World Solo Drumming (updated comment and pix)

World Solo Drumming Champion, Steven McWhirter
World Solo Drumming Champion, Steven McWhirter, pictured this evening with his trophy

Steven McWhirter of Inveraray and District won his fifth World Solo title today at the championship held in Glasgow Caledonian University. His accompanist was his pipe major, Stuart Liddell.

Drummers play to selections: Hornpipe and Jig and March, Strathspey and Reel with the latter gaining more points.
Runner up to Steven was Michael McKenna from St Laurence O’Toole. Ireland (north and south) took three of the top places, Canada one, Denmark one and Scotland the other. The full list was:

1 Steven McWhirter, Inveraray & District (Stuart Liddell)
2 Michael McKenna, St Laurence O’Toole (Craig Munro)
3 Blair Brown, Shotts & Dykehead (Glen Brown)
4 Stephen Creighton, St Laurence O’Toole (Craig Munro)
5 Chris McNichol, Inveraray (Alastair McLaren)
6 Jake Jorgensen, Scottish Power (Alasdair Henderson)

Second and fourth placed Michael McKenna and Steven Creighton of St Laurence O'Toole PB, Dublin
Second and fourth placed Michael McKenna and Stephen Creighton of St Laurence O’Toole PB, Dublin

The contest was notable for the absence of former stalwarts Reid Maxwell of SFU and former multiple winner of the title, Barry Wilson. Both have retired from solo competition. Reid’s son Grant made the final – an achievement in itself.

Also missing was former winner Gordon Brown of Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia who is unwell. We wish Gordon a speedy recovery.

A total of 200 drummers, side and tenor, took part in the event sponsored by Andante Percussion. Nigel Hodgen of Andante confirmed that his firm would once more sponsor the competition in 2015.


Robert Wallace writes: As is my perhaps not unnatural wont, I always pay particular attention to the piping at the WSD. The standard of support accompaniment in the Adult Final MSR was outstanding, and anyone who thinks good piping has no bearing on how the drummer plays is misguided in my view. Steven McWhirter has in the past praised the contribution Stuart Liddell makes to his delivery and his confidence and it was no exception this year I am sure. As would be expected Stuart was imperious with a fine drone sound. Not a slip. Not far behind Stuart was Greig Wilson from Fife who played for Reid Maxwell’s son Grant. Greig had a lovely pipe and very clear, clean technique. Craig Munro did well too playing for Stephen Creighton of SLoT, and right up there was Alasdair Henderson playing for Jake Jorgensen. Lovely technique from Alasdair. And let’s not forget Glenn Brown whose pipe and playing was as good as anyone’s.
It was noticeable how many of the pipers struggled with their birls (none of the above). I thought that it may have been  caused by gouged out low A holes but I don’t know. Overall, all the pipers played to a high standard with good solo instruments. Just what was needed.



Drumming judge Joe Noble commented on the overal standard: ‘The Hornpipe & Jig has a lower points ratio by comparison with the March, Strathspey and Reel. I think most people would agree that the MSR is a longer and more complex art form and therefore is worth more than the H&J. Once the judges have completed their deliberations all of the individual results are put into the computer and we get the winner. I judged the Hornpipe & Jig and it was wonderful to see so many young lads coming through, many of them playing for the first time in the final – and there would have been even more who played in the semi-final. It is the way of all things. Time moves on and a number of regulars of past years such as Reid Maxwell and Barry Wilson have retired.

‘All the new lads gave a very good account of themselves. Remember this is the creme-de-la-creme. As I said, I judged the Hornpipe and Jig and I must say it was the best H&J competition I have ever heard. It would be going too far to say it was impossible to adjudicate, that would risk of putting myself out of a job!, but it was a tremendously high quality competition. I didn’t hear all the MSR contest, but from what I did hear that was a similarly high level with some scintillating performances.

Get full results here.

All the winners pose with sponsor Nigel hodgen of sponsors Andante Percussion and RSPBA President George Ussher
All the winners pose with sponsor Nigel Hodgen of sponsors Andante Percussion and RSPBA President George Ussher