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Toni Cannelli: Sheffield's professional drum teacher and drummer
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About Drummers Alliance ""

Toni Cannelli founded the Drummers Alliance in 1987, an organisation set up to promote the art of drumming and percussion.

Toni way back when.. ""

The 1980’s was an era when the drum machine was the preferred choice for many bands and ‘real’ drummers were on the decline. The long awaited advent of the drum machine had arrived and this is when Toni decided that the basic skills and art form of the drummer had been overlooked for too long - all too often the drum kit player was being substituted for the computer.

The UK’s first national drum competition was organised by Toni in 1987 with the Drummers Alliance Beat 87 being the first event of its kind ever to be seen in the UK – an event to find the best undiscovered drummers – this promoted not just rock drumming but also military and percussion sections. The Drummers Alliance brought together the drum industry – professional drummers, drum manufacturers and inspired the uninitiated to get involved and explore the colourful world of drumming. Local heats up and down the country took place with the best from each area coming together for the final at Lewisham Theatre in London.

The ethos of the Drummers Alliance young drummer competitions which Toni started over twenty years ago still applies today with his annual young drummer competitions becoming more and more popular.


More recent events have seen the number of entries increase dramatically with new rules allowing drummers to send DVD’s in to be selected by independent judges and the chosen finalists going on to play at the prestigious Drummers Alliance finals.
The competitions are not about egos but more about providing a platform where drummers are allowed to explore their abilities in a solo situation and thus helping their musical confidence. Many previous competitors (not always the winners) have gone on to be professional drummers themselves, many have kept in touch over the years and look back on the experience as being a milestone in their career. Drummers Alliance can proudly say they have previous participants going on to play with bands like Basement Jaxx, Annie Lennox, Will Young, Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse to mention a few. More unusual events Drummers Alliance have been involved with include the opening of the Sheffield Student games, which involved rehearsing 100’s of drummers and percussionists ready for the grand opening. Drummers Alliance also recruited a thousand drummers for the spectacular opening ceremony of the Sheffield City Hall.


Toni has been a major contributory factor to the popularising of the art of drum kit playing and he continues to organise some of the UK’s biggest drum events. Drummers Alliance is an organisation well known and respected in the drumming world and continues to grow in popularity, thanks to the many companies who have over the years supported our events.

The Drummers Alliance exclusively choose to work with companies involved in promoting drumming and are always interested to hear from them if they would like to get involved in future events.