Pipe Band Digest

McWhirter joins elite band after five-in-a-row drum crown

World drumming champion Steven McWhirter

BALLYMENA-born Steven McWhirter has joined a unique body of just five people to have garnered an incredible FIVE successive world solo drumming titles.

The leading tip of Inveraray & District, who once wore the famous Ancient Red McPherson tartan of Cullybackey, has remained unbeaten in the senior section of the Andante-backed world solos since 2011.

It was his sixth global percussion prize in all, with the 2011-15 sequence of successes adding to the crown he clinched in 2006.

A native of Ballymena (he currently lives in Glasgow with his wife Grace and son Harry), he is a full time drumming instructor with the Edinburgh Academy & High School of Glasgow Pipe Bands.

Since he took over the leadership of the Inveraray its drum corps has steadily risen to become one of the top ensembles in the world, and on the solo front McWhirter - who was initially also taught by Adrian Hoy when he joined Cullybackey in 1993 as a 10-year-old - has had no peers this decade.

Steven won the event by 10 points, topping both the MSR and hornpipe/jig events with five first places from a possible six. It was some performance.

Runner-up yet again was Michael McKenna of St Laurence O'Toole, with Jake Joergensen (Scottish Power) finishing third.

There were a number of other Irish successes, with Matthew Wenlock (Cullybackey) clinching his third world title in the juvenile five MSR section, Tullylagan's Richard Black emerging in the juvenile four MSR and Josh Horan (Carrigaline) triumphing in juvenile two march event. Main results:

:: Senior - 1 Steven McWhirter (Inveraray & District), 2 Michael McKenna (St Laurence O'Toole), 3 Jake Joergensen (Scottish Power), 4 Blair Brown (Shotts & Dykehead), 5 Stephen Creighton (St Laurence O'Toole), 6 Eric Ward (Greater Glasgow Police).

:: Juvenile 5 - 1 Matthew Wenlock (Cullybackey), 2 Ryan Martin (Cullybackey), 3 Daniel Luby (Scottish Power), 4 Eoin Rogers (St Laurence O'Toole), 5 Nathan McLeister (Cullybackey), 6 Chris Paton (George Heriot's School).

:: Juvenile 4 - Richard Black (Tullylagan), Rory Power (Dollar Academy), 3 Reed Cameron (Boghall & Bathgate), 4 John McLean (PSNI), 5 Blair Logan (Preston Lodge High School), 6 Charley Rafferty (Preston Lodge).

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