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Tom Brown

DM Tom Brown

Tom was born in Whitburn, West Lothian in 1940. He was given his first pair of drum sticks and introduced to the art of drumming at the age of nine by an Uncle who was already drumming with a local pipe band. He got his first pipe band drumming lessons from Jack MacLeish of the Whitrigg Colliery Pipe Band.

Tom took over as Leading Drummer at about the same time as they changed their name to Polkemmet Colliery Pipe Band under the Leadership of Pipe Major Johnny Barnes. Others to emerge through that band included Robert Mathieson, Jim Kilpatrick and David Barnes.

In 1969/70, through a chance meeting with the famous Alex Duthart, he joined up with Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band drum corps under the leadership of the "Great Man" himself. Tom played under Alex and alongside other famous names such as Jim Hutton, Bert Barr, Billy Stevenson and Ronnie Annan for the next six years where they won every band and drumming Championship on numerous occasions. Tom still credits Alex for making him the drummer he is today.

During those early seventies, Tom set up his famous "Tuesday Night" Drumming class. Two famous names to emerge from those classes included his son Gordon and nephew Jim Kilpatrick.

In 1974/75 Tom was approached by Pipe Major Robert Martin to supply drummers and help out at the then Grade 4 Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band. In 1976/77, he had begun supplying drummers for their new novice band. One of the drummers was his son, Gordon. Other drummers to go into the novice corps that year included Neil Cranston and Tom Egerton, both still playing in the Grade 1 corps today. The young novice corps went on to win every major drumming Championship and competition they entered into during 1977, including Grade 4 Competitions.

Tom had a year out of playing with Shotts in 1977 and it was at that time that Pipe Major Robert Martin asked him to take over the Boghall corps. Half the novice corps, including his son, Gordon, was ready to go into the corps at the time and Tom took over as Leading Drummer in 1978 when the band were upgraded to Grade 2. This was to go on to become quite a famous friendship and partnership with Robert Martin.

The band and the drum corps went on to win every major Championship and competition they entered into over the next two seasons in Grade 2.

Around this time Tom's daughter, Sandra, started her first drumming lessons with Tom. Sandra steadily moved up through the ranks of the highly successful novice and juvenile corps and joined the Grade 1 corps in 1983, where she still plays today.

In 1980, the band was upgraded to Grade 1 and that first season saw the drum corps lift the "Cowal Championship" Trophy and place 5th as a band.

The following season (1981) saw them lift the "World Pipe Band Drumming Championship" in Hazelhead Park, Aberdeen. The average age of Tom's drum corps on the day was 15 years old. This was the first of a hat trick of World Drumming Championships, a task not easily done at that time. During the eighties, the corps went on to lift every major drumming Championship and were the first corps to win the "Alex Duthart Memorial Trophy" for Champion of Champion Drum Corps.

In 1991, Tom decided to retire from the Grade 1 band to spend more time with the Novice, Juvenile and Grade 3 corps (Boghall had introduced a fourth band). Gordon took over as Leading Drummer of the Grade 1 corps.

A year later and the Grade 3 band were promoted to Grade 2; Tom again was convinced to take over as Leading Drummer. This he did and the history books were written again. Over the next eight years, Tom and his Grade 2 drum corps went on to win every major drumming Championship including three Grade 2 World Drumming Championships. It also established another chain in the famous "Boghall" feeder system with all the drummers passing through the Grade 2 corps en-route to the Grade 1 corps. It is interesting to note that all the drummers in the present Grade 1 corps have passed through the "Boghall" feeder system.

To date, Tom has won almost every drumming Championship in every grade. Not just with the Boghall organisation, but with other corps he has coached. He has also taught more World Solo Drumming Champions than anyone else, including Gordon and Jim who have won the Adult title 18 times between them.

Tom decided to retire from the playing side of things a few years ago but is still as strongly involved as ever with the Boghall drumming school and also other local Bands. He is still travelling the World passing on his knowledge to various individuals and organisations.

The Boghall Grade 2 band was wound up in 2004 but the standard of today's young player in the Boghall setup means that several have already made the step from the Juvenile band straight to Grade 1 with many of them winning the World Solo Drumming titles in their respective Grades along the way. 2008 saw Steven Shedden win Juvenile 2 and Craig Brown win Juvenile 3, both playing in the Grade 1 corps for several seasons now.