Balmoral School Guest Drumming Instructors/ Donald MacDonald Cuach

This summer, the Balmoral School of Piping & Drumming will come to you online with a wider variety of drumming classes and more one-on-one tutoring for snare, tenor and bass drummers, writes Elaine Lee. Guest drumming instructors will be Jim Kilpatrick MBE and Ed Best.

Jim has won a record 19 World Drum Corps and World Pipe Band Championships with Shotts & Dykehead, 15 of these as leading drummer. This includes winning the World Drum Corps Championship 11 years in a row, 1988-1998. As a solo drummer, Jim won the World Solo Drumming Championship 16 times.

He is the only leading drummer ever to win the ‘grand slam’ all five major drum corps championships in one season, 1991. This run coincided with him winning 10 major drumming championships in a row over three seasons, 1990-1992.

In 2004, Jim was awarded the MBE for his services to music. He was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame in 2009, making him the first pipe band drummer to receive such recognition.

Ed Best is a qualified, professional educator with over 30 years of successful pipe band experience and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. He’s held many band and solo titles including North American Champion, East Coast Champion Supreme, Ontario Champion Supreme, West Coast Champion of Champions, and Canadian Champion. Ed spent 10 years as a School Music Teacher in all grades to university level.

He has competed in, and placed at, the World Pipe Band Championships in many grades up to and including Grade I. He is an active adjudicator at Highland Games throughout the US, is an “A” panel drumming & ensemble judge in the WUSPBA, and a drumming judge in the EUSPBA. He serves on the Music Board of WUSPBA, where his primary functions are grading of bands & soloists and Adjudicator training/education and certification.

The fee for the weeklong session is $375.00 USD. Refer new students and you’ll receive $50 off the price of the session for each new student who attends, or bring at least four members of your band and each band member will receive $50 off the price.

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Donald MacDonald Cuach competition moves online for 2021 

The Clan Donald Lands Trust’s annual competition for the Donald MacDonald Cuach will be held online this year for the first time in its 35-year history. Convenor Dr Angus MacDonald will host the event live from Armadale Castle, Isle of Skye, accompanied by adjudicator Dr Jack Taylor. The live broadcast will be combined with filmed performances from the five competitors and streamed on Facebook at 7pm on Friday 11 June. 

Dr MacDonald commented: ‘Having cancelled the 2021 competition we were determined to find to way to run it this year.’

2021 ompetitors and tunes: 

• Stuart Liddell – Moladh Morag (In Praise of Morag) 
• Callum Beaumont – Cumha Mhic a h-Arasaig (MacKintosh’s Lament) 
• Andrew Hayes – Piobaireachd Cheann Deise (The Earl of Ross’s March) 
• Finlay Johnston – Cumha an Aona Mhic (The Lament for the only Son) 
• Glenn Brown – Failt a Bhodaich (The Duke of Argyll’s Salute) 

The event is free and will be streamed on the Armadale Castle Facebook page. It will also be viewable after the event on Facebook and Vimeo. More information: 

2019 winner Glenn Brown is presented with the Cuach by clan chief Godfrey, Lord Macdonald 

Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum of the Isles is a Visit Scotland 5 Star visitor attraction in Sleat, south Skye. The castle ruin, historic gardens and award-winning Museum sit at the heart of a 20,000 acre estate that was once part of the traditional lands of Clan Donald. The estate is now run by Clan Donald Lands Trust, a Scottish Registered Charity whose mission is to promote understanding and appreciation of the history and traditions of Clan Donald, the Lordship of the Isles and the Highlands & Islands.

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