McWhirter chasing down 10th World Solo Drumming title
Nine-time total winner Steven McWhirter will go for his ninth consecutive World Solo Drumming Championship on Saturday, October 19, at Glasgow Caledonian University, by far the biggest event of the year specifically for pipe band drumming.
With each victory, 2019 World Champions Inveraray & District Lead-Drummer McWhirter gets realistically closer to matching the astounding success of Jim Kilpatrick, who captured the prize a record 16 times during his more than 40 years as a competitor. McWhirter’s eight consecutive victories are already a record.
Some 35 of the world’s elite pipe band snare drummers are entered for the RSPBA-run competition, most of them faced with surviving two grueling rounds to get to the 12-player final, which in itself comprises an MSR and a Hornpipe & Jig event to determine the overall winner.
In 2018, the association introduced designated qualifying competitions, the winner of each getting a bye to the second-round of the World Solos. Some 19 drummers have pre-qualified, and, even if a contestant had gained a prize at the previous year’s World Solos, he or she still has to go though the qualifying process.
And no exceptions include nine-time and 2018 champion McWhirter.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “As always it’ll be an extremely tough competition with some of the toughest heats I’ve seen in recent years. Thankfully, I made the journey to New York to pre-qualify at the Metro Cup qualifier to avoid the morning heat stages.”
McWhirter is in the first section of Heat 2 and has drawn last to play as he works to qualify for the final.
The entry includes a field as multi-national as ever, if not more, with players flying in from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, as well as closer countries like Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The judging panel is similarly diverse, with Greg Dinsdale and Duncan Millar paying their own way in from Canada and the United States, respectively.
The event also features the World Solo Juvenile Championships, where some 90 young contestants are entered in a complicated array of categories and events. An International Juvenile Solo Tenor Drumming Competition will also be staged on the day.
Despite each competitor paying as much as £15 to enter and a variety of sponsors, last year’s prize money for senior-level competitors was zero. There is no indication from the RSPBA that that has changed.
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