Drum champ Kilpatrick at centre of major furore at Shotts
THE global pipe band movement has been thrown into turmoil this week in a vitriolic row involving its greatest-ever competitive drummer - and a former Derry man.
Jim Kilpatrick, leading tip at Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia - and who just two months ago helped lead the band to triumph at the Worlds for the first time in a decade - has left the band.
But the question remains: was it by choice or was he usurped?
Shotts, now under the control of Derry-born former Field Marshal Montgomery second-in-command Ryan Canning, issued a statement on October 12 to say Kilpatrick was leaving the band by mutual consent, and would be replaced by Blair Brown.
But Kilpatrick, who has won a record 19 world drum corps championships and 16 world solo titles, later claimed he had been forced out, and he labelled the band's original statement as 'disingenuous'.
And it has since led to virtually all of the Shotts drum corps resigning, leaving the most successful and famous band in the world apparently in tatters.
Kilpatrick (59), who has led the band's drummers for 29 years, said: “I was removed from my position and the new leading drummer was appointed without any constitutional process involving the membership of the band.
“As a result of my removal, the vast majority of the Shotts drum corps took the decision to resign from the band.”
But Ryan Canning - who left FMM two years ago after winning six world titles with the Lisburn band - claims they had discussed a gradual transition in leadership, but Kilpatrick had instead decided to step down.
Kilpatrick, in turn, insists he was planning to retire at the end of next season, to coincide with his 30th year in charge and his 60th birthday.
"I was removed from my position and the new leading drummer was appointed without any constitutional process involving the membership of the band," claimed Kilpatrick, who developed his musical skills under renowned drummer Alex Duthart.
Kilpatrick was awarded an MBE for his services to music in 2004, in five years later he was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame.
Ryan Canning denied Kilpatrick was forced out, and said: “We had been looking forward to rolling out a year-long plan to celebrate Jim's final year, ensure that he was given a proper send-off from the band, and work together to ensure a smooth transition of the lead drumming role to Blair Brown.
“After a disagreement as to the terms of the transition, it quickly became clear that a smooth transition year would not be possible. I accepted Jim's resignation at a meeting with him and another band committee member held soon after.”