The addition in August 2015 of Eric MacNeill as the full-time Director of Drumming for the pipe band programs in Dunedin, Florida, appears to be taking positive effect as the non-profit Dunedin Scottish Arts Foundation has announced its first Amateur Piping & Drumming Invitational Competition and Workshop, February 10-12, 2017.
“While there are currently similar events for pipers in the Nicol-Brown and Sherriff Memorial competitions, this is the first event of its kind for snare drumming,” said MacNeill, who is coordinating the weekend events.
While the growth of piping has been strong in Dunedin, starting with the efforts of the late Sandy Keith and continuing with the work of Iain Donaldson since 2011, drumming has relatively lagged. The addition of MacNeill, the former leading-drummer of the Grade 1 Oran Mor and a member of the Grade 1 Simon Fraser University
The amateur piping and drumming competitions will comprise top North American players, followed by a workshop and recital with piping and drumming legends Jack Lee and Steven McWhirter, among other instructors.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jack and Steven to Dunedin for this event,” said MacNeill, who is coordinating this event. “It’s a great opportunity for the area to have these guys coming down to teach, as well as adjudicate the invitational piping and drumming contests. I am really excited about the invitational contests and positive impact events like this can have on the development of solo piping and drumming.”
The Dunedin Scottish Arts Foundation also organizes the annual Dunedin Celtic Music & Craft Beer Festival and the Dunedin Highland Games, and is the fundraising arm of the City of Dunedin Pipe Band organization, which Donaldson leads. The organization’s top band won the Grade 2 event at the 2016 North American Championships at Maxville, Ontario.