The People of Boghall and Bathgate

L/D Gordon Brown

Gordon was born and brought up in West Lothian and joined Boghall and Bathgate in 1976. He first competed with the Novice Juvenile Band in 1977, winning both Champion of Champions awards the same year. In 1978 Gordon was promoted to the Grade 2 corps under his father’s leadership and the story that follows has been truly remarkable. The Grade 2 band won the Champion of Champions award two years in a row, gained promotion to Grade 1 for the 1980 season and within their first season, the Grade 1 corps won their first major title, the Cowal Championships. The following year saw the start of a hat-trick of World Drumming titles and by 1983 the band had won their first major championship. Since then Gordon has taken over leadership of the drum corps in 1992 and has maintained the level of excellence achieved by his father’s corps, winning multiple major drumming and band titles including two drumming Champion of Champions awards (2007 and 2010), a World Band Drumming title (2001) and two World Solo drumming titles in 1994 and 2002. Outwith band Gordon is also heavily involved in drumming – he runs a drumming supplies business (, teaches drums at Glenalmond College and Morrison’s Academy, writes scores for and works closely with Andante on product development. He says his favourite tunes are the Big Road Brusher and Balmoral Highlanders, both of which have featured heavily in Gordon’s corps and solo prize winning performances. Away from drumming Gordon loves spending time with his two daughters, enjoys Italian and Indian food and is a massive Rangers fan.

Alan Irvine

Alan was born in Newtonards, Northern Ireland and grew up in Bangor. He began learning the drums with tuition from Mark Armstrong and initially played with Cleland Memorial, Bangor Caledonia and Ravara. During his time in Northern Ireland Alan won most prizes in Grades 3 and 4 and his individual playing improved significantly with input from Richard Coffey, Bobby Rea and Aaron McCarten. In 1997 Alan moved to Scotland and began competing with Boghall, initially playing with the Grade 2 band, before gaining promotion to the Grade 1 band in 2002. Since then he has gone on to become a very valuable member of the organisation not only as a flank drummer in the Grade 1 band but also for his help in teaching the Novice corps and his input as Vice-President on the committee. On moving to Scotland, Alan studied a degree in Business Studies at Napier University and now works as a Wine Sales Executive with Wallaces Express, Scotland’s largest independent wholesaler. Aside from a love of food and red wine, Alan enjoys supporting Hearts and is a keen ceilidh band drummer with his band having appeared live on BBC Radio Scotland as part of a Celtic Connections feature. Alan says he has a number of favourite memories with Boghall but one particular highlight was on the last day of the Russia trip in 2004 when Alan was trying to get rid of his remaining Russian coins at the casino and hit the jackpot resulting in him buying cocktails for the whole band (have a look at the gallery!)

Christie McKenna

Christie was born and brought up in Bathgate and began drumming with Boghall and Bathgate in 2006 at the age of 11. He spent three years with Novice band (including some time as leading drummer) before moving up to the Juvenile band in 2010. He has received tuition from both Tom and Gordon Brown. He says his best memory with Boghall so far was being crowned Juvenile World Drumming Champions in 2010 and that the World Championships are his favourite contest due to the incredible atmosphere around Glasgow in the week building up to the event. Christie also enjoys competing in the solos and has won a number of local juvenile contests. Outwith band Christie is studying physics at the University of St Andrews and is due to graduate in 2016. He enjoys playing golf (he is a member at Bathgate Golf Course) and is a big fan of American Football where he supports the San Diego Chargers.

Craig Brown

Craig was born and raised in “The Beautiful Kingdom of Fife” and began drumming with his local band, Methil and District, where he received tuition from Mark Gibson. After a few short years Craig moved to Boghall in 2004 and his potential became immediately apparent. Craig won Juvenile 1 Section at the World Solo Drumming Championships in 2004, before going on to win Juvenile Section 2 in 2005 and 2007 and Juvenile Section 3 in 2008 and 2009. He first played with the Boghall Juvenile band for the 2004 season and part of the 2005 season, before moving up to the Grade 1 band later that year. Since then Craig has gone on to become a very strong member of the Grade 1 corps and became a flank drummer in 2011. He has enjoyed many great memories with the band including two Champion of Champion Drumming titles in 2007 and 2010 and also thoroughly enjoyed the band trip to Switzerland in 2008. Outwith band Craig works as a Yard Marshall with Amazon UK and enjoys playing football and socialising with friends.

Ian Tobin

Ian was born and brought up in Fife and despite spending many years playing with bands from the Kingdom, he finally joined Boghall in 2010. Ian’s pipe band journey began in 1976 at Bowhill and Seafield Collieries under the tuition of Davie Clark and Ian Gordon before spells with Cupar and District and Kinglassie and District. Ian joined the Vale of Atholl in 1996 where he spent nine seasons initially under L/D James King before taking over the corps for 4 seasons until 2005. Since then Ian has played with Dysart and Dundonald and latterly spent four seasons at Tayside Police. Ian has won a number of solo prizes and has played in the semi finals of the World Solo Drumming Championships on multiple occasions. Outwith band Ian works as a Welding Development Manager and is married to Paula who he met at Bowhill Pipe Band (though unfortunately she’s a piper!) Ian says his favourite memories with Boghall are sweeping the boards for drumming at the 2012 World Championships, lifting the 2012 Champion of Champions drum corp prize and having Broon as a roommate in Canada! Interestingly Ian has been leading drummer at every band he has played with except Dysart and Boghall, though he says he is currently working on the latter!

Sandra Brown

Sandra was born and raised in Whitburn and began drumming with tuition from her father, the legendary Tom Brown. She joined her first (and only) band, Boghall in 1978 and quickly progressed through the ranks, initially playing with the Juvenile band, before moving up to the senior band where she has experienced many great memories since. Sandra showed great promise as a young drummer, with a highlight of her solo career being a third place in the Under 18 World Solo Drumming Championships in the early 1980s. Since then Sandra has focused more on band playing and her favourite memory to date was her first experience of winning the World’s drumming title in Grade 1 in 1986. In more recent times, Sandra says her most memorable band performance was the 2010 World’s as the crowd’s reaction after we had played was incredible. Outwith band Sandra works as a clerical officer and says she loves everything about cars, particularly fast cars and grand prix racing. Sandra also spends a lot of time with her two daughters, both of whom play with Boghall’s Juvenile bands.