Peebles Life – September Edition


Last month we mentioned one of our more mature members of the Band,

Ian Swanston on his 48th consecutive year playing with the Band at the Beltane. This month we would like to highlight one of our youngest members, James Grassick, aged just 9, who played at his first Beltane in June this year.

Along with 7 others from our Development Band, James joined the senior band on the

Tuesday night of the Beltane as we marched down to Whitestone Park and played

background music at the Childrens’ Sports. James declined to enter the Band Race preferring to stay with his Baritone and proud as punch he marched back up to the High Street with, in traditional style, youngsters and Beltane Principals dancing behind the band. James declared this to be the best night of his life so far – he certainly marched out and “in step” all the way.


James’ mum, Lee confirmed that before playing at the Sports, James said he was “really, really excited”. She thought it was because of their impending holiday to Bermuda but no James declared in exasperated tones – it was playing with the band at the Beltane. It looks very likely that James will, like Ian, have a long and happy association with the Burgh Band.




Two other young musicians from Peebles have just returned from a week-long music school with the National Youth Brass Bands of Scotland (NYBBS) at Strathallan School, Perthshire . The week culminated in a grand concert at a packed St John’s Kirk in Perth, showcasing the work of the reserve and senior bands to a knowledgeable and greatly appreciative audience.


Sophie Ward-Murray (14) has attended the summer course for the past five years and this was her first appearance in the Reserve Band since gaining promotion from the Children’s Band last year. She performed as first solo cornet in the concert that defied the knowledge that these were youngsters playing. Of her week away Sophie said: “NYBBS is a great experience for young people in brass banding as it gives you lots of opportunities, such as meeting professional brass players. I really enjoy going to NYBBS as it has improved my playing greatly and I would recommend it to any young brass player. I’d like to thank Peebles Burgh Silver Band for their financial contribution and continued support which is greatly appreciated.”


Andrew Wilson, also just 14 was attending for the first time and was appointed as assistant principal trombone in the Senior Band. Andrew says: ‘ I was amazed and happy to have been given the opportunity to represent my town and region in the Senior Band of NYBBS. I had an unforgettable week, it was lots of hard work but I can’t wait until the next one! I’d like to thank the John Leishman Trust and the Freemasons for providing me with generous funding, without which I would not have been able to attend. I hope I have made them and all the bands I play with proud.’


Both Sophie and Andrew play regularly with Peebles Burgh Silver Band, watch out for them playing on the High Street on Saturday mornings in September.




If you or someone you know wishes to join the Band (no matter their age) please email the Band Secretary on



Finally thanks to all those who made our recent Coffee Morning a great success – thank you once again for all your support – it is greatly appreciated.