Island drummers head to festival in Cape Breton
by Peggy Miles
Two Summerside drummers will be on their way to Cape Breton at the end of May to participate in the acclaimed Cape Breton International Drum Festival. This marks the first time the festival will have performances from PEI participants.
The event is in its ninth year and takes place at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay on May 23 and 24. It features a plethora of well known drummers, as well as clinics and sessions for drum educators. A tradeshow featuring percussion and drum equipment is also part of the festival.
The event has become known as “one of the world’s premier drumming and percussion events” and founders Bruce and Gloria Jean Aitkin have declared the event’s mission to be ”Education Through Performance.” The Festival is well known by musicians worldwide, and has a reputation for showcasing performers of all ages and genders.
Moe Hashie teaches at the Music Rocks Academy in Summerside and was approached earlier this year by festival organizers asking for his participation. He’s been playing the drums since the age of five, first whetting his musical appetite on his Ringo Starr drum kit. Hashie has played with numerous bands over the years and is well known as part of the popular local band Edge. He also plays guitar, bass and harmonica.
Attending the event through the perspective of an educator, Hashie has an appreciation for the valuable knowledge he’ll gain and take back to his students. As a drummer, he is looking forward to sharing in the camaraderie that drummers feel as a group. He indicates they are a supportive group of people who are passionate about their craft.
Hashie will be bringing one of his students, Bray Schurman, to participate. Schurman has been playing the drums for four years with Hashie as his instructor. The fifteen-year-old says his friends think the experience he’s about to embark upon is pretty cool. He’s looking forward to taking it all in, and using the occasion as a great opportunity to watch and learn from the best.
Both drummers will be participating in the showcase portion of the event (Schurman in the junior program). The showcase gives local drummers a chance to share their talents on the main stage and serves as a reward for their dedication to the craft of drumming.
Hashie and Schurman will be exposed to drummers like Horacio Hernandez—who’s performed with Dizzy Gillespie and Carlos Santana—and Virgil Donati—who’s recorded and toured with the likes of Tina Arena and Steve Vai. Also, Mike Clark, who’s been called “the most sampled drummer in hip hop,” appearing on tracks by Prince.
Hashie and Schurman are busy rehearsing for their showcases and looking forward to the experience.
Island drummer Nathaniel Lamoureux has been selected to play the convened show stage during the Cape Breton International Drum Festival May 23 and 24. Lamoureux, in his mid-twenties, can be seen and heard playing with a who’s who of the Island music scene. He regularly plays with dance favourites Joey Kitson and Big City, Vintage 4.0, up and coming Meaghan Blanchard, John Connolly and Tim Chaisson. Nat’s skill gets noticed and gets him substitute shows with the Charlottetown Festival.
Musical colleague Tim Chaisson classifies Nat as a pocket drummer with a playing style that consists of a simple, solid beat that lacks the flair of flamboyant fills. “I like to set a groove so deep that the tempo never wavers,” says Nat. This creates a comfortable “pocket” for the rest of the band to play in.
Years of piano lessons gave Nathaniel an ear for music. As a child he taught himself guitar and was able to teach himself drums at the age of twelve.
“This is an excellent opportunity to showcase and be educated in the presence of world class drummers,” says Lamoureux, who said he would like to thank Island drum maker Amiel LeBlanc for his endorsement to play the festival.