Drummer scores fourth in global contest

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SOUTHLAND Boys’ High School pupil Callum Copeland entered the World Solo Drumming Championships with the goal of making it to the top six.

When the Invercargill youngster heard his name called out for fourth place, all the sacrifices became worth it, he said.

Hosted by The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, more than 100 people competed in this year held in Glasgow, Scotland, in October.

The biggest group Copeland had ever played against previously was 12 people, so the pressure was on, he said.

“You realise how small Invercargill is, or even how small New Zealand is when you’re competing with all those people.

“I didn’t know what to expect so I just went in with an open mind.”

Entered in the under-18 section, he competed against 18 other drummers in his age group from throughout the world.

Since the age of 10, it had always been a dream to compete on the world stage, he said.

“I was really well prepared.  I had been working on it for months for one or two hours a day, in the morning before school sometimes.”

Copeland had been working with his Scotland-based tutor, Steven McWhirter, for two years via Skype sessions.

McWhirter was a 10-time winner at the World Solo Drumming Championships, so he knew he was learning from the best of the best, Callum said.

“I played three times [in the competition] one after the other, it’s called a March Strathspey Reel.

“Steven laid out some tunes and we worked together on which ones I was going to use.”

While he had contributed money towards the cost of the trip, his parents covered most of it, he said.

“I really wanted to get in the top six because it was a long way to go and I didn’t want to let my parents down when they had helped me get there.”

When the judges announced the first, second and third-place winners, he did not expect to hear his name read aloud next.

“I was really surprised to get fourth, I was hoping for sixth but then they called my name out.”

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