Shotts-Kilpatrick story continues: band offers an apology
Before you start reading, I apologise for the length of this message. It certainly is not a work of classic literature or even a carefully worded statement. It is simply my thoughts as I sit here at 3am trying to come to terms with what has happened and the world I see around me right now.
When I assumed the role of Pipe-Major in August 2012, Jim Kilpatrick made me all the guarantees a new P-M could wish to hear, insisting that I will have full control over all aspects of the band, that he will play what I want, how I want, and when I want it. He also stated that he would continue as leading-drummer for as long as I wanted but that if I ever wanted to “bring in my own people” he would willingly step aside. Everything was exactly what I wanted to hear and although I knew that Jim’s playing days would in all probability come to an end prior to mine given our age difference, I had no thought as to when that may be. My job at that stage was simple – to get the band back on the right track again. This was a huge challenge given that the band wasn’t able to compete at the World Championships in 2012 primarily due to not having a Pipe-Major and that most of the piping personnel had already departed. Since that time, huge amounts of hard work went in by the entire band and the result as everyone will know, led us to the World title in 2015.
In the past two seasons, whilst working hard towards a common goal I will admit that I started to think what the next step for the band would be, given that it appeared Jim was approaching the end of his competitive life. I am close friends with a number of top drummers and admittedly spent time thinking to myself as to who the best successor for Jim may be. I considered many people in my mind and even if I knew some names where highly unlikely, I owed it to the band and our members to consider every option. For me, when I weighed up all the variables including age, experience, track record both in bands and in solos, teaching experience and just as importantly, management style and ease of communication with myself, my decision was that Blair Brown is who I wanted to work with next, whenever Jim’s time was done. Of course I was aware that when appointing any person to any major role, there is no guarantee of success. Just as there was no guarantee of success when Jim asked me to become P-M of Shotts during a phone call in 2012.