March 15, 2007

Lightning bolt

The “10 Q’s With . . . Steven McWhirter” piece got me thinking. Steven seems mature beyond his 23 years, but winning a World Solo Drumming title at 23 must be something else. I wouldn’t really know.

Most people know that John D. Burgess won both Gold Medals at age 16, and he was even a legend before that happened. John Wilson (Glasgow) and Dr. John MacAskill were also in their teens when they copped one of the medals. More recently, the young Alastair Dunn picked off Aviemore gold last year.

But most people toil away at the big prizes never to actually win all of them. Some of the world’s most respected piobaireachd players – Jim McIntosh, Andrew Wright, and Jack Taylor, to name but three – never managed the Clasp, while others with a fraction of the knowledge gained the prize on the first try and became instant “authorities.”

The picture of McWhirter and Reid Maxwell forces me to think of the 20-odd years that Reid – clearly one of the greatest pipe band drummers of all-time – has not yet won the big solo prize, while his protégé got it after a few tries. But I’m certain there was no one happier for Steven than Reid himself.

My predictions: 1. McWhirter has many more World titles to come, and 2. his win opens the door to other fine young drummers being given the nod.




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