We entered Autumn with a great evening of music at the Eastgate. The audience was treated to a great selection of music from top class traditional marches, music from the musicals with West Side Story, some great Beatles numbers – and some fantastic more relaxed melodies in the form of Sleep and Irish Melody.
“Highly enjoyable” “A great evening” “A fantastic selection”
The evening featured The Silver Band, Youth Band – and the Senior Band.
As well as the fun evening of music we’ve also been running the Grand Draw with a range of great prizes. The winners are:
Grand Prize Draw – Winners
£200 – Cliff Balson, £100 – Sophie Ward-Murray, £50 – Louise Ballantyne
The Band were out in force this morning on Peebles High Street. Entertaining shoppers with some pretty cool playing of popular numbers like “Sweet Caroline” and “Yes Sir! I Can Boogie” as well as Scottish favourites like Sunshine on Leith and that well known march Ingleside.
We made a good collection for band funds and quite a number of people wanted to enter the Band raffle.
But what made the morning especially fun was the traffic works going on in Peebles right now. Apparently a manhole cover needed to be fixed – necessitating endless lines of stationary traffic backing up along the High Street. But, in the 26 degree heat, at least they could wind their windows down and listen to the music – as many did. Some almost looked disappointed when the lights changed to Green.
Our new conductor Vaughan Fleischfresser has an impressive name – and an impressive background (as you can read below)- but his friendly and encouraging style ensures that band rehearsals and concerts are always fun.
Originally from Australia and now residing in Scotland, Vaughan has a broad range of teaching experience, ranging from Primary through to University level, Instrumental through to Community Music, and everywhere in between. Vaughan studied both Music and Education at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane (Australia), where he studied under Dr Ralph Hultgren.
This was then followed by a Master of Music Education, majoring in Instrumental and Vocal Education, at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago (USA), where he studied under Dr Charles Menghini and Dr Robert Sinclair.
He has worked extensively throughout Australia, Scotland, and North America, in positions such as Teacher of Music, Director of Bands, and Teaching Fellow of Music Education.
Vaughan currently teaches music at the Edinburgh Academy in Scotland, having most recently been the Teaching Fellow of Music Education and the University of Edinburgh. In addition to this, he is the Conductor of the Peebles Concert Band and the Peebles Burgh Silver Band and works extensively with Community Music groups throughout Scotland.
Away from the classroom and podium, Vaughan is in great demand as a clinician, adjudicator, composer, and educational speaker, having spoken at conferences in Scotland, England, South Africa, Canada, and Australia.
July and August are relatively quiet months for the band with many members taking time off for holidays and the Beltane Festival and the likes all over for another year, but we are never idle, there is always something else round the corner.
We have had one or two smaller, but non the less important, outings recently, playing on Tweed Green and The Tontine Square recently during the UCI cycling event, and at the Agricultural Show last Sunday.
We are now back from holidays, well mostly, we are rehearsing our exciting programme for our Autumn Concert which will be held on Friday 15th September 7.00pm at Eastgate Theatre, Peebles.
Please come along and enjoy the show, tickets available from any band member. We are also preparing for The Borders Entertainment Competition which will be held this year in Selkirk on 4th November, more details in next issue.
There is an event in the brass band calendar called NYBBS (National Youth Brass Bands of Scotland) which is held annually at Strathallan School, this year from Sunday 30th July – Saturday 5th August, it is residential so all attendees stay on site in the school dorms. Over 180 kids from all over Scotland attended this year including our young, and very talented, Euphonium player James Grassick was fortunate enough to attend.
The kids work very hard with first rehearsals starting at 9.00am often working through to 9.00pm, with time off through the day for fun, such as silent disco, sports etc, they are tutored by top class educators and conductors, a tremendous experience for them all. James had a fantastic week learning and playing with likeminded kids who are passionate about music and making lots of new friends, something he will remember for the rest of his life.
On the last day the band that James was in played at the opening fanfare for the Edinburgh Festival, then bussed back to Perth to play in the closing concert at Perth Concert Hall, what a week.
James can be seen here second on the right on the photo below.
Peebles Burgh Siver Band are always on the lookout for players, young and older, learner or experienced. Insltruments, lessons and uniforms provided free of charge, if you or anyone you know is interested please contact us here, Facebook, or through any member.
August saw the band returning to the Peebles Agricultural Show – a large and well attended event held just outside Peebles at Horsburgh Ford.
As well as the many farm animals, the show is also a chance for many local small businesses and other community organisations to share what they’ve been up to. These included the band’s very own resident artist and celebrated pet portrait painter, Eilidh Geddes.
Perhaps the most notable event was an escaped bull in the main arena. With its long and very pointed horns it was a fearsome beasty. But its handler did the right thing and lay motionless until others were able to get it under control. Compared to that, the bands marches were perhaps a little less stirring, but nonetheless entertaining.
As the summer sun sizzled, our Youth Band, under the direction of David Robb, has been out in force, playing concerts, taking part in workshops and marching at Beltane.
A key highlight has been our Silver Squad, who stomped their presence on the scene this term. Made up of our newest Youth Band members, these young people have been practicing hard throughout the winter months and made their debut performance at the Peebles Concert Band concert, before delivering another outstanding performance at the Peebles Burgh Silver Band concert in June. Their enthusiasm was infectious, and they soon had the audience stomping and clapping along to their performances. We look forward to seeing a lot more from these promising musicians.
The band was pleased to be invited to play at the Peebles Concert Band concert in early June at the Eastgate Theatre. Both our Youth Band and Silver Squad played, with the Muppet theme tune being a personal favourite. The Youth Band thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to play alongside and experience the music of the Concert Band – a big thank you to them for inviting us and to their (and our!) band conductor, Vaughan Fleischfresser for stepping in to conduct at the last minute.
We move on to the Peebles Burgh Silver Band concert, where the Youth Band played to a packed hall. Many of the more senior members of the Youth Band have transitioned to the senior band and this link was obvious to see, with so many of our members playing with the senior band at the concert. Particular mention to Malkie and Ben, who are the most recent young players joining the senior band ranks. A special thanks also to former Youth Band member, Lucy, who has been helping with the Silver Squad and was rather thrown in at the deep end at both concerts.
And of course, we can’t have a summer term without mentioning Beltane. The sun shone (mainly!), the town was decorated red and white and the band has been out in force. Not to be left out, our Youth Band joined the senior band at the Apprentice Ride Out, leading the young riders through the streets of Peebles. On a sweltering summer’s evening, our Youth Band members, Fraser and Sophie, made their debut marching appearance, pulling it off with aplomb.
Further afield, a strong contingent of our players took part in the Scottish Borders Brass Band Association Workshop in Galashiels, enjoying the opportunity to play with other musicians from across the Borders. The MacArts was packed for the final performance and it is clear there is a strong youth band contingent across the Borders. A group of our more experienced players also played with the Scottish Borders Youth Brass Band at Selkirk Silver’s concert in May, again enjoying playing with other Borders musicians. We look forward to being part of many more of these workshops and events in the future.
As the dust settles and the red and white flags have been packed away for another year, we move to a well-earned summer break. We wish James the very best at the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland (NYBBS) summer course at Strathallan – we hope you have a great week.
Saturday is the highlight of the week for all those involved in the Peebles Beltane Festival Week. This is the ‘big day’ for the Beltane Queen, but most of all this is the ‘big day’ for the hundreds of school children who have been given costumes to wear with pride when they march down the High Street; stand on the Church steps, watch while the Beltane Queen is being crowned, and then show their enjoyment by waving and cheering from decorated lorries as they parade through the town.
The Peebles Burgh Silver Band is the town band – it leads the grand procession and plays whilst the Queen is being crowned.
Once all the children are assembled on the church steps at the end of the High Street the assembled audience await the arrivale of the Beltane Queen and her court.
Led by the Cornet and Cornet’s Lass who are on horseback, the Beltane Queen arrives by carriage for her coronation.
Once crowned, all the children move to a series of floats for the Grand Procession.
On the Wednesday of Beltane Festival Week the Band paves the way for the Cornet’s Installation and Ride Out. We start the evening at the Chambers Institute and lead the principles and public to the Church Steps for the Installation.
At the church steps the Cornet is installed, the Cornet’s Lass is installed, as are their Supporters. The Cornet and his Lass are installed by the Beltane Festival Chairman and the Cornet’s Lass pins the Cornets ribbon to the Flag. This is known as Bussing the Colours. All duly installed, the Cornet, Supporters and followers mount horses and proceed to ˜Ride the Marches”. Each year more than 250 horse riders can be seen enjoying the spectacle that is commonly known as the “Ride Out”.
Once the horses have started on their Ride Out the Band is bussed to Neidpath Castle to play at the Warden of Neidpath’s installation. Here’s a picture of the Band playing in front of the Castle – note, this picture was taken when creating a special video for the town following relaxation of COVID when Beltane had to be cancelled.
In September 2022 the Band were lucky enough to be invited to return to the Europäische Blasmusikfestival (European Brass Music Festival) in Bad Schlema, Germany. With many bands invited from across Europe, only two were invited from the Anglo Celtic Isles – Peebles, and the Irish Friendly Band. Bands varied from town and nationally-renowned amateurs to professional bands such as the the Bundespolizeiorchester Berlin.
The festival is spread over four days and the organisers arranged all local travel, accomodation and refreshments. The festival is held in a huge temporary performance arena that was typically full of up to 5,000 keen audience members – as well as many stalls selling typical German food – and of course beer.
Bands played on two stages – one at each end of the performance arena. One playing whilst the other set up. This led to the spectale of audience members moving up and down the arena depending on the band playing. Huge screens were erected and the bands televised to help reduce this – but it was still quite some sight to see the rush of Germans whenever we struck up – particularly when joined on stage by the Tweedale Pipe Band who joined forces with us.
We typically plaid in both daytime and evening – with changing audiences as the day progressed (rapidly getting younger as the evenings progressed!). The atmosphere was fantastic – with audience members dancing (on and off the trestles) and joining in with the drinking songs (or Tom Jones, in our case). Check out our highlights video:
We also marched around the town that the Festival is hosted in – and helped out with leading the dancing when the need arouse. Here are some of the Band members accompanying the Irish Friendly Band. We shared accomodation with the Irish and even helped each other out on stage from time to time!