Alex Duthart Memorial Trophy
awarded to the A Division Drumming Knockout Series winner
The Alex Duthart Memorial trophy is awarded annually in memory of Alex Duthart (1925-1986). Born in Scotland, Duthart had a profound impact on both the Toronto and global Pipe Band drumming scene.
Alex Duthart (October 7, 1925 – November 27, 1986) was a Scottish drummer who revolutionised Scottish pipe band snare playing.
Described by Buddy Rich as “a far better drummer than me”, Duthart picked up his first set of sticks at the age of eight. First taught by his father John, he cited his influences as A.D. Hamilton, an orchestral drummer, Jimmy Catherwood (also taught by Duthart’s father), Paddy Donovan from Dublin, and Alec McCormick, a leading drummer with the Glasgow Police Pipe Band.
In 1948 Duthart entered his first solo drumming competition, earning second place. He subsequently won so many times that he retired from solo competition to give other drummers a chance. In 1953 he guided his first corps, the Dalziel Highlanders, to a World Championship drumming title. After this he spent several years as a dance-band drummer, developing a style of drumming that he brought to the Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band when he was invited to form a drum corps in 1957. The style of drumming he brought in at that time is generally recognized to be the basis of modern pipe-band drumming, consisting of a jazz-influenced style and what Alex called the “chips”, a call and response system where the lead drummer plays a phrase solo which is answered by the full drum line. He also invented the drum salute, a showcase piece for a drum corps without the involvement of pipes.
Duthart played for Shotts for a further twenty-nine years, apart from a couple of years with Invergordon Distillery and the Edinburgh City Police band.
Despite being a working blacksmith all his life, Duthart found the time to teach many workshops worldwide, and many drummers still have fond memories of his unique style of play and musical authority. He also produced two books of music and comment, and many of his drum scores are standard pieces today.