Source: Sherman Publications

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Local marches to the beat of a different drum in Scotland

by Susan Bromley

September 11, 2013

Even when struck in the head by a fish and chips sign, the band will play on.

Cameron Bolley, an 18-year-old Brandon Township resident, was playing his snare drum next to the bandmates who were hit by the sign in a gust of wind. One had a facial injury while the other suffered a concussion, and yet they continued on and the Dowco Triumph Street Pipeband eventually placed 10th in the World Pipe Band Championships Aug. 17-18, in Glasgow, Scotland.

"We competed against 30 bands, but they are the best in the world," explained Bolley, who adds that the band placed ninth in drumming.

Bolley began playing snare drum seven years ago at the age of 11 as a student in the Brandon School District. He became interested in pipe bands after seeing bagpipe drumming, which he said was more of a challenge than the school band. He graduated high school this year, but as a homeschooled student, and more reels. They combine the two scores and just give us a score and whoever has the highest score wins."

Field Marshal Montgomery of Northern Ireland won the overall competition.

This was Bolley's first trip to Scotland and he raised the funds for the trip himself, working in a pie factory. He described the country as "a lot different" than the U.S.

"The food is different and you can't really understand anybody with the accents," said Bolley, who is of Scottish descent himself. He adds that he angered a cab driver who was talking about a football (soccer) game between Scotland and England. "I said, 'Oh, that's not football, that doesn't start for a month,'" he laughed.

Bolley plans to continue his drumming, which he said the practice of which "drives his parents nuts." He is writing drum music and plans to play at the North American Solo Drumming Championships in Kansas City in January.

"It's a lot of fun doing this, a lot of hard work, and I've met a lot of great people along the way that helped me," he said.

since the commitment to traveling with the pipe band was too difficult with a traditional school schedule.

"I homeschooled to get to this level, because if you can get to a high enough level, you can get full-ride scholarships to college," said Bolley, who will attend either Alma College or Monmouth College in Illinois this January to study business or new media.

He has been a member of the Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band only since March, after his previous band collapsed in a leadership dispute. His new band has 24 bagpipe players, 12 snare drummers, six tenor drummers, and one bass drummer. The band is based in Vancouver, BC, but Bolley and two of his bandmates/teachers that live in St. Clair Shores, practice with the band via live stream online every weekend. Bolley is one of the youngest in the band as the ages range from 18 to about 45-years-old.

The band has participated in competitions from Vancouver to New York and played in Los Angeles over Memorial Day weekend. During competitions, they play a march, strathspey and reel (different from tempo selections), which can have several song selections to choose from (specific pieces of music).

"We do different combinations and they judge on whoever plays them the best," said Bolley, whose band competed against more than 200 bands overall, from 17 different countries. "We also had a medley that consists of marches, jigs, hornpipes