Published: January 31, 2005

Tom Weir, New Zealand

Sadly, on the evening of January 21, 2005, Tom Weir passed away after a short illness, leaving his wife Nan and three children.

Tom started drumming in Glasgow in the late 1940s playing with the Kenmure Park Pipe Band. On November 19, 1955, Tom sat and successfully passed the Scottish Pipe Band Association’s Drumming Advanced Certificate.

I first met Tom in 1956 when I was living in Glasgow. I was attending the SPBA weekend Drumming College in Otago Street, where Tom was a snare drumming instructor. He was later to become Leading-Drummer of the Grade 1 Clan Fraser Pipe Band in Glasgow. Tom took a particular interest in bass drumming as well, and is credited during his tenure with Clan Fraser with being awarded the Best Bass Drummer prize at Cowal, then the World Championships.

A few years later Tom immigrated to New Zealand where he settled in the Hutt district, near Wellington. Here he was in constant demand to tutor drum corps and assist the band movement. With his employment Tom and his family moved and settled in Templeton, Christchurch, where he lived until he passed away. It was in Templeton that he developed a long association with the St. Andrews College Pipes and Drums. He was drumming tutor there for many years.

During the 1980s Tom decided to experiment with innovations for tenor and bass drumming. He published a tutor book, which included a notation system indicating up-strokes and down-strokes. Many times Tom was involved as bass/tenor instructor at pipe band workshops conducted through New Zealand by the Royal New Zealand Pipe Band Association.

A keen drumming historian, Tom’s many articles were published in pipe band association magazines in New Zealand, Australia, Scotland and North America. Though not a piper, Tom had a great musical understanding. He composed a number of pipe tunes, some played by the many New Zealand bands with which he was involved.

A great supporter of the pipe band movement, he will be sadly missed.

– Submitted by Allan Chatto, Australia

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