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The Telegram
  • Q&A with percussionist Jeff Mosher

  • The Mohawk Valley Frasers Pipe Band had just four pipers when it was founded in 1973. Today, there are more than 50 pipers and drummers to make the rounds at local parades and festivals.

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  • The Mohawk Valley Frasers Pipe Band had just four pipers when it was founded in 1973. Today, there are more than 50 pipers and drummers to make the rounds at local parades and festivals.
    Jeff Mosher, a 61-year-old snare drummer from Little Falls, has been with the group for 13 years, and now has his two children — 13-year-old Abigail and Philip, 15 — in on the Fraser action as well.
    We asked him to talk about the percussion side of the group.
    Q: How did you get involved with the Frasers?
    A: Oh, I’ve been a drummer for most of my life. They were coming off a parade route, and I asked one of the drummers if they ever needed more drummers. … That was the start of it all for me.
    Q: What kind of drumming did you do in the past?
    A: I took drums in elementary school; I started in fourth grade. That continued all through high school, and I played briefly with a few rock ’n’ roll bands.
    Q: With all that experience, you probably can tell a difference between Scottish and American drumming, right?
    A: Scottish pipe band drumming is markedly different than American. There was a definite learning curve learning some of the nuances of the Scottish drums. … Some of the rudiments are executed differently. It’s all very technical.
    Q: What’s the main purpose of drums in a pipe band?
    A: The drums provide the underlying tempos for the whole band and, as bagpipes cannot offer any dynamics, with the drums, you can fill in where dynamic overtones are necessary. Pipes can’t do that. We provide a dynamic range as well as a soul-moving tempo, a rhythm. The pipes you can hear, but the drums you can feel.
    Q: How did your kids get involved?
    A: They came to me and expressed an interest. I’ve always been one to let the kids find their own groove, no drumming it into them, pun intended. But they expressed an interest to learn to play. You know I’m not forcing you to do it, but it’s a commitment. Philip is a bass drummer, Abby is a tenor. I play snare. We have the whole rhythm section in the family.
    Q: In the 13 years you’ve been doing this, how has your personal experience been?
    A: It’s kind of bittersweet because it’s a very strong time commitment. It’s a very rigorous schedule, but it makes the summers go by very quickly. Just for the sheer level of music and talent we have, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
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