FLOURISHING REED BAND SET FOR SPRING CONCERT
he Linlithgow Reed Band’s Spring Concert takes place in the Academy Theatre at 7pm on Sunday 25th March. In this article, the
President, Jonathan Molloy previews one of the highlights in the Band’s busy calendar.
If it is a few years since you last attended a Reed Band concert, or if you have never been, then you will be amazed by the scene at Linlithgow Academy Theatre on the evening of Sunday 25th March. Not so long ago, we used to think we had a good attendance at our weekly rehearsals if we had twenty players. This was when we shared the small hall at Barkhill Road with the town’s Air Training Corps. However, in the time that Lex McDowell has been our Bandmaster, playing numbers have grown in all sections so that we regularly have over forty players at rehearsals and there will be a band more than 45 strong at the Spring Concert. We have long since moved our rehearsals to a bigger venue at Linlithgow Academy.
The increased playing strength of the band gives us the opportunity to broaden our repertoire. Recent concerts have seen specially arranged swing numbers with guest vocalists, well known pop tunes and challenging contemporary Concert Band music played alongside popular and enduring band favourites.
This year’s concert will offer exciting new pieces to appeal to all tastes. The most unusual of these will be MAZAMA - commissioned by an American High School Band in honour of a Native American tribe. It features astounding percussion instruments and atmospheric layers of sound and chanting. It will certainly be a bit different from the Roke!
The Reed Band is also heavily involved in West Lothian’s twinning arrangement with Hochsauerlandkreis in Germany and to mark this year’s fortieth anniversary of the relationship, a selection of German music will feature in the programme.
More than one third of the current Reed Band have ‘graduated’ from the development wing - the LRB Training Band - conducted by Theresa McSherry, a graduate of the
prestigious Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. The Training Band will also be performing at the concert and now has more than 40 active players of all ages - a far cry from its humble beginnings in 2008 with six players. Some have learnt to play their instruments from scratch in the Beginners’ Section ; others are adults returning to musical instruments that they last played at school.
One unanticipated feature of the extended playing opportunities across both bands has been the number of families that have become involved. Children and their parents are taking up instruments enthusiastically and enjoying making music together.
The Training Band members have performed at the Scottish Concert Band Festival for the last two years and their progression was highlighted by them meriting a silver award in 2011 compared to a bronze plus award in 2010.
A third development section - the Intermediate Band - was formed in January 2012. This acts as a bridge between the Beginners’ section and the Training Band and gives those just setting out on their musical journey the chance to play
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