Clarence Constantine Corbin “The Man With The Golden Voice And Touch “

Clarence the son of George and Helen Corbin was not a Bermudian by birth as he was born in Bronx New York. He came to Bermuda at a very young age and attended the one room neighbourhood school of Mrs. Alice Paynter in Flatts. He later attended the Berkeley Institute. After completing his studies there he won a Technical Scholarship to study Dentistry at London University England. Like most times during the era when parents had large families the elder siblings were required to assist with financial support, such was the case with Clarence. While pursuing his  studies World War Two reared its ugly head and Clarence also having an illness in his family had to disrupt his studies abandon his dream of becoming a Dentist and return home to take care of the  family. He became a proof reader for the Royal Gazette. He also worked at the Bermuda Press and remained there until his retirement. Clarence was a joiner and he became involved with the Pembroke Parish Council for many years. He loved music especially scared music. He joined the St. Paul A. M.E. Church and soon became a member of the Trustee Board  under the administration of several Pastors there he was valued for his calm demeanor and  wise counsel. He later joined the  Senior choir under the direction of Miss Doris Heyligher. It was there he not only showed his prowess as a top Tenor it was where he met  the love of his life Miss Heyligher and they became a formidable couple. Mrs. Doris Corbin was the Minister of Music and remain so for many years. He often sang with other groups which performed  throughout the island. He left a lasting impression when he would sing a duet with Morris Wilson or Violet Lambert the congregation was often in awe at the ability they had to harmonize so graciously with each other. Mr. Corbin had another great love and that was Tennis that was really his forte’ and it spanned throughout the 40’s 50′ and 60′. It was recorded during his heyday of local tennis that Clarence and friends like Alexander Romeo, Cecil and Russell Dismont, Leslie Lynch and Cressy Swan honed their skills at local clay courts like Unity in Happy Valley Pembroke, Rainbow in Pembroke and Raynor’s in Southampton all under the umbrella of the Somers Isle Lawn Tennis Association. Even at that time racism reared its ugly head and S I L T A was the denigration given black tennis players to distinguished them from  the white race who arrograted to them served the National Title of Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association. B L T A and had year round access to the government owned Bermuda Tennis Stadium that was reserved for Tourist and Whites only. Clarence became the instrumental force behind the late W.E.R. Joell Stadium now named because of his role in desegregating the facility. His game thrived and in 1952 the Somers Isle Lawn Tennis Association brought a trailblazer Althea Gibson to Bermuda. Clarence along with Russell Dismont  was chosen to play her in exhibition matches at the Tennis Stadium. Clarence had  several titles and amassed a treasure trove of  trophies. He was described as being a glide on the clay and relentless at pressuring his opponent into a weak response. Many times unleashing his top spin fore hand  to send his ball sizzling for a winner. The Corbins built there home on Cemetery road in Pembroke there he occupied himself after retirement with his garden where he farmed healthy foods. He was a giving person and shared his wares with his friends and neighbours. This  quiet giant, the inspirational singer and sportsman, left us to serve  on the tennis court above on Good Friday April 8th 2010. There he would well enjoy one of his favorite selections ‘There’s Plenty Good Room in my Fathers’ Kingdom.