Submitted by John Bridge
Steve Harris was a part of the Ontario pipe band scene for 55 years. He started as a pre-teen, drumming with the Guelph Pipe Band in the early 60’s under Pipe Major Bob Whittle. He went in to competition with them in 1968 and travelled to Scotland at the grade 2 level. Steve continued on with the band in the 70’s when they were promoted to grade one under Pipe Major Ed Neigh where he served for a short time as lead drummer. He was also no stranger to the Open Solo Drumming competitions during that time, as he has a trophy or two that will attest to that.
In the mid 80’s when the band went on a hiatus from competition, Steve remained in the parade band and once again took on the role of lead drummer. He taught beginner drummers, as well as other drummers joining the corps, and served as an integral component to ensure the longevity of the Guelph Pipe Band.
When the band returned to competition in the early 2000’s Steve was still there to play under the leadership of Lead Drummer Larry Willis and Pipe Major Bruce MacDonald and helped the band win Championship Supreme for Grade IV in 2003.
Steve’s passion for drumming also lead him to other bands outside the Guelph organization such as the Colonel John McCrae band, as well as teaching drummers around the region from Hespler/Cambridge, and Fergus. He was always willing to help out any band if they needed a drummer. Steve was also involved for a time assisting in the teaching of cadet drummers at Camp Bordon, and lastly to date, the Grand Celtic Pipe Band where he continued to instruct and lead the drum corps until his very untimely passing on October 7th at the age of only 66.
When I was first introduced to Steve in 1973, he became that of an instructor and mentor for extra nights of lessons, as he helped me learn the scores of the day for the Guelph band. That relationship resulted in a friendship not only between Steve and myself, but our parents also became very close friends, where we then got involved in numerous social activities outside practice nights.
It will be very difficult for me, as I’m sure it will be for those he has taught or drummed with over those many years, to walk on to the contest fields this upcoming summer and not see Steve Harris in massed bands in his role as a lead drummer.
Thanks Steve for being a part of my life, and the many others you have touched.
With the utmost sincerity and gratitude, I sign off as your friend.
You will truly be missed buddy.