June 02, 2020

Corkin signs on with Grade 1 Closkelt

Gary Corkin

Closkelt of Northern Ireland might have to wait another year before they can make its Grade 1 debut, but when it does, it will be with one of the most experienced percussionists in the pipe band world after the band announced that Gary Corkin is the new lead-drummer.

Corkin replaces Alastair Hopper, who is no longer with the band after two years in the role, and joins Pipe-Major David Chesney as the band works to make its mark in the highest grade.

Gary Corkin’s resume is a compendium of Grade 1 capability. His pedigree includes a lengthy stint in the 1980s with the Grade 1 Royal Ulster Constabulary under the legendary Lead-Drummer Bobby Rea, progressing to his own lead-drummer role with the band in 1988. Under Corkin’s direction, the band won numerous Grade 1 championship drumming titles, including the 2000 World Championship.

Other Grade 1 bands for Corkin include periods with Glasgow Pipes & Drums, Bleary & District, Dowco Triumph Street, and, most recently, Lomond & Clyde.

“It’s never nice saying farewell to any member of the band, but I wish Alastair all the very best in the future, and I’m pleased to welcome Gary on board,” Chesney said.

The 82-year-old Closkelt was promoted to Grade 1 after the 2019 season, following substantial success in Grade 2. David Chesney became pipe-major in 2010 in 2010 when it was in Grade 4B.

The move is the latest change for a Grade 1 band. On May 29th, Glasgow Skye Association of Glasgow announced that both its pipe-major, Ewan Henderson, and lead-drummer, Arthur Cook had left the band. The 1988 World Solo Drumming Champion Cook had planned his retirement after the 2019 season.



RSPBA promotes St. Thomas Alumni, Closkelt to Grade 1
September 21, 2019

Bradford and Corkin new leaders for Lomond & Clyde
September 26, 2018

Corkin signs on as Triumph Street L-D
August 2, 2016

Corkin joins Bleary as new leading-drummer
December 31, 2006

Double departures at Glasgow Skye make building for 2021 an extra challenge
May 29, 2020






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