Ryan Canning accepts Shotts Pipe-Major position

Published: August 31, 2012
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Ryan Canning is the new Pipe-Major of Shotts & Dykehead, only the seventh leader in the last 75 years of the world’s most Grade 1 prize-winning band.

Canning, a 16-year member of 2012 World Champions Field Marshal Montgomery and a highly successful solo piper, accepted the position on August 29th after lengthy conversations with Leading-Drummer Jim Kilpatrick. He replaces Gavin Walker, who resigned from the band abruptly in July after a disagreement with Kilpatrick and other members of the band over a comment made on Facebook.

In addition to his band and solo playing experience, Canning is a well-known reedmaker, his drone reeds played consistently throughout the world.

“I’m really excited about the challenge of becoming Pipe-Major of the House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band,” Canning said. “There is no doubt that the Shotts name is one of the biggest in the pipe band world and has been for a century, and I feel privileged to be continuing the band’s legacy. I’ve spent literally half my life in the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band under Pipe-Major Richard Parkes, and to my mind, there has been no better place or person to learn from. My philosophy and way of working would be in line with what I’ve come to believe in FMM: in a strong focus on discipline, technique, and continually striving to produce a quality pipe sound, and above all, quality music.”

The 32-year-old Canning will reportedly attract several new members to Shotts & Dykehead. His most recent solo success was a second in the A-Grade Strathspey & Reel at the 2012 Argyllshire Gathering. With Field Marshal Montgomery, he has been a part of six World Championship victories, and total of 40 major championship victories. An accomplished and popular composer, he has published a collection of his tunes.

Jim Kilpatrick said, “I am excited and honoured on so many levels with the appointment of Ryan Canning as the new Shotts pipe-major. I have always had the greatest respect for Ryan’s talent, as a player and a composer, and he brings with him, a lifetime of experience at the highest level to the band. Along with this, Ryan will bring a new and professional style of music and leadership to the Shotts band. This is a fresh challenge for both of us and I couldn’t ask for a better person to take on the role as pipe-major.”


The 16-time World Solo Drumming Champion Kilpatrick is currently under suspension by the RSPBA until late-October for a comment he made on Facebook regarding the drumming results at the 2012 British Pipe Band Championships at Annan, Scotland.

“I know the challenge will be great, but I’m really excited to be working with someone as experienced and talented as Jim Kilpatrick and to have such a strong and consistent drum corps supporting the band,” Canning continued. “I know the hard work that lies ahead, but I can’t wait to get started. This will be a completely fresh start for Shotts & Dykehead, and anyone looking to join the band is more than welcome to get in contact with me. It’s going to be an exciting period ahead.”

Canning is the seventh pipe-major of Shotts since the 1930s. Previous leaders are Tom McAllister Sr., John K. McAllister, Tom McAllister Jr., Sandy Bell, Robert Mathieson and Walker. In the band’s 102-year history, Shotts has achieved 15 World Pipe Band Championships, 100 SPBA/RSPBA major championships, and 17 Champion of Champions titles. The band’s drum section under Kilpatrick has won 59 RSPBA drumming championships and 19 Champion of Champions titles.

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  1. Lawrie

    What a fantastic opportunity for a talent such as Ryan. Other comments here suggest a loss for FMM. Fair call indeed but they’ll move on. The only loss that FMM has to worry about is PM Parkes because he is that band. I have a feeling that, almost to a man, every piper is there to play for and under Richard. His retirement may well spark a mass exodus.

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