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The Closkelt 2022 concert takes place on Saturday, March 26 at the 400-seat Market Place Theatre in Armagh City, Northern Ireland. The concert will be Closkelt Pipe Band’s first public performance since promotion to Grade 1 in winter 2019. It’s also the first performance with a new back line lead by Leading Drummer Brendan ‘Barney’ Megoran, formerly of PSNI Pipes & Drums.

Closkelt’s last public performance was in August 2019 when the band was crowned Grade 2 RSPBA Champion of Champions, and Grade 2 RSPBANI Champion of Champions as a band and also bass section.

•Pipe Major David Chesney leads Closkelt Pipe Band into the Grade 2 arena at the World Pipe Band Championships in 2019. ©JohnSlavin@designfolk.com/Bagpipe.news

The concert will feature a guest performance from Grade 4a band, Gransha, who are Closkelt’s nearest neighbouring band. This will be Gransha’s first performance with new leading drummer Philip Bell (ex-FMM). Gransha Pipe Major James Knox MBE is a past PM of Closkelt, prior to handing over to David Chesney.  Matt Boyd Memorial Grade 3a from Pomeroy, Co. Tyrone under leadership of PM Alan Ferguson and LD Gary Smyth.

Also featuring solo performances from Seán Moloney (ex-Closkelt piper, ex-SLOT drummer and now current Pipe Sgt of St Mary’s Pipe Band, Derrytrasna), Kathryn Stewart’s Highland Dance Display Team and local Northern Ireland drum majors will also take part throughout the show. 

Closkelt is a small hamlet nestled in the Dromara hills in the townland of Drumgooland and situated between the Co.Down towns of Banbridge, Dromore, Rathfriland and Newcastle. For ease of members, who are from all over Northern Ireland, the band now practices in Bleary in Craigavon, Co.Armagh, as this is a more central location an easily accessible from the main road infrastructure.

Closkelt returned to competitions in 2007 under James Knox MBE in Grade 4B. In 2010, James Knox invited David Chesney, a piper with Grade 1 St Laurence O’Toole to take over as piping tutor. The band won Grade 4B Worlds in 2011 and the following season David Chesney left SLOT to take on Closkelt full time. Under David’s leadership the band has moved from Grade 4b to Grade 1 within just nine seasons.

David’s son, Jonathan, also a piper in SLOT joined Closkelt as Pipe Sgt and still works together with his father at Chesney Chanters & Reeds Ltd based in Magherfelt, Northern Ireland. Their reeds have been the chosen choice of the last ten Grade 1 World Champions including FMM, SLOT & IDPB.

In 2017 the band unveiled its new customer tartan named after the townland where Closkelt sits, Drumgooland. The band’s Celtic red wolf emblem is now instantly recognisable to many folk across the pipe band world.

The band are looking forward to their first contest post-pandemic when they march into the arena at the RSPBANI Ards & North Down Championships on Saturday, May 14, in the coastal town of Bangor in Co. Down. PM David Chesney said: “The band has worked extremely hard since getting back to in-person practice in June 2021. With Brendan joining the band as Leading Drummer in September 2021, we have been able to build on the already great progress.” 

President of Closkelt, Mr Leslie Hanna, a member of Closkelt for over 40 years said: “I’m looking forward to seeing the band back in performance and hitting the grass again in 2022. The band is a credit to the local area of Closkelt and has put their small village on the world stage”.

Tickets available to book online here.