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Coalburn keeping the music playing

Monday 27 July, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic may have prevented members of the Coalburn band family from meeting for weekly rehearsals but the South Lanarkshire organisation has found new ways of engaging to ensure that the music continues.

Bronze Band members have been issued with concert pieces arranged by conductors David Fehilly and Gareth Bowman. In order to help them learn their parts, a group of Silver Band members recorded the music with which they could play along. Silver Band conductor Gareth Bowman has been designing and leading online guided practice sessions to support Silver and Intermediate band members with their home practice routines.

Meanwhile, the Percussion Academy has also been meeting regularly online to continue lessons with tutor, Caitlin Monaghan. Caitlin will soon be leaving the organisation as she is relocating to start a master’s course at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. A spokesperson for Coalburn said: “We would like to take this opportunity to wish Caitlin the very best in her studies and thank her for all of her work with our percussion academy over the past two years – she is going to be greatly missed.

“We have had fantastic engagement and positive comments to our virtual recordings. The Intermediate Band, alongside Leadhills Silver Band, produced a performance of A Song for Health by Steven Verhelst. This was followed by the Silver Band’s recording of Alan Fernie’s arrangement of the Madness song, Baggy Trousers, a piece of music that the band is heard playing during our summer engagements.”

The spokesperson continued: “Thank you to all our supporters who liked and shared our video. A huge thank you to our conductors Gareth Bowman and David Fehilly, who both spent countless hours working on these recordings and thanks also to our flugel player Calum Miller, who worked on the videos. Calum has also been busy coordinating Intermediate and Silver band player profiles that were added to our Facebook page in March and April.

“We were so disappointed that Stonehouse, Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill, Douglas and Coalburn gala days, as well as Lanimer Day in Lanark, were cancelled this year and look forward to returning to these events next year. With funding from Foundation Scotland we are looking forward to playing six new arrangements of popular music at these summer engagements."

Coalburn members have also been meeting online for band quizzes, an EGM, an AGM and regular committee meetings. A further boost came when the band received funding from South Lanarkshire Council’s Renewable Energy Fund to help compensate for some of its lost income during the pandemic.

The spokesperson concluded: “The whole Coalburn brass band family extends our best wishes to all our supporters and fellow bands throughout the UK during this unprecedented time and we thank all frontline workers for their efforts against COVID-19. We hope that we can resume rehearsals and perform for our audiences as soon as it is possible to do so.”

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