Shotts & Dykehead

Shotts-1913-300x212Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band is one of the most successful and celebrated pipe bands in history. 16-time winners of the RSPBA World Pipe Band Championships, Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia has been an institution in the pipe band world for over a century. The band is led by Pipe Major Ryan Canning and Drum Major Andrew Lawson, and in its 105 year history has won 100 RSPBA Major championships and 17 Champion of Champions titles. Shotts has also celebrated 103 RSPBA Major Drum Corps prizes and 19 RSPBA Best Drum Corps Champion of Champions awards. The band is based in the town of Shotts in the central belt of Scotland, and draws its membership from across the country as well as attracting members from around the world.

Shotts-1913-300x212Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band is one of the most successful and celebrated pipe bands in history. 16-time winners of the RSPBA World Pipe Band Championships, Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia has been an institution in the pipe band world for over a century. The band is led by Pipe Major Ryan Canning and Drum Major Andrew Lawson, and in its 105 year history has won 100 RSPBA Major championships and 17 Champion of Champions titles. Shotts has also celebrated 103 RSPBA Major Drum Corps prizes and 19 RSPBA Best Drum Corps Champion of Champions awards. The band is based in the town of Shotts in the central belt of Scotland, and draws its membership from across the country as well as attracting members from around the world.

Shotts-1948d-227x300-1Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia was founded in 1910 under the leadership of Pipe Major Dugald MacFarlane. The band formed under very humble circumstances and practiced in the kitchen of Dugald’s home, a room and kitchen in a miner’s row known as a ‘But and Ben’. Within 4 years they had purchased their first uniform and diligently competed in every competition, unfortunately without any significant achievements to reward their efforts. Dugald led the band for over a decade, and while the historic details are scarce, it is believed the band was additionally led by two interim pipe majors (a P/M Wilson, and one unknown) before Pipe Major Tom McAllister Senior took charge in 1929. Tom McAllister was originally from around Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, but his family moved to Scotland and he married a local girl from Shotts. Within 6 years Tom led the band to win the Grade 2 World Pipe Band Championship in 1935. The band was upgraded to Grade 1 the following year, and won their first major championship in the premier grade on their first attempt at the British Pipe Band Championships in 1936. When competitions resumed after the Second World War, Tom led Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia to win its first World Pipe Band Championship in 1948 and again in 1952, and in his tenure secured 21 major championships, resulting in his being awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to music and piping in Scotland.

Shotts-1948d-227x300-1Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia was founded in 1910 under the leadership of Pipe Major Dugald MacFarlane. The band formed under very humble circumstances and practiced in the kitchen of Dugald’s home, a room and kitchen in a miner’s row known as a ‘But and Ben’. Within 4 years they had purchased their first uniform and diligently competed in every competition, unfortunately without any significant achievements to reward their efforts. Dugald led the band for over a decade, and while the historic details are scarce, it is believed the band was additionally led by two interim pipe majors (a P/M Wilson, and one unknown) before Pipe Major Tom McAllister Senior took charge in 1929. Tom McAllister was originally from around Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, but his family moved to Scotland and he married a local girl from Shotts. Within 6 years Tom led the band to win the Grade 2 World Pipe Band Championship in 1935. The band was upgraded to Grade 1 the following year, and won their first major championship in the premier grade on their first attempt at the British Pipe Band Championships in 1936. When competitions resumed after the Second World War, Tom led Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia to win its first World Pipe Band Championship in 1948 and again in 1952, and in his tenure secured 21 major championships, resulting in his being awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to music and piping in Scotland.

Shotts-1958a-300x221Although Tom retired from his position in 1954, the McAllister legacy was carried forward by the involvement of his sons John, Willie and Tom Junior. John Kerr McAllister was the first to succeed his father as Pipe Major, and was supported by Drum Major Alex Duthart, who to this day is still considered by many to be the founding father of modern pipe band snare drumming. Together J.K. McAllister and Alex Duthart worked to bring yet more success to the Shotts band, including setting the record at that time for winning four World Championships in a row between 1957 and 1960, and also being the first band ever to win the ‘Grand Slam’ in 1959, the year before the Champion of Champions award was created. In 1963 the band went through a difficult patch when a number of pipers and drummers left the band, including Alex Duthart. J.K. appointed Drum Major Willie Stevenson, and together they worked to rebuild the band during the 1964 season, resuming competitions the following year. During his tenure, Pipe Major J.K. McAllister won 26 major championships, including 4 World Championship titles and 4 Champion of Champions awards.

Shotts-1958a-300x221Although Tom retired from his position in 1954, the McAllister legacy was carried forward by the involvement of his sons John, Willie and Tom Junior. John Kerr McAllister was the first to succeed his father as Pipe Major, and was supported by Drum Major Alex Duthart, who to this day is still considered by many to be the founding father of modern pipe band snare drumming. Together J.K. McAllister and Alex Duthart worked to bring yet more success to the Shotts band, including setting the record at that time for winning four World Championships in a row between 1957 and 1960, and also being the first band ever to win the ‘Grand Slam’ in 1959, the year before the Champion of Champions award was created. In 1963 the band went through a difficult patch when a number of pipers and drummers left the band, including Alex Duthart. J.K. appointed Drum Major Willie Stevenson, and together they worked to rebuild the band during the 1964 season, resuming competitions the following year. During his tenure, Pipe Major J.K. McAllister won 26 major championships, including 4 World Championship titles and 4 Champion of Champions awards.

Shotts-1980cc-240x300In 1968, Pipe Major J.K. McAllister retired from his position and was succeeded by his younger brother Tom McAllister Junior. Tom continued the band on its winning path, and was aided by the return of Alex Duthart in 1970 at the invitation of Drum Major Stevenson, after his win of the Best Drum Corps award at the World Pipe Band Championship in 1969. Tom and Alex led the band in partnership for a further 12 years before Alex left in 1982, and Tom eventually retired two years later. During his tenure as Pipe Major, Tom added a further 23 major championship wins to the band’s legacy, including four more World Pipe Band Championship titles, and another four Champion of Champions awards. Alex spent a total of 29 years as leading drummer of Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia, broken up only by his four year hiatus from the band in the mid-1960s. At the end of 1984, Pipe Major Tom McAllister Junior was forced to retire due to ill health, and was succeeded by Pipe Major James A. Bell (known best as Sandy Bell, still on the band’s committee to this day) who led the band for two years. Alex Duthart was succeeded by Drum Major John Scullion in 1982, who led the drum corps to win the Best Drum Corps prize at the World Championships in 1984, followed by the appointment of Drum Major Arthur Cook, who took up the position for the 1986 season.

Shotts-1980cc-240x300In 1968, Pipe Major J.K. McAllister retired from his position and was succeeded by his younger brother Tom McAllister Junior. Tom continued the band on its winning path, and was aided by the return of Alex Duthart in 1970 at the invitation of Drum Major Stevenson, after his win of the Best Drum Corps award at the World Pipe Band Championship in 1969. Tom and Alex led the band in partnership for a further 12 years before Alex left in 1982, and Tom eventually retired two years later. During his tenure as Pipe Major, Tom added a further 23 major championship wins to the band’s legacy, including four more World Pipe Band Championship titles, and another four Champion of Champions awards. Alex spent a total of 29 years as leading drummer of Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia, broken up only by his four year hiatus from the band in the mid-1960s. At the end of 1984, Pipe Major Tom McAllister Junior was forced to retire due to ill health, and was succeeded by Pipe Major James A. Bell (known best as Sandy Bell, still on the band’s committee to this day) who led the band for two years. Alex Duthart was succeeded by Drum Major John Scullion in 1982, who led the drum corps to win the Best Drum Corps prize at the World Championships in 1984, followed by the appointment of Drum Major Arthur Cook, who took up the position for the 1986 season.

Shotts-1994f-213x300At the end of 1986, two former members of the band – Robert Mathieson and Jim Kilpatrick – returned to take over as Pipe Major and Drum Major of Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia. The pair continued the band’s success, and Pipe Major Robert Mathieson led Shotts to win a further 30 major championships, including another five Worlds titles, and additionally nine Champion of Champions awards. At the same time, the RSPBA started a Champion of Champions table for drumming, and Drum Major Jim Kilpatrick led the drum corps to break every pipe band record, including winning the most major drumming titles, the most Best Drum Corps titles at the World Pipe Band Championships, the most Champion of Champions drumming titles, and being the only drum corps ever to win a Grand Slam in drumming. Robert retired from the band at the end of 2010 after a successful Pipe Major-ship, and Gavin Walker was appointed by the band as his successor, while Jim continued to lead the band’s drum corps. Gavin led the band for two years during a difficult transition period, before resigning midway through the 2012 season. Unfortunately the band was unable to compete in the later half of 2012 for the first time since a similar rebuilding year in 1965.

Shotts-1994f-213x300At the end of 1986, two former members of the band – Robert Mathieson and Jim Kilpatrick – returned to take over as Pipe Major and Drum Major of Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia. The pair continued the band’s success, and Pipe Major Robert Mathieson led Shotts to win a further 30 major championships, including another five Worlds titles, and additionally nine Champion of Champions awards. At the same time, the RSPBA started a Champion of Champions table for drumming, and Drum Major Jim Kilpatrick led the drum corps to break every pipe band record, including winning the most major drumming titles, the most Best Drum Corps titles at the World Pipe Band Championships, the most Champion of Champions drumming titles, and being the only drum corps ever to win a Grand Slam in drumming. Robert retired from the band at the end of 2010 after a successful Pipe Major-ship, and Gavin Walker was appointed by the band as his successor, while Jim continued to lead the band’s drum corps. Gavin led the band for two years during a difficult transition period, before resigning midway through the 2012 season. Unfortunately the band was unable to compete in the later half of 2012 for the first time since a similar rebuilding year in 1965.

Ryan Canning Roster 2016-320x400In late August 2012, Ryan Canning was appointed as the band’s new Pipe Major. Ryan took over at Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia after 16 years as a piper with Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, where he had already won 40 RSPBA major championships, including 6 World Championship titles. Ryan’s appointment is the second time in history that the band has been led by a Northern Irishman, with Pipe Major Tom McAllister Senior being the first. At the time of Ryan’s appointment, only 13 pipers remained on the books, and only 7 would continue with the band into the 2013 season. Ryan and Jim set out on a mission to completely rebuild. The rebuild led to Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia’s rise from the bottom of the grade in 2012, to winning the World Pipe Band Championship just three years later in 2015. The win was the first time in a decade the band had won a World title or major championship; one of the fastest ever ascensions to a World title by any new Pipe Major; and one of the only times in history a band has won the World Championship without first winning another major under its current leadership. During this period, Jim also led the drum corps to win another World Drum Corps Championship in 2014.

Ryan Canning Roster 2016-320x400In late August 2012, Ryan Canning was appointed as the band’s new Pipe Major. Ryan took over at Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia after 16 years as a piper with Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, where he had already won 40 RSPBA major championships, including 6 World Championship titles. Ryan’s appointment is the second time in history that the band has been led by a Northern Irishman, with Pipe Major Tom McAllister Senior being the first. At the time of Ryan’s appointment, only 13 pipers remained on the books, and only 7 would continue with the band into the 2013 season. Ryan and Jim set out on a mission to completely rebuild. The rebuild led to Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia’s rise from the bottom of the grade in 2012, to winning the World Pipe Band Championship just three years later in 2015. The win was the first time in a decade the band had won a World title or major championship; one of the fastest ever ascensions to a World title by any new Pipe Major; and one of the only times in history a band has won the World Championship without first winning another major under its current leadership. During this period, Jim also led the drum corps to win another World Drum Corps Championship in 2014.

Andrew Lawson Roster 2016-320x400In early 2016, the position of Leading Drummer was taken over by Andrew Lawson. Andrew had served in the corps for many years as Jim’s right hand man, and has taken on the massive challenge of following Jim in what should be the final stage of the rebuild that started in 2012 under Ryan. Andrew is excited with his new position and is working closely with Ryan to move the band forward.

Today, Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia is in as strong a position as it has been for a decade, and together Pipe Major Ryan Canning and Drum Major Andrew Lawson are embarking on the next exciting chapter of the band’s history.

Andrew Lawson Roster 2016-320x400In early 2016, the position of Leading Drummer was taken over by Andrew Lawson. Andrew had served in the corps for many years as Jim’s right hand man, and has taken on the massive challenge of following Jim in what should be the final stage of the rebuild that started in 2012 under Ryan. Andrew is excited with his new position and is working closely with Ryan to move the band forward.

Today, Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia is in as strong a position as it has been for a decade, and together Pipe Major Ryan Canning and Drum Major Andrew Lawson are embarking on the next exciting chapter of the band’s history.