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Wake Widens Circle with Kelsey Barry

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

Accomplished North Carolina snare drummer Kelsey Barry is the new Drum Sergeant for the Grade 3 Wake and District Pipe Band.

She joins Pipe Major Ken McKeveny, Pipe Sergeant Seth Wells, and a widening circle of pipers and drummers from across the Mid-Atlantic, following the band's successful 2022 season, which included sweeping Grade 3 at the Mid-America Pipe Band Championships in Chicago.

Raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, Kelsey was invited to play for the local pipe band, Grandfather Mountain Highlanders in 1999. The band later split off to become Jamestown Pipes and Drums where she called home until 2019. In 2019, Kelsey made the jump to Grade 3 full time when she made the tough choice to leave her hometown band and join Wake and District in Raleigh, NC. Impressed by the overall drive of the players, organization and leadership, she was excited for the opportunity for growth and felt right at home.

Kelsey began her pipe band career at only 10 years old as a rhythm tenor. She quickly transitioned to snare and was hooked on the pipe band life forever. She spent two decades playing with Jamestown Pipes and Drums where she was honored to serve as lead tip with Pipe Major Kyle Auman until 2019, winning multiple competitions with AGLs for the Drum Corps.

Without a consistent instructor, Kelsey relied on the occasional workshops and solos competitions to expand her drumming knowledge but was self taught for the majority of her career. In 2012, Kelsey traveled to Dunedin, Florida to compete with the City of Dunedin Pipe Band in the World Pipe Band Championships. During those years of traveling to Dunedin, she gained invaluable knowledge from Drum Sergeant Dan Eaton, who studied under drumming legends Alec Duthart and Gordon Parkes.

Her solo drumming ventures lasted from 1999 until 2013 (when she stopped competing in Grade 1). She hopes to get back into the solo circuit again in the coming years, but plans to focus her attention on this new leadership role right now.

On joining Wake, Kelsey said:

“I am thrilled to be a part of this group of talented and passionate musicians. There's something really special about this band and you can feel its magic in the circle. I feel honored to have this opportunity to serve the band and look forward to leading them in 2023.”

Pipe Sergent Seth Wells related: “Passionate, caring, and driven are just some of the ways to describe Kelsey. Her impact to our organization has been almost immediate, and we could not be more thrilled with her leading the corp. From day one she has jumped in to help lead both musically and organizationally. Looking forward to her mentorship within our entire organization -- and having her part of our leadership team."

Wake and District was formed in 2006, with their beginnings as a service band -- and entry into the competition realm the following year, widening their circle year after year. They currently field three bands in Grades 3, 4, and 5.

Founding member and band manager Joe Brady stated: "behind every sensational pipe band is an spectacular drum corps; they're literally behind the pipers. We're grateful to have Kelsey leading the way for our Grade 3 corps, and we're proud to have her as part of our circle". Kelsey replaces Drum Sergeant Michael Iannuzzi who departed the band in in August. Brady said: "we look forward to a new chapter for our Grade 3 band under Kelsey's leadership -- while remaining focused on our mission, music, and membership."


Solo On Snare is a 2103 documentary about Kelsey Barry, a top ranked drum sergeant of a small-town bagpipe band (Jamestown Pipes & Drums). After finding a passion and family within the tight-knit group, she will go on to compete in a highland games which will help determine whether she reaches the highest rank possible - - Professional.


For more information, please contact:

Joe Brady

Wake and District MarCom


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