummers. He showed unbelievable patience as I tried to get my older fingers (and older brain) to pick up pipe band drumming. I got my fingers rapped a few times but when he saw I was serious and practiced hard he stuck with me. He had no use for people who didn’t do their best. I am so sorry to hear of his passing and my thoughts and prayers are with his family. God Bless you Jimmy and thanks for all you did.

  13. I knew Jimmy from the days of the May contest in Kingston for the South Eastern branch. He was a great character and there was never a dull moment with him .I remember him coming to me in Maxville and telling me to shorten the pace into the circle as we had smaller younger kids in the drum corp and if I wanted to keep them I’d better treat them better. We adjusted our stride for the next contest. We have lost a big part of our pipe band family.

  14. I had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy in the late 70’s when he was on tour with Niagara. His influence and support for all the members of the band was easy to see then and from other comments has continued over the years. Great guy and I’m sorry to hear the news

  15. I was very fortunate to have Jimmy as my first drumming instructor, he gave me a solid foundation in drumming to build on. He pushed me to always try to surpass myself, both in music as well as in life and to play from the heart. Thanks Jimmy! I’ll miss you. Sebastien Garner

  16. I am at a loss for words, Jimmy was not only a great teacher but a great friend. As the years passed I realized more and more what Jimmy ment to me. I will miss you, thrusday night lessons and travelling to the games with you. Rest in peace, and thank you. Dannie



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