Making music since 1890 Registered Charity SC0324238
The Kirkintilloch Band - Musical Director - Hedley Benson Teaching and performance of Brass Music since 1890
The Kirkintilloch Band was formed in 1890 with funds provided by public subscription and is still a self supporting organisation. Their first contesting appearances were in the 2nd Section Championship in 1898 and 1899. However it was not until around 1948 that their contesting prowess came to light. The band progressed through the sections in the 1950s and 60s. They made their debut in the 1968 National Championships in the Royal Albert Hall.
Over the years many Conductors and Musical Directors have influenced the musical direction and teaching at Kirkintilloch, Hugh Forbes, Tommy Learmouth, David James, Peter Wilson, Charles Keenan, Matt Siddell, Alex Fleming, Selmer Simonsen, Jim Smith, Steve Bastable, Paul Drury, Alan Fernie, Richard Evans, Nigel Boddice, Russell Gray, Garry Cutt, Frank Renton, Luc Vertommen, Philip McCann, Alan Ramsay, Craig Anderson, Paul Holland, Chris King, Dave Roberts, Ray Munday, Craig Roberts, Gareth Bowman, Raymond Tennant, Willie Tennant. Eoin Tonner and many others.
The appointment of Prof. Walter B Hargreaves as Musical Director marked a turning point in the band’s history when it won the Scottish Championships in 1984 and 1985 under his guidance. ‘Kirkie’, as they are known in the banding fraternity, won the Scottish Championship in 1990 and 2002 conducted by Frank Renton. Success at the Scottish Championships meant further appearances in the National Finals in the Royal Albert Hall and to the band competing in the European Championships in Copenhagen (1985), Wales (1986) and Rotterdam (1991) Luxembourg (1995) Bergen (2003) and Stavanger (2008) In 2001 they won the Grand Shield Contest in Blackpool conducted by Alan Ramsay, which qualified them to take part in the British Open Championships for the first time in their history.
In September 2004 Steve Bastable conducted the band at the British Open Championship when they were place 4th; this was undoubtedly the bands best result since its formation in 1890. In 2007 under the leadership of Nigel Boddice they once again became Scottish Champions. In the 2008 Championships Selmer Simonsen was engaged to conduct the band and they were place 2nd and again runner-up in 2009. It the 2008 British Open the band where placed 5th conducted by Selmer Simonsen. In 2013 they again had a very successful year with 2nd place ant the Scottish Championships and the Grand Shield in Blackpool with Conductor Phillip McCann. Then followed representing Scotland at the British Open and The National Championships in London’s Royal Albert Hall. In 2019 the band gained promotion back to the Championship Section after a year in the 1st Section which they won in 2019.
The Kirkintilloch Band has never had the backing of a sponsor, members pay for all trips and visits to Contests in various parts of the UK and Europe.
1. March 'Moray Firth' 2. Flower of Scotland 3 The Wee Cooper o' Fife soloist John Stark 4 Amazing Grace 5 Ecossaise - Bryan Kelly 6 My Love is Like a Red Red Rose 7 Loch Lomond] 8 Intrada Song and Dance 9 Song 10 Dance 11 The Wee Macgregor 12 The Love of my Life Solo Piper Donald MacPherson 13 Scottish Rhapsody 14 Eriskay Love Lilt 15 Land of the Mountain and the Flood 16 Skye Boat song Medley with Piper
Ian was introduced to the trombone and euphonium at the age of eight, by his Father, who at that time was also in charge of the Young Peoples Band, at his hometown Salvation Army Corps at Stockton-on-Tees. At the age of fifteen, Ian moved into the Salvation Army Senior Band at Stockton-on-Tees where he had stints as both principal euphonium and principal trombone.
Ian moved north to Glasgow in 1989, where he continued his Salvation Army banding at Parkhead, Govan and Bellshill, having stints on euphonium, Eb Bass and Bb Bass. It was during this time that the instrument of choice overwhelmingly led Ian to the Bb Bass, appealing back then and even today to him as the best instrument in the band.
Ian moved into the contesting scene in 1996 when joining the Johnstone Band during one of their most successful periods on the contesting stage, and was one of the players who took the stage with the band for the millennium National Finals in the year 2000, held at the Royal Albert Hall, where the band got a credible 4th place in the second section and also being a player in the first ever Johnstone Band to be promoted to the Championship Section.
During his time here in Scotland Ian has also had spells at Dunaskin Doon, Bo’ness & Carriden, Bon Accord and Bathgate band’s, where Ian had the honour of playing in a further four, first section national finals.
Ian joined The Kirkintilloch Band in May 2015, where he was able to make his debut in the British Open at The Symphony Hall in Birmingham in the September of 2015. Ian took a small break from the band in October 2017.
Ian rejoined the Kirkintilloch Band in May 2019 and was excited to be part of the band that competed in the 2019 first section national finals in Cheltenham when the band where placed a creditable sixth place.
Ian now sees The Kirkintilloch Band as his home in Scottish banding and is enthusiastic of passing on all that he has learnt and encouraging new and younger players coming into the band. “We are travelling through a very interesting moment in the band’s history when we hope the current personnel can work successfully together and elevate the band back to the level in banding where it belongs”.
Katy Anderson - Solo Baritone
Katy started playing in 1999. After a couple of years on trumpet, under the tuition of George Annan, moved onto euphonium and joined Perthshire Youth Brass. This eventually led to ‘promotion’ to the senior band and contest debut, Scottish Championships 2004 (on bass trombone!!). She spent periods at Clackmannan District Brass Band and Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass before joining The Kirkintilloch Band in 2011 on 2nd Baritone. Banding highlights include NYBBS tour of Japan in 2008, performing at the British Open with Kirkie. Katy’s most interesting banding achievement to date is to reverse over her baritone in a Vauxhall Corsa after a challenging sectional.
Steve Cochrane - Cornet
Steven was introduced to trumpet at the age of 7, when his elder sister was selected to play at primary school. Always listening in keenly in the next room as she practiced, Steven would sneak in afterwards for a go. By the time he reached selection age, he could already rattle off some scales and tunes, so it was an easy choice for the instrumental teacher (and local brass band legend) Ian MacSween give him a trumpet of his own.
From primary, Steven went to Park Mains High in Erskine, where he continued to develop as a player in a school whose musical reputation was second to none. By 3rd year, Steven was not only playing 1st trumpet in the senior bands at school but was also attending the Junior RSAMD and playing with Strathclyde Schools Symphony Orchestra and Renfrewshire Jazz Ensemble.
On leaving school, he became a professional musician in the Armed Forces, playing all round the world at state occasions and completing his musical studies at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall, London.
After serving eight years as a Forces musician and with children pending, Steven left the military and joined the police. With family and shift work taking priority, there became very little time left for playing, so the trumpet was unfortunately resigned to a case in the attic for the next 25 years.
In 2019, after a chance meeting with a member of Barrhead Brass Band, Steven was asked if he’d help out at the Scottish Brass Band Championships later that year. Having not played for so long, he reluctantly went along to his first brass and rehearsal ever, to find he quite enjoyed it, and more importantly, that he could still make a noise. After helping Barrhead win their section at the Championships, Steven was invited to come along and play for Kirkintilloch where he remains to this day.
John Needham - Cornet & Band Manager
John started playing at Langcraigs Primary School in Paisley where he was taught by the late, great Jimmy Colquhoun. He signed for Kirkie in December 1983 having been a regular ‘dep’ in the preceding 12 months whilst Principal Cornet at Barrhead & District Band. John was at Barrhead for over 11 years. Pretty much an ever present face at Kirkie since 1983, John has played in all of the band’s 5 Scottish Championship wins, their 6 appearances at the European Championships and in each of their 15 appearances at The British Open between 2001 and 2015
Alan Wardrope - 1st Horn
Joined the band in 1979 and made debut at Scottish in 1980 playing 2nd horn. Played Solo Horn with the band from 1982 until 2010 and played in all 5 of the band’s Scottish Championships wins in 1984, 1985, 1990, 1997 & 2007. Have played at Europeans, British Open, National Championships, All England Masters and Brass in Concert with the band and over the years have played many solos at concerts, contests, broadcasts and recordings. Highlights other than the Scottish wins have been 4th places at National Championships, British Open & All England Masters as well as being named in 4BarsRest band of the year in 2005. Have also been a member of the Scottish Quartet title winners on 5 occasions and won the Scottish Solo title in 1999. Other bands played for include NYBBS, Tartan Brass, Frank Renton’s Concert Brass and have guested with many bands including Brighouse & Rastrick, Leyland, YBS, Fodens & Sola Brass. Have played in several countries including Norway, Denmark, USA, Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Favourite conductors over the years have included Walter Hargreaves, Frank Renton, Selmer Simonsen, Allan Ramsay, Gary Cutt & Steve Bastable. Retired in 2010 but couldn’t stay away so have been back on and off for the past decade!
Emma Shanks - Cornet
Originally from Clydebank now lives with her husband Chris in Cambuslang. Emma started playing her cornet at the tender age of 7 at the Salvation Army in Clydebank as part of their junior band. Music plays an important part in Emma’s life, being a member of the Salvation Army has had a huge influence on this with massive opportunities, from her own time as a student at their Summer music camps to UK&Ireland territorial events to world events such as the Rose Bowl Parade in California. Emma started off contesting with the Kirkintilloch Kelvin band in 2008 and then moved, after a short break to get married in 2016, to the Kirkintilloch band in February 2017.
Les Wood - Principal Cornet
I started learning cornet at the age of 10 at primary school and in the Renfrewshire Schools Brass Bands, under the tuition of the great Jimmy Colquhoun, a fantastic teacher who developed so many players who are still playing to this day. I joined Barrhead Burgh Band on back row, then front row cornet, gaining promotion from 4th and 3rd sections in successive years in 1976 and 1977, with Jimmy Colquhoun conducting. I made the move to Kirkintilloch Band in 1979 on front row, and have played with the band ever since. During my time with the band, we have been Scottish Champions 6 times and Scottish Quartet Champions a further 4 times. I have played all over the cornet section at various times as required, from 3rd cornet to principal cornet. I don’t care where I play, just as long as I can play! I’ve been lucky enough to have played under many superb, inspirational conductors (too many to mention) and have had the privilege of sitting in the same band as many fine players over the years. It’s true that the band is your second family, and I feel we have that spirit at Kirkie. I’ve also been lucky to have played at many top international venues, highlights being principal cornet at two European Championships and at two National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall (as well as all the other times where I wasn’t on the end chair – much less scary!). Most of all I’ve been lucky to have known and played with Peter Fraser and Willie Tennant – true legends, without whom Kirkie would not exist!
Kerryn Logan - Cornet
Kerryn is an undergraduate student studying her Bachelor Arts with Honours in Technical Theatre and Production at the University of the West of Scotland due to graduate this summer. She has been studying Technical Theatre since 2014, where she started her career in Stage Management with her first production as a Stage Manager on the play; The Man Who Came to Dinner in the spring of 2016. Since then she has been lucky enough to work on many productions, in a range of different roles with The University of the West of Scotland and Pantheon Theatre Company. Outside university life she is a keen brass musician who has been playing the cornet since the age of seven. Currently she is playing cornet for The Kirkintilloch Brass Band and has done so since April 2018. Alongside Kirkintilloch she plays in the West Scotland Divisional Youth Band of the Salvation Army as well as helping out with our own youth band when possible. During the current pandemic she is broadening skills in areas relating to her future career as well as the band creating content for Social Media.
Chris Ball - Principal Horn
I started on cornet with Bo’ness & Carriden when I was 8yrs old. Progressed from back row to front row, and had a couple of years on Soprano, before moving on to Solo Horn in 1993. Won the Scottish Championship’s with Bo’ness in 1995 and joined Kirkintilloch in 2002 on 2nd horn. Other Bands I’ve played for include Kinneil, Whitburn and NYBBS, as well as guesting for many others. In addition to winning the Scottish Championship’s with Kirkie in 2002 and 2007, I’ve been fortunate to play at The Europeans, British Open, National Championships, All England Masters and Brass in Concert. Best Banding highlight was 4th place at the British Open in 2004, and scariest was in 1991, playing Soprano on Energy at the National Championships in the Royal Albert Hall. I moved on to Solo Horn with Kirkie in 2017.
Graeme Goldie - Percussion
I started playing percussion in the most bizarre circumstances, whilst sitting listening to a rehearsal in 2002 at Coalburn Silver Band, where my dad played at the time. Gareth Bowman, current resident conductor of Kirkintilloch, asked me to 'jump on the kit' to 'play what I can' as they prepared their contest programme for the up and coming contest. They played Rocky, I turned a few heads and I got 'asked' to sign with the band, had my photo taken, before I knew it I was playing at the Scottish a few months later! I spent 6 amazing years at Coalburn, winning lots of silverware. I then moved on to play with Shotts (my home town) under the baton of Mike Marzella, for another 6 years. Whilst playing at Shotts, I received a call from Kirkintilloch to help them at a few contests, namely, West Lothian Challenge... Followed by The British Open! It was a jaw dropping opportunity and saying yes is one of the best decisions I've ever made. In 2015 I took a leap of faith to set up Newmains & District Brass Band, and by 2017 was able to help them become 4th Section British National Champions, which is by far, the best memory of my banding career. I also play Percussion for The Lowland Band for the Royal Regiment of Scotland, and have been given the opportunity to perform in the likes of Gibraltar, Netherlands, Germany with them...Which brings me to the here and now. Rejoining Kirkintilloch in July 2019, I am now part of the Kirky Band Family, and a truly amazing Percussion Section. The Kirkintilloch Band is a fantastic organisation, and it's an honour to be part of it.
Billy McKnight - Percussion
My illustrious brass-playing career started in 1981 at Cumnock Academy. I was given a cornet at first but after a few weeks of intense practice and getting to grips with a 'G', it was taken off me by my brass instructor and I was given a pair of drumsticks instead (wonder why)! My percussion story started with Cumnock Youth Band, playing 'Patterns' at the Scottish Youth Championships and soon after I joined Dunaskin Doon Silver Band. Other bands I've been signed with include Newtongrange, Whitburn, Kirkintilloch, Kirkintilloch Kelvin, Whitburn (again), Newmilns, Co-op, Newmilns (again), Johnstone and Kirkintilloch (again). I've helped out numerous other bands...too many to mention but you know who you are! I've won the Scottish Championships 3 times and my best result is 2nd with Whitburn at the British Open. My favourite test piece is Paganini Variations. Born in Dumfries and raised in Cumnock, I now live in Quarter, near Hamilton with Linda and my 2 boys, Ryan and Stephen. After leaving Cumnock Academy, I studied Applied Physics and Mechanical Engineering at Glasgow College of Technology (now Glasgow Caley) Nicknames I've had through the years (that I can mention) are 'Buffer', 'BillyBongo' and 'RoboBongo'!
Jamie Williamson - Percussion
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Erin Black - Cornet
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David Clark - Euphonium
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Jamie Hoyle - Percussion
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Nina Logue - Cornet
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Rebecca Strang - Trombone
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Dean Logan - Eb Bass
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Sheena Glass - 2nd Baritone
In primary 6, Sheena started playing trumpet in the first group of brass pupils to be taught by peripatetic tutor Jim Polland. A year later he'd formed Paisley Youth Silver band from the schools he taught in. 1982 saw Sheena moved from 3rd cornet to Eb bass just before the band won the 4th section at the Scottish Championships in their first attempt, (A moorside suite) followed by nationals at the royal Albert Hall in London.
PYSB amalgamated with Southside brass circa 1988 and became Riverside Brass.
A few years off during nursing training followed, with return to banding to "help out" Johnstone band for a Christmas concert which turned into several years competing with them. A spell with Barrhead Band was a change of scene, before returning to Johnstone, with a cpl of spinal surgeries along the way. One year at Whitburn Band, playing at RAH nationals (7th, beating black dyke) and winning Scottish Championships the following year, she had to stop for another health incident. 6 years later after not a note blown, Sheena is delighted to be part of banding again as 2nd bari player, after a 5 month stint at Barrhead band on 2nd euph.
Banding has saved Sheena a few times! The friends she's made over the years mean a huge amount to her, more than she'd ever admit...
Steve Paton - BBb Bass
Bio to Follow
Jack Anderson - Cornet
Jack started playing at primary school, following in the footsteps of his sister Katy. They were both taught by George Annan, whose claims to fame included having taught Ewan McGregor the tenor horn, and who got them involved in banding by welcoming them along to Perthshire Brass. Jack first attended NYBBS a few years later, and it was here under the one and only Richard Evans that he enjoyed some of his finest banding experiences. Jack was principal flugel of NYBBS for three years, and also played for Clackmannan Band. After taking several years off from playing whilst training as a professional dancer, Jack came to Kirkie (once again following his sister) in 2017.
Hannah Oman - Soprano Cornet
Inspired by my Mum who Is a Cornet player, I started playing the cornet at the age of 10 under the tuition of Steve Stewart, still one of my biggest playing inspirations to this day. Shortly after starting I joined the Campbeltown Brass Junior Band and enjoyed a successful spell competing with the band before progressing to the senior band. Shortly after joining the senior band I was promoted onto Soprano helping the band work their way to the 1st section and winning the best soloist prize at Fife Brass Band Festival. During my time on Soprano I have been fortunate enough to be a member of all 3 of the National Youth Brass Bands of Scotland bands and to be the recipient of the best student award in 2015. Being a member of NYBBS has allowed to me to work with amazing tutors and conductors which has been a playing highlight for me. In September 2019 after moving to University in Edinburgh to study for my Paediatric Nursing Degree I was fortunate enough to be asked to join the band on Soprano, which has been another of the highlights of my playing career.
Katherine Adams - Flugel
Katherine started playing at the age of 11, cornet was my beginner instrument before being promoted to flugel at the age of 13.
Being English and not in the loop of Scottish banding. I started my playing with the Enderby youth band...at 13 I moved to Ratby senior band in the championship section on flugel. I was a member of the NYBBGB for 5 years and have played with Ransomes band and Carlton Main Frickley. When I was 16 I studied at Chethams school of music and joined Marsden Band until my move to Scotland.
I retired from playing after graduating from the RSAMD for 6 years then Ian Squince persuaded me to play for Kirkintilloch.
Probably my first ever test piece in championship section...Tristan and Isolde alongside Paganini variations and Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
My favorite contest is the Scottish, alongside Blackpool Grand Shield.
My favourite banding moments would be Blackpool Spring Festival in the Grand Shield when I was 15...Major Peter Parks was conducting and gave me a shot of whisky before going on stage with Ransome band as I had a huge solo which went fabulous.
The Yorkshire area contest championship section....there’s no better brass band feeling than being alongside some of the worlds best brass bands...Butlins has also been an experience with my NYBBGB pals as we have many tales to tell also...taking the Kirkintilloch Youth Band to Scottish Youth Championships and getting a gold award was a great honour.
First Recording of The Kirkintilloch Prize Silver Band, recorded in the Adam Smith Hall, in Kirkcaldy, Excerpts from Elijah arranged by Drake Rimmer. Scottish Championships 1965? band Conducted by Hugh Forbes
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Willie Tennant first joined The Kirkintilloch Band in 1937 playing Tenor Horn; he played his first concert with the band in Woodhead Park, Kirkintilloch in the summer of 1938. He was forced to give up playing for a time because of Diphtheria, but rejoined the band in 1942 under the Conductor at that time Tommy Learmouth, this time on Cornet and then he moved to Flugel Horn. Willie took part in his first contest in 1948 in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, in June 1949 he was called up for National Service when he joined the staff band of the Royal Army Service Corps, and while serving, played concerts in London’s Royal Albert Hall on two occasions. He also played with the Aldershot Town Band when serving in the Army. He rejoined Kirkintilloch in June 1951, the same year they won their first 3rd section Championships in the Adam Smith Hall in Kirkcaldy, the band were conducted by Hugh Forbes. Willie then moved on to Euphonium when the band took part in the National Finals in Manchester in 1952. He has served in all the administration posts over the past 70 years and was first appointed Secretary in 1952 at the age of 23, he then moved to Stirling in 1954. In 1958 he stopped playing for a time to take up a youth training course, he then went on to play with Bo’ness & Carriden band from 1959 till 1960, then rejoined Kirkintilloch in 1961. He moved to the Paisley area in 1963 and continued his involvement with The Kirkintilloch Band, or Kirkintilloch Silver Band, as it was known then. When he was made redundant from the Linwood Car Factory he took up a post of Brass Instructor with Lanarkshire Schools until his retirement in 1994. Over the years Willie has conducted Kirkintilloch Senior and Junior Band and had great success, in particular at Solo and Quartet Contests, winning the Junior Quartet Championships in 1971 and the Senior Quartet Championships in the 1980’s, he was also responsible for the teaching of a number of successful solo performers. He moved from Secretary to Treasurer in 1986 and finished playing in the senior band that year and took over the training of the Junior Band. Up until this time he had played in every contest Kirkintilloch Band had entered, apart from one during his national service, and he has a number of Championship Medals from 3rd, 2nd, and Championship Sections. Since 1954 Willie has travelled thousands of miles just to be involve with The Kirkintilloch Band, a devoted servant to the band in his many fundraising activities over the years, and it’s true to say if it was not for Willie Tennant there would be no Kirkie Band. He became involved with the formation Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass in 1994, this came about because of the number of players Willie had taught over a long number of years moving on to other bands, there needed to be a base for all his hard work in Kirkintilloch. Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass has moved up the ranks from 4th section to Championship Section. It was a great honour when Kelvin Brass won the National 3rd Section Championships in 2000, when they performed in the London’s Royal Albert Hall. On this occasion it was a proud day for Willie in Particular as at the age of 70 he was playing Eb bass and his son Raymond was conducting, Willie gaining his first National Championship Medal at 70, not bad! Willie Tennant has taught hundreds of young people over the years, some playing with other bands, some now teaching or performing music, and others have stayed with the Kirkintilloch organisation. In 2001 Willie was presented with the Diploma of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, recognising 64 years of dedication and teaching of young people. Willie was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Scottish Brass Band Association in 2008, he also received the 50 year life members medal in 1994. Willie was Honorary President of The Kirkintilloch Band organisation which incorporates Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass, Kirkintilloch Youth Band. His two sons Ronald and Raymond now earn their living from brass music and responsible for the very successful Band Supplies company. The success of any band depends on loyal faithful servants with a commitment like Willie Tennant has had over the past 92 years, he was been ably supported by his late wife Margaret, sons Ronnie, Raymond, Scott and daughter Arlene. Peter Fraser May 2021