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Issue 6066

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Tributes after death of John Cunningham

Friday 16 October, 2020

Members and friends of Newmains and District Band were devastated to receive the news recently that long-serving player John Cunningham had passed away.

A local boy, John first joined Newmains in the mid-1960s and went on to play in various sections, train the junior band, serve on the committee and even conducted the band at concerts and contests.

Work commitments led to John having an enforced break from banding for a few years but he was delighted when his children Katie, then Joseph, showed an interest in playing and joined Broxburn and Livingston Band. He took this opportunity to kick-start his own playing career and soon became a fixture of the band’s cornet section.

The Newmains Band folded in 1995 but, 20 years later, John volunteered to be one of the small group of enthusiasts who felt the time was right to reform and was able to share the success enjoyed by the ‘new’ band in recent years, including Scottish and national titles.

Another memorable moment for John came in September 2019, when he was presented with his Scottish Brass Band Association 50-year service medal by cornet legend, Phillip McCann.

Michael Marzella, musical director of Newmains and District Band, told British Bandsman: “John was one of the key members involved in resurrecting the Newmains and District Band. He was a dedicated and enthusiastic player, always willing to pass on his musical knowledge and advice, and lessons – often humorous – from his banding experiences. I was privileged to know John as a fellow 'bander' but more importantly, as a loyal friend sharing in our successes with the band. John will be greatly missed by his many banding friends and acquaintances.”

John’s passing leaves a void, not just in Newmains, but across the Scottish banding community.