PP Ed’s Blog: Andrew Bonar Appreciation/ World Drumming/ Florida Academy/ Juvenile Contests

Robert MacNeill, SFU band manager and President of the British Columbia Pipers’ Association, has been in touch to inform us of an evening to celebrate the life of Andrew Bonar who died so tragically this week.

Robert says: ‘Thank you for your article on Andrew Bonar’s passing. Your inclusion of the thoughts of Terry Lee was very insightful on how Boney was such a magician with music.

‘I remember him asking me many years ago when he was working on perfecting his opposite hand playing technique whether he could enter Grade 5 Piping events (the first grade in BCPA for competitions on bagpipes) if he played on the opposite hands!

‘I thought you and Piping Press readers would be interested in the Celebration of Life for Andrew. The link to the details on his Celebration of Life is here.’



Andrew Elliot, lead tenor of the bass and tenor section of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, has joined the roster of teachers at the forthcoming South Florida Pipe & Drum Academy to be held in Fort Lauderdale Feb 26 – March 2.

Noah Morrisette, organiser of the Academy said: ‘Andrew is a multiple time Canadian, U.S, and North American solo tenor and bass drumming champion, a five time MHAF Gold Medal winner, and the only person to have won the Gold Medal in both tenor and bass drumming. As a bandsman, Andrew is a three-time World Champion as a member of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band.

Florida bound….Andrew Elliot

‘Along with having major success in both bands and solos, he is also a certified bass and tenor judge with the PPBSO. Andrew is one of the most sought after tenor and bass drum instructors in the world, conducting workshops across North America, the U.K, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Andrew is also the owner of Ace Percussion, the world leader in custom tenor drum mallets.

‘Andrew is an extraordinary tenor/bass instructor, with a resumé that cannot be beat. Andrew will be huge benefit to the school given the interest in the bass and tenor class.’

Writing on his Facebook page Andrew states: ‘Interested in learning to tenor drum? Ask an EXPERIENCED TENOR drummer. I watch these tenor drumming ‘tutorials that snare drummers or beginner tenor drummers post online and while some of it can be helpful, the majority of it is just spreading misinformation and bad technique. With Skype, FaceTime etc. it’s so easy to gain access to an experienced tenor drummer who is an expert in their field. I can pick up snare sticks and play a mean Maggie Cameron, but I don’t offer snare drumming lessons.

‘Why? Because I’m not an expert. It’s nice to see people trying to help, but personally, I think it’s a crime to charge for lessons in a subject that you aren’t an expert in. No, this is not an ad for Ace Instruction. It’s an Ad for promoting tenor drumming, and progressing our art form. That’s all I have to say about that.’

Andrew is clearly a young man who means business and we are delighted to have him join us in Florida.


Still with drumming, Ian Embelton, RSPBA Chief Executive: ‘We are delighted to announce that once again Glasgow Life will be live streaming the World Solo Drumming Adult Final.

‘Coverage will begin at 13:30 on Saturday 21st October and you can find the live stream on The Worlds website.

‘The RSPBA will also be recording the Juvenile 5 Final for broadcast on our YouTube Channel after the event, for more details when that’s available and to see all our 2017 Championship content considering subscribing to our YouTube Channel.’

Pipers might like to tune in to all or part of the stream or better still go along to Glasgow Caledonian University to hear things first hand. I enjoy listening to a lot of the accompaniment from so many top pipe majors. And as MacStig said in his preview a few days ago how the piper plays can have a big impact on the result.

If you are through in the east then you might like enjoy a sojourn to the Army School of Piping at Inchdrewer House, Colinton Road, Edinburgh, where the Scots Guards Association are holding their annual juvenile contest. A similar event with a large entry is taking place at the same time at Ardrossan Academy where the Festival of Juvenile Solo Piping will be held. As ever, support these junior contests if you can.


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