Dunedin hires MacNeill to take over drumming program
The City of Dunedin Pipe Band organization of Florida has announced that Eric MacNeill will take over its full-time Drumming Director position for all of its programs, encompassing six separate competing bands. He will also be the Leading-Drummer of the Grade 2 band, working with Pipe-Major Iain Donaldson.
MacNeill is currently a second-year corps drummer with the Grade 1 Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, and he was previously the Leading-Drummer of the now defunct Grade 2 Oran Mor. A native of New York and living there now, he will more to Dunedin at the end of August 2015, following the World Pipe Band Championship.
“When Iain first approached me about this, I was gearing up for a very busy summer of teaching and competing, but the more we spoke and the more I learned about the opportunity, it became clear that this was one of those moments not to pass up,” MacNeill said. “I’m very excited about working to develop the potential in the drumming down there. It’s certainly a big change of scenery for me, but sometimes change can lead to great things.”
The Dunedin program has expanded rapidly since Donaldson took it over in 2011, now with Middle School, High School, and adult bands. Although Dunedin High School had a band Donaldson succeeded the late Sandy Keith, who put the program on the map after moving to Florida from Hamilton, Ontario, in the 1990s. Donaldson also moved to Florida from New York, born and raised in Buffalo.
Under Donaldson, the group just completed a successful visit to the North American Championships at Maxville, Ontario, where the Grade 2 band finished fourth overall and the Grade 4 band placed first.
MacNeill is also past-president of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association.
In a statement, Donaldson said: “I am elated to have the talent of Eric MacNeill joining Dunedin’s Scottish Programs and Drum-Sergeant of the City of Dunedin Grade 2 Pipe Band. Eric’s ability to lead, infectious enthusiasm and style of drumming is a perfect fit for our organization. I look forward to his role in teaching the drumming community here in Florida.”
MacNeill replaces Tim Garren as Leading-Drummer of the Grade 2 band. It is not known if Garren will remain with the organization.