After 21 years with the Strathclyde/Greater Glasgow Police Pipe Band, drumming great Eric Ward is no longer the leading-drummer.
The band has officially commenced a search for his replacement. At publication time, it was not known whether Ward stepped down, and Ward and Pipe-Major Iain MacPherson had not yet responded to questions.
In a media statement, MacPherson said, “The band recognizes with gratitude his massive contribution over the last 21 years, which has been a key factor in the band’s success over that period. His is, without doubt, a legendary name in pipe band drumming and his very high standards of rudimentation and musical interpretation have been widely acclaimed for many years.”
Ward is a famous figure in the pipe band world. Under his watch, the Greater Glasgow Police were regularly in the upper echelon of drumming, but not generally considered a consistent threat to take drumming titles this year. Under Ward in 2016, the band’s highest finish in drumming was fifth at each of the UK and British Championships, and was overall eighth in drumming at the World’s.
The 2016 season was in contrast to a highly successful 2015 campaign, when Ward led the drum section to titles at both the British and UK Championships to start the year.
Ward had been a constant in the band through several periods of change, including no fewer than four pipe-majors, the change of name from Strathclyde Police to Greater Glasgow Police Scotland and the reported near-collapse of the band due to reorganization and budget cuts within the Scottish police system. The most recent major change was the appointment of MacPherson to pipe-major after the 2015 season.
Although he never managed to win a World Solo Drumming title, Ward was consistently in the top-tier and considered one of the pipe band greats, his roots with the legendary Alex Duthart’s Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia corps of the 1970s and early-’80s.
The band is actively encouraging applicants from those interested and qualified to take the lead-drummer spot, and ask that they respond by email with their credentials. The application process will go until noon, Friday, September 23rd.
Here’s a video from the pipes|drums YouTube Channel of performances by Eric Ward and then-Pipe-Major Duncan Nicholson at the 2014 Pipes+Drums Recital of Grade 1 pipe-majors and leading-drummers at the Piping Live! Glasgow International Festival of Piping.
Stay tuned for more details on this story as they emerge.