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Traditional Music student Kerr McQuillan wins top international drumming award

A traditional music student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has taken the top prize at an international drumming competition – the first time competing in the event.

Third year Kerr McQuillan won the 2023 World Pipe Band Snare Drumming Championship and staged by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association and Glasgow Life.

Kerr, of Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band, clinched the title, considered to be the biggest prize in individual pipe band drumming. It comes after Kerr won the World Pipe Band Championship and the UK Championship earlier this year in his first season as leading drummer of Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia.

Another RCS snare drum student, first year Robert Pate, took second place in the championships for under 18s.

Professor Joshua Dickson, Head of Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “RCS’s department of Traditional Music has a long and proud history of supporting the talents and aspirations of tomorrow’s great pipe band snare drummers, and Kerr McQuillan, 2023 World Solo Drumming Champion, has already proven himself a phenomenal force – not tomorrow, but today.

“He wears his exceptional talent lightly: unfailingly polite and constructive, underneath the easy-going exterior of this young man is an uncommon diligence and grit. Similarly, we are very proud of Robbie Pate, whose recent placing in the highly competitive under-18 category of the 2023 World Solo Drumming Championships is a fantastic achievement and a sure sign of great things to come.

“Kerr’s and Robbie’s tutor, David Henderson, deserves particular credit for his fine mentorship as he nurtures the next generation of innovators in the pipe band snare drumming scene.”

David Henderson, snare drum instructor at RCS, said: “This is an outstanding achievement. For Kerr to win this title in his first year in the adult grade and at the age of 19 (a record in itself, I believe!) is nothing short of remarkable. The title has been in the hands of the same person for the last ten years, so for Kerr to achieve this is exceptional.”

Watch: Kerr is interviewed by Pipes|Drums magazine


Visit the website to find out more about studying on the BMus Traditional Music programme at RCS

Main image © Chris Coates