The latest in the off-season leading-drummer changes in the top grades is the Grade 1 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) appointing Jeremy Keddy to the corps leadership role, replacing 30-year incumbent David Danskin.
“It is with deep regret that the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Pipe Band has accepted the resignation of its Lead-Drummer Dave Danskin,” the band said in a statement to pipes|drums. “It is difficult to envisage him not on the field with us and we offer him nothing the best of good wishes going forward.”
Danskin had been with the band – then the Halifax Police – since 1984, after moving to Halifax from Kingston, Ontario, where he was leading-drummer of the Rob Roy Pipe Band. Danskin grew up in Maxville, Ontario, and played with the Glengarry Pipe Band.
At Halifax he saw the band move from a police-sponsored Grade 3 band to a Grade 1 group, first under Pipe-Major John Walsh, and then, when the band lost its sponsorship and became aligned with the Halifax Citadel historical group, under Pipe-Major Roderick MacLean in the renamed 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel).
Danskin has also served as the band’s president for the last few years, which have included those since 2012 with Pipe-Major Alex Gandy, who currently leads the band.
Jeremy Keddy joined the band this past season, and has previously been the Leading-Drummer of the Grade 1 Peel Regional Police. He has played with a number of other bands over the last 10 years, including the Grade 1 78th Fraser Highlanders of Ontario and the Grade 2 3 Dartmouth & District of Nova Scotia.
“Dave’s contribution to not only the corps but the entire organization over the past 30 years is incalculable,” MacLean said.
While the band said that Danskin’s departure was amicable, a source – who requested anonymity – close to the former leading-drummer said that he was “ousted.”
According to 78th Fraser Highlanders bass drummer Johnny Rowe, who played with Danskin for several years when he lived in Halifax and played with the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) and still keeps close ties with the band, “Dave and Geordie [Fowler, another snare drummer] were shown the door and several other drummers left in protest. In fact, from what I understand and who I spoke to, most of the other membership don’t even know fully how it all went down.”
Rowe claimed that Fowler had been the “heir-apparent” to take over the drum section. “He has a long history with that organization, has been playing for years. Basically, he was waiting in the wings for when Dave stepped down. At least four other drummers have already resigned due to Dave and Geordie being told they no longer have a place in the band.”
Another source within the band who spoke on condition that his/her name would not be used, said that the number of drummers who have left over the matter is six, “and that number could grow.”
The change was apparently made on September 13th. Dave Danskin has not responded to requests for comment.
The move follows several other leading-drummer changes, most recently by Grade 1 Dowco-Triumph Street and Grade 2 bands City of Regina and Bucksburn & District. Grade 1 Dysart & Dundonald earlier announced the resignation of Pipe-Major Greig Canning.