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#44: Neil Birkett

History Series:

Neil didn’t start out as a drummer. In fact, he started learning to play the bagpipes first when he was nine, and played for a couple of years. At that time his father was a piper in the Deep River Legion Pipe Band and introduced him to piping as a kid. After a few twists and turns, he told his father that he would rather play the snare drum than bagpipes. His father took it well, and suggested he ask Dave Christie, a drummer in the Legion Pipe Band,

for a few pointers. Every other week, Dave taught him a few more rudiments and drumming techniques. Dave had received some training from John Kerr and Neil was amazed at how smoothly Dave played. For some reason Dave was unable to play in the band after a short stint, so Neil became the lead tip. There was only one other snare drummer, Jim Sneddon, an older Scottish gentleman who only recently started

to play snare, and he gladly let Neil take the lead.


Thank you to Wendy McGillivray for writing this story and Graeme Ogilvie for editing!


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