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Young Drummer Of The Year

Posted by Andy Anderson on 8th February 2012

Well now back to reality after a great few days in LA at the NAMM show!! So many great new products on show and heading towards the drum shop. Check out some of the blogs from NAMM if you haven’t already.

Since getting back I’ve had more rehearsals with The Danny Allan Band & RJ Thompson, the first few gigs of the year with The Danny Allan Band went well, apart from getting done for speeding on the way home, and after that I herded sheep back in to a farmers field, very weird! Perhaps I should of stole one and sold it to get my speeding fine back!!

Saturday we had an awesome snow storm, I love snow!! However not when it takes you an hour to get a gig that should only take you 20 minutes, and then when you get there you find out that because of the blizzard you packed your car in a rush and left your rack tom at home, nice!! It was a fun challenge coming up with a variety of fills, with not very much to use. Then it was straight home for a quick 2 hour nap before setting off at 4am to support my student Charlie Vasiliou in Mike Dolbear’s Young Drummer Of The Year competition.

Drum kit se-up

Young Drummer Of The Year
started 10 years ago by Mike Dolbear, and has now reached its 10th Anniversary. You must be 16 or under to enter the competition, and submit a 2 minute drum solo on DVD. From there 40 young drummers are short-listed, which goes down to 10 finalists after being reviewed by a number of independent judges. The 10 finalists then have to go to the Royal Spa Theatre in Leamington Spa and perform in front of 10 judges, all top professionals from the world of drumming. This year the judges were: Steve White, Karl Brazil, Richard Jupp (didn’t make it due to the snow), Mark Richardson, Gavin Harrison, Phil Gould and Ade Holbrook from the YDOTY team. The finalists have to perform 3 pieces, their solo, a piece with a backing track stipulated by the organisers, and a track with a band that they hear twice on the day. Tough stuff!!!

This year there were 537 entries to the competition from all over Great Britain. The 10 finalists along with Charlie Vasiliou were Charles Johnson, Charles Hall, Jordan Owen, Nathan Wallington, Morgan Simpson, Oliver Cox, Mikey Ciancio, Dominic Calzetli, and Calum Blair. In my eyes all of these guys are winners! I’m not a fan of competitions to be honest, I just think its a great tool for the young drummers to gain exposure, experience and give a start to their career in the industry, and to be chosen from 537 entries is amazing!!

After a 3 an a half hour drive through the night, I arrived to meet Charlie for breakfast, I wanted to make sure he was prepared for the day, a quick warm up and last minute talk through his solo and he was good to go. All the finalists have to be at the Royal Spa Theatre for 10am for a briefing from Mike Dolbear and his team, running through the layout of the day. After the briefing the finalists have to leave their family and friends along with mobile phones, and will not see them till after winner has been announced. The finalists then go to the stage and hear the third song they have to play with the band, they only hear this 2 or 3 times and are only allowed to make notes, this year it was a shuffley blues track. From then on the finalists are well looked after, they get chance to set the kit with a professional drum tech (who looks after all 3 drum kits on the day), practise, have lunch, chill out, watch tv, and are interviewed by the judges.

I think its more nerve racking for myself than it was for Charlie, me and his dad were wrecks!! The show starts with Mike Dolbear giving an introduction about the competition and then we fire straight into the event! At this point no one knows what the order of play is as the order was drawn by the performers back stage before the show. So the first video pops up on the large screen and says who it is, every time a new video came up the tension was high!! Charlie was drawn third, and he played his heart out! All three pieces, his solo, backing track and the band track were played fantastically, I was very proud. Equally all of the competitors played with 110%, the determination of every performer was outstanding. This years competition was very close, it was anybody’s! However, the lucky man was 16 year old Calum Blair from Scotland, he played with confidence, control and flair! Well done!!!

This event was great, well organised, professional, it had major support from many drum companys, great venue, great set up, and a great platform to showcase young up coming talent!! Seriously, watch out for all of these boys, outstanding players!! Hats off to not only the performers but Mike Dolbear and his team for putting on such a great event!!

You can see Charlie perform at the Craig Blundell clinic on the 20th of February where he will be playing his solo from the competition and a few pieces before the main man Craig comes on stage. Its going to be a great night, don’t miss it, and its for FREE if you get in quick enough!!! What more could you want!!

Once again thanks for reading, and keep the suggestions coming in, I still have a few which I’m working through, so don’t worry I haven’t forgotten!

All the best.


Young Drummer Of The Year

Young Drummer Of The Year with Mike Dolbear