Donald Graham, 1959-2014

Published: July 15, 2014
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Donald Graham

The South African piping and drumming scene was saddened by the death of Donald Graham on July 13, 2014, at the age of 55.

Graham was a past President of the Pipe Band Association of South Africa and a long-time bass drummer and tenor drummer with several prominent bands, including the Southern Johannesburg Caledonian Society, Transvaal Scottish, Richmond Avenue and African Skye at various points in his career.

Born on June 8, 1959, Donald Graham had an intense passion for pipe bands in general and bass sections in particular. His innovation in terms of tones, multiple drums and technique were way ahead of their time and he inspired an entire fraternity. He learned drumming in the cadet band at Parktown Boys High School, and went on to the Southern Johannesburg Caledonian Society Pipe Band as a snare- and tenor-drummer, and then the Transvaal Scottish as a tenor drummer.

With the South African Irish in the 1980s Donald Graham experimented with playing multiple tenor drums with different tones, well before the current trend. He then served as the Leading-Drummer of the short-lived De La Salle Old Boys Pipe Band, and then played bas with Richmond Avenue for more than 20 years. He was a tenor drummer with African Skye before starting Sandton Scottish where he also played tenor.

In addition to a term as President, Donald Graham was a frequent member of the PBASA Executive Committee, and was a bass section adjudicator for the PBASA.

We extend our sympathies to Donald Graham’s family and many friends at this sad time.


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  1. Nick Taitz

    I joined the band he was the bass drummer for, Richmond Avenue Pipe Band, in 1995. He was a great character, a fine musician, and will be missed.

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