Bruce Aitken will receive the Music Nova Scotia Award of Excellence. Aitken is the first recipient of the Music Nova Scotia Award of Excellence, an honour aimed at recognizing members who have contributed generously and in extraordinary fashion to Nova Scotia's music industry. Aitken was born in New Zealand, where he honed his love of drumming. Since 1998, he has made his home in Cape Breton, running a world-class drum festival. It has attracted incredible names like Alan White (John Lennon, George Harrison and Yes), Michael Shrieve (Santana, The Rolling Stones) and Todd Sucherman (Styx).
"Music is my life and I breathe it," says Aitken. He says highlights in his career include working with Uriel Jones (Motown Funk Brothers), touring Afghanistan military bases and being the first Canadian to play at the Australian Ultimate Drummers Weekend. Aitken focuses much of his attention on youth, working as a drum teacher and attracting many students and even children to the festival each year. He offers the motto, "Education through performance."