Stephen Creighton – Drum Sergeant
As Drum Sergeant of St. Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band, he is the most successful drummer from the Republic of Ireland, having taken part in pipe band and solo drumming competitions at both home and abroad. Born in 1971, in Dublin, he started to learn drumming at the age of 8.
Taught by Gerry Mahady
At the age of 8, he was thought by a local man by the name of Gerry Mahady in a band called St. Louise's Girls Pipe Band. This is where his sisters played until they all grew up and got married, but just before they left, the band started a mixed junior band and that's where he started along with his two brothers.
The band did compete but only for about two seasons and then broke up through lack of members, so the ones that had the appetite to continue where sent to the band in the next town - the Grade 3 band, St. Joseph's, Clondalkin.
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Terry Tully & Paul Turner: His Mentors
Stephen had just turned 12 when he joined and stayed until he was about 29 years of age. It was there that he started to listen to other bands and tried to follow a style that would suit the players in the corps, just before he took L/D job in 1990 at 18 years of age. The Vale of Atholl Pipe Band under Paul Turner was a perfect match for him at that time and who played a similar style or approach that his pipe corps where working on with Terry Tully as instructor of the band at that time .
So, the round hornpipe and jig style became their trade style which they have continued to use to this day under Terry and now Alen, in his band at St. Laurence O’Toole.
But also Jim Kilpatrick and Andrew Scullion
Other individual drummers had been a big influence in other ways, like Jim Kilpatrick and Andrew Scullion, but musically it was Paul Turner at the Vale and then again at Victoria Police, in Australia. Maybe because this was before YouTube and Facebook, access to these drummers and bands only existed on tapes and because “No Reservations” was the only tape he had !
Own path to build his drumming and corps
He tries not to listen other recordings, so that he has his own path moving forward with what he wants to play and not what others are doing. “Being yourself at Grade 1 level is the key to success, just do it better than everyone else ! Take your guidance from the who you like at an early level but move into your own personality ASAP!”, says Stephen. “And work your socks off every day to make it perfect!”
Solo Drumming : Successful Competitor
Beginnings in Ireland. His solo career started in the early 1980s, winning numerous juvenile prizes. Stephen went on to compete at junior level for the first time in 1989, which he won at his first attempt. This was followed by more success a month later when Stephen took first place at the World Solo Drumming Championships in Juvenile Section 3. In 1990, Stephen was elevated to the Senior Grade and in his first year at this level he finished in third place at the All Ireland Solo Drumming Championships.
World Class Solo Drumming
Stephen made his way to Scotland shortly after to compete in the Adult section for the first time. On this occasion, he qualified to play in the final, putting him among the top 12 best players in the World. This is a position he has maintained since 1991.
Stephen became All-Ireland Senior Drumming Champion in 1993 for the first time. Later that year, Stephen took first place at the prestigious drumming competition in Lorient, France.
This capped a memorable year for Stephen as he went on to marry his wife, Amanda. In 1994, Stephen finished fourth at the World Solo Drumming Championships. His latest achievement in 2012 saw Stephen take sixth place in the Senior Grade, alongside his son Glen, who was competing for the first time at the World Solos in the Juvenile Under 16 Section Two and also taking sixth place. On the local front, Stephen has since won several Senior All-Ireland titles and counting.
Pipe Band Drum Corps leader
All-Ireland competitions. On the band front, Stephen made his name with St. Joseph’s Pipe Band climbing from Grade 3 to Grade 1 within four years, winning All- Ireland and World Band and Drumming titles in Grade 2, including the RSPBA Diamond Jubilee in 1990.
Stephen then made the switch to St. Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band in 1999 as part of an amalgamation between the two bands. This has proven to be a very successful move for Stephen, as the band has gone from strength to strength achieving several Major Championships, starting with the drum corps winning the All-Ireland Grade 1 Drumming trophy - a prize that had not been won by a band from the Republic of Ireland since the 1960's. To date, this has led to 13 All Ireland Championship titles in 16 years.
World Success With St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band
On the World stage, the drum corps won its first world title in Grade 1 in 2006. This began the bands climb to winning the 2010 World Pipe Band Championships - in both Piping and Drumming.
The band had won several majors prior to the 2010 win, which included the British, Scottish and European Championships. It was in 2008 the band won the RSPBA Champions of Champions Trophy – the first overseas band ever to do so. To date, the band continues to win prizes and Stephen has been very proud to be a part of these achievements and compete alongside the drummers and pipers of the St. Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band.
Stephen hopes to lead and guide the drummers of this band to more success in the future. 2014 saw Stephen and his St. Laurence O'Toole corps take the top drumming honours at the All Ireland, British and European Championships, with the piece de resistance coming with Stephen and his corps being crowned RSPBA Grade 1 Drumming Champion of Champions at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow.
In 2015, the success continued, when every title the St. Laurence O'Toole drum corps failed to win 2014 was won - including Scottish and European Championships and winning the World Grade1 Drumming title which helped them retain the Grade 1 Champion of Champions for another year.This was the drum corps third Grade 1 World Drumming title and 2016 saw the drum corps retain it's World title once again.
In 2017, the corps would win the British and Scottish Championships – a feat whuch would also be repeated in 2018 – along with the another World Championship Drumming title.
The St. Laurence O'Toole drum corps led by Stephen, has been the most titled pipe band drum corps in the World since 2011, winning 18 Major Championship titles and 3 Champion of Champions titles.
Outside of leading and competing with the St. Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band, Stephen has taught and mentored many local bands, who in turn have gone on to win All Ireland and World titles in their own respective grades - Black Raven,Arklow and Tullamore, to name a few.
Within the World of pipe band's, Stephen has travelled as far as America, France and South Africa to teach and meet many new friends and fans.
Stephen, a cabinet maker by trade had always dreamed of some day designing his own drum sticks and drum pads and has been working with Promark on this venture since 2017. He recently launched his own drum pad which is taking the pipe band World by storm, with orders coming in from as far as Australia and New Zealand.
Stephen has been also head of marching education at Premier Music International Ltd. since 2016 and an endorsed artist since 2006.
He is also heavily involved with Evans in the development of the new black drum head - which was launched and played by the St. Laurence O’Toole drum corps at the 2017 World Pipe Band Championships, where they won the medley drumming and were runner up overall !
In 2018, the drum corp won the Scottish, UK, World and Champion of Champions titles.......along with their 13th All Ireland Drumming title.
In 2019, Stephen's corp once again dominated – winning the All Ireland, British, UK and World Championship drumming titles.