World Solo Drumming Preview and New Events at Balmoral Classic

World Solo Drumming & International Juvenile Tenor Solo Competition…
Choking on his Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, MacStig was taken aback by the sheer volume of entrants for the Adult snare qualifiers as reported on PP.

The conclusion must be that snare drumming is in great health and the increased numbers in snare lines in the upper grades (10-12 is now normal), is well reflected in the sheer scale of entries for 2017.

It goes even further than that though, with the ‘pre-qualified’ drummers already lined up  in the semi finals – if you were a finalist last year, you are already named in one of the two the semi finals. If you won one of the relatively new regional qualifiers, you are already in too. Those are already 19 top-notch drummers.

The arithmetic of it means that the 50 or so in the heats are chasing 18 available places in the semi finals, to join those already on the roster. Within that ’50’ are historical past finalists too, so the odds of making the semi final from three big qualifiers are small.

Multiple World Solo Drumming Champion Steven McWhirter of Inveraray & District will be defending his title and aiming to cap a wonderful year for himself and his band. Last August Steven won the Grade 1 Corps Championship at the Worlds and his band were crowned Grade 1 World Champions
From those 37 semi finalists will emerge 12 finalists, who go through both March Strathspey & Reel and Hornpipe & Jig for a wider judging panel (four judges for each element).
A brief word on judging – there are many of them and they will be scattered over dozens of performances throughout the day. The management of that roster and arriving at the eight who will judge the blue ribbon final is a feat in itself. There are some former World Solo Champions on the bench of course. Also noted is Mr Joe Noble, one such former winner, who will take a seat as one of four to judge the H&J final, having retired as an Adjudicator for band competitions post the Worlds in August.
Many overseas arrivals are expected in Glasgow during the week, and we should warmly welcome competitors from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA across all the grades. A great effort in making the trip, incurring the expense and having a go.
Briefly looking into the Juvenile categories, there are plenty of overseas players and Grade 1 band names mentioned in these under 18, and lower, age groups too – again pointing to the burgeoning teaching programmes and development of young talent in the very top grades. For instance, in top Juvenile section, ‘5 MSR’, 16 of the 21 players are with Grade 1 bands.
Over in the Tenor solo competition, a very healthy field of entrants, approaching 50 or so Juvenile drummers, at different stages in their drumming careers.
A final word for the myriad of pipers who will be standing side by side to their drumming colleagues throughout the week, and on the day itself. The unsung heroes of the event of course. No pressure on them? Not a word of it, they have to be absolutely on the money.

We’ll have a report on the Championships in due course. Over and out.

• The World Solo Drumming takes place at Glasgow Caledonian University on Saturday, October 21 from 9am. The picture up top is of Craig Munro of Wallace Bagpipes playing for Grant Cassidy of St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band, Dublin.

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The promoters of the Balmoral Classic weekend in the US have sent this: Two new events have been added to the 2017 Balmoral Classic schedule, to be held in Pittsburgh, USA, on the weekend of November 17-19. In an effort to attract more young drummers to the pipe band world, the Balmoral Classic will host its first ever Novice Snare Drumming Competition, for entrants 21 years of age or younger.  APPLY BY OCTOBER 17 at:

On the following day, Sunday, November 19, from 10am to noon, the Balmoral School will offer a free workshop for pipers on the Silver Medal tunes, with Dr. Jack Taylor of St. Andrews, Scotland. Dr. Taylor is a winner of the Braemar Gold Medal, the Gold Medal in Inverness, the Gillies Cup and the Silver Chanter. He is president of the Piobaireachd Society of Scotland and is a senior judge for Piobaireachd.

Dr Jack Taylor will conduct a class in the 2018 Silver Medal tunes

Highlights of the Balmoral Classic weekend include a Friday night reception, the US Junior Solo Bagpiping and Solo Snare Drumming Championships on Saturday, and a Saturday night concert featuring Alasdair Fraser, long regarded as Scotland’s premier fiddle ambassador, and brilliant Californian cellist Natalie Haas. For additional information about the weekend events, please visit our website at

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2 thoughts on “World Solo Drumming Preview and New Events at Balmoral Classic

  1. A wee inaccuracy in the Balmoral Classic Silver Medal workshop information. Jack Taylor has not won the Braemar Gold Medal. He was 2nd twice though.

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