Corky Whitlock

Corky played a solo on "In a Mellow Tone" at the May 13, 2009, Roseville Big Band rehearsal. Corky plays trumpet

John "Corky" Whitlock is a familiar name and face to Minnesota big band and drum corps enthusiasts. He led the Johnny Owen Band for over 45 years and is a founding member of the Century College Adult Jazz Ensemble. He has performed with numerous big bands throughout the Twin Cities area and currently performs with a New Orleans style brass band that he instituted in the Twin Cities, the LaBanda Big Band, The White Bear Big Band, and the GoldenTones band. He first performed with the Roseville Big Band on the July 28, 2009, concert in Central Park.

Corky spent a year marching with St. Francis de Sales drum corps in 1956, then became a soprano soloist with St. Paul Scouts drum corps from 1957 to 1964, and Minnesota Brass  from 1966 to 1976.

He began arranging music in 1959 and has been brass arranger for numerous drum and bugle corps throughout the midwest and Washington State, including Blue Stars, St Croix Rivermen, St. Paul Scouts and Minnesota Brass. During the same time period, he was brass instructor with more than a dozen drum and bugle corps.

Corky has also served as music director of Minnesota Brass, St Croix Rivermen and St. Paul Scouts. He was a brass judge from 1964 with Drum Corps International (DCI), Drum Corps Midwest (DCM), Central States Judges Association and the Federation of Contest Judges, adjudicating contests across the country as well as DCI prelim and final competitions.  He is a member of Bugles Across America.

He has received the Brassy Award, considered as the Minnesota Brass Hall of Fame and lifetime achievement award. He is also an associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame

Corky instituted the "mini-corps" concept in the Midwest with the Minnesota Brass "small corps" which employed non-standard drum corps instruments as well as standard drum corps instrumentation in a jazz / big band setting. 

With a college degree and post-graduate work in Music Education, Corky taught public school instrumental music in St. Paul for 32 years. As a member of the Century College Adult Jazz Ensemble, he toured in South America and China and performed alongside many of the finest jazz performers in the country, including Clark Terry, Bill Watrous, Wayne Bergeron, Eric Marienthal, Andy Martin, Terry Gibbs and many others.

This page was last updated
Friday, June 18, 2021.

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