Late in June, immediately after the Beltane, we were greatly saddened to hear of the death of that great servant of the Band, Tony Hamilton. Tony had been a member for over 50 years and during that time he set an example of loyalty and commitment to the Band which would be hard to equal. Although he started his career on cornet, for most of his time in the Band he played either euphonium or his favoured instrument, the baritone. At one time or another Tony held every office in the Band as well as serving on the committee for a long number of years. In particular, he did sterling work helping to teach the learners and there will be many past and present members who will be grateful to Tony for introducing them to the mysteries of brass banding. It was a privilege for the Band to lead his funeral cortege to the cemetery and give this great bandsman a fitting farewell. A gentle and unassuming man with a great sense of humour he was a true son of Peebles and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

Earlier in June we survived another hectic Beltane week and although we expect to get rained on at some point it was, perhaps, setting an unwanted record to get completely drenched on three separate occasions! July was a relatively quiet month with practices scaled back to once a week. Nevertheless we weren’t completely idle as we played at a charity event in Earlston and also made our annual pilgrimage to Innerleithen to take part in the St Ronan’s Games Saturday parade.

As we head into August, apart from resuming normal practices, we will be holding a number of other events during the month. We start off on Saturday 13th with the third of this year’s coffee mornings which will be held in the Burgh Hall from 10.00 to 12.00. All the usual stalls will be in evidence. Weather permitting we will be holding two morning street concerts on the High Street on Saturday 20th and Saturday 27th. In addition to the concert on the 27th we will be holding our annual fund raising Duck Race on the Cuddy that same afternoon.  Tickets cost £1 per duck or £5 for six and there will be three prizes of £100, £50 and £25. Practices will be particularly intense in August as initially we will be working on the programme for our “Autumn” concert which is scheduled to take place earlier than usual on Friday 9th September.  However our practices will have an additional importance as not only will we  be working on the pieces for the concert they will also be used as part of our programme for the European Brass and Wind Music Festival taking place in the German spa town of Bad Schlema.  Avid readers this column may recall that we played at this prestigious event two years ago and as the only UK band performing at the festival we are very honoured to have been invited back. Clearly we must have done something right last time! We leave for Bad Schlema on Thursday 15th hence the reason for holding our “Autumn” concert earlier than normal. There will be more information about the concert and our trip to Germany in the September issue.