Wilton, Graham new Mac-Cal leaders
In a surprising new development, Grade 2 MacKenzie Caledonian of Dundee, Scotland, has confirmed that David Wilton is the band’s new pipe-major, and Steven Graham is now lead-drummer. Wilton succeeds Neil Nicholson, who stepped down after the 2018 season. Graham replaces Baz Brummage, who, like Nicholson, plans to stay with the band after this past year being the most successful in the band’s history.
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Wilton’s move follows his resignation from Lomond & Clyde, which he took from Grade 2 to Grade 1 after joining the band as pipe-major in 2016. Last year, Wilton and his wife, Clare Lynas, also a piper with the band, moved from Glasgow to Dundee, both to take employment opportunities teaching piping with the High School of Dundee and Angus area schools.
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In August, Lomond & Clyde announced that it would hold additional practices in Perth, midway between Glasgow and Dundee, to alleviate Wilton’s travelling, as well as potentially attracting players from the Perth and Angus areas.
Before committing more of his time to pipe bands, Wilton had enjoyed solid success as a top-tier solo piper, winning numerous high prizes around the games. He is also a seven-time World Champion Highland Dancer, retiring from competition in 2011.
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Steven Graham has an approximately 30-year history with pipe bands, including being a member of legendary drummer Jim Kilpatrick’s corps with Grade 1 Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia and, in 2016, Spirit of Scotland. A graduate of the RSAMD Scottish Music degree program, Graham lived in Australia for a few years, where he played in the Grade 1 Western Australia Police.
MacKenzie Caledonian is celebrating its hundredth anniversary this year, culminating on September 29 with a special dinner celebration in Dundee. The group enjoyed its best season yet in Grade 2, which included winning the grade at the European Championship at Forres, Scotland, in July. Though it qualified for the Grade 2 Final at the World Championships, it finished outside of the prize list.
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I had the privilege of being at Pipe Major Neil Nicholson’s table last night at the Mackenzie Caledonian Pipe Band Centenary Dinner last night where the formal announcement of the appointment of Pipe Major David Wilton and Lead Drummer Steven Graham was made. I wish them well with the band and know that they will enjoy working with a fantastic group of people and musicians.
The Centenary Dinner was a wonderful evening and was a fitting tribute to all who have been connected to the Dundee outfit with 175 people enjoying great entertainment and company. A huge thank you and well done to Stephen McRobbie who masterminded the whole event.
The dedication of the outgoing leadership team of Neil Nicholson, Alan Low and Barham Brummage is rivalled by only one man in the association, Former Lead Drummer and President Jim Mills, who has served the band tirelessly for 67 years.
The future of piping in the Dundee is looking good and I wish all in the MacKenzie Caledonian Pipe Band under Pipe Major Wilton great success in the forthcoming year and beyond!
Best wishes to all