Drumming Legend Bobby Rea Passes away on the eve of the World Pipe Band Championships
The eve of the World Pipe Band Championships saw the passing of one of our great drummers from yesteryear, the inspiriational Bobby Rea of Northern Ireland. Bobby was "A Drumming God" who spent all his life developing not only thousands of drummers but the artform itself. Bar after bar, drummer after drummer, rudiment after rudiment all went through a change when in contact with the great man for Bobby always looked for ways to push the envelope in every direction. He was truly a master of Pipe Band Drumming.
I had the fortune to meet the great man on many occasions and spent weeks with him either at workshops in Germany or visiting him at his home town in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland. Any time you were with him, he always made you feel important while simultaneously giving you a drumming tip on how you could improve your playing. "That's it Son" he'd say, "you've got it" when playing through his material, you really felt like a champion and a totally empowered player. I always try to emulate his message to all my students after having received his blessing, it was so uplifting.
Bobby has taught many of the great players of today including leading drummers of no less than 5 grade 1 bands being Paul Turner of Robert Wiseman Dairies Vale of Atholl Pipe Band (Scotland); Eric Ward L/D Strathclyde Police (Scotland); Keith Orr L/D Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band (Northern Ireland); Steven McWhirter of L/D Inverary and District (Scotland); James Laughlin of Canterbury Caledonian Society (New Zealand).
He won the World Solo Drumming Championship twice and many prizes in Ireland and Scotland, too many to mention in this short account. A few friends have sent in their memories:
Conor McNally of the St Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band: Never forgot my very first competition with St Josephs against the mighty Ravara corp and he introduced himself to me,he told me to relax kid, take it easy and enjoy the moment in the ring. A true legend and gent. You will be sadly missed Bobby me auld flower.
Brian Niven Pipe Sergeant of Victoria Police: Sad to hear the news. Had a practice chanter / drum pad play with him many years ago. Still the most" musical" drummer I have ever played with. RIP Bobby Rea.
John Moneagle, Leading Drummer: One of the Saddest days My great friend and Mentor Bobby Rea passed away tonight he will be sadly missed and fondly remembered God bless Bobby
It was a very sad World Pipe Band Championships this time to hear our friend, teacher and mentor Bobby Rea passing away. Bobby the legend will be remembered for his massive enthusiasm and ability to encourage drummers of any level to be their best. He was never in it for only himself, if you weren't part of the equation, he wasn't interested in doing it. A real team leader and taught practically 1/2 the drumming world. RIP Bobby, you'll be sadly missed. Our condolances go to Jeanette, Deborah and Steven.
Bobby Rea 1937-2010
Very sad this hour to hear of our friend Bobby Rea passing away. Bobby the legend will be remembered for his massive enthusiasm and ability to encourage drummers of any level to be their best. He was never in it for only himself, if you weren't part of the equation, he wasn't interested in doing it, a real team leade...r and taught practically 1/2 the drumming world. RIP Bobby, you'll be sadly missed.....