About Us

Find out more about the Dalkeith and Monktonhall Band and its over 120 year history!

The Dalkeith Trades Band played at a brass band contest in Alloa on 31st May 1890. It’s not known exactly when the band was formed, but earliest records show the band’s predecessor - The Westfield Brass Band – was in existence in 1876, and most likely associated with the workers at a local Carpet Factory.

In 1892 the band led a parade in Dalkeith to welcome William Gladstone to the town. In 1904 the band name changed to Dalkeith and Westfield Trades Band so as to attract wider support. This resulted in a grant being received from the town council in 1905.

After the First World War, another name change saw the formation of The Dalkeith Burgh Band and records show that the band led the town gala day parade in 1929. The Dalkeith Burgh Band took part in a brass band contest on 4th December 1926 in the Dalkeith corn exchange playing “The Magic Flute”. Latterly the band became Dalkeith and Bilston Glen Colliery Band.

In 1918 the miners at the Prestonlinks Colliery near Prestonpans formed a silver band and registered as a competing band in 1921.

The Colliery Band thrived and first contested in the Albert Halls in Stirling on 3rd December 1932 through to the closure of the pit. The bands’ last contest was in Edinburgh in 1964.

After the eventual closure of the Colliery, the band took on the name Prestonpans and District Silver Band until sponsorship from the new Monktonhall Colliery was secured and the band name changed accordingly. First competing at the Scottish Miners Gala Day in Edinburgh on 7th June 1965 under the baton of Jim Fleming, the band continued through to the mid 1980’s, rehearsing in Prestonpans.

The 1980s were, of course, turbulent times for the coal industry and both bands' membership and funding dwindled rapidl.

In 1989 the Dalkeith and Monktonhall bands merged in an effort to avoid complete disbandment. The Monktonhall band had rehearsal premises in Prestonpans, but the Dalkeith band did not have that luxury so the new band – Dalkeith and Monktonhall Colliery – moved lock-stock-and-tuba to Prestonpans, where they remain to the present day.

The amalgamated band first contested in Falkirk on 3rd March 1990 and competed in the National Brass Band Championships in Kensington, London in October of the following year.

The band has competed at and represented the town, East Lothian and Scotland at National and regional contest every year since. The band supports local communities by playing full concert programmes and supporting community and other events throughout the year.

The band has played on TV and radio and has appeared twice in Edinburgh in major stage shows The band is presently financially independent with no major sponsors and also runs a training band which is open to all from 9 years of age upwards.

We are all amateur musicians and everything we earn goes back into the welfare and structure of the band.

The Band actively competes in contests against other Brass Bands from across Scotland and the UK, as it has done in its many guises since the late 19th century.

Brass Bands in the UK contest in a league-based system, where there are five sections - 4th, third, 2nd, 1st and Championship section.
The Band has so far contested at this highest Championship level six times (in 1956, 1957, 1962, 1997, 1998, and 2013) and now in 2022, the Band's second-place at the Scottish Championships sees the Band being promoted once again to Championship section.

The Band will compete at the National Finals in Cheltenham in September 2022 and will compete in the next Scottish Championships in March 2023.


CONTEST RECORDS (Date / Event & Section / Result / Test-Piece / Draw position / Conductor)


DALKEITH & MONKTONHALL BRASS BAND

12th Mar 2022 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 2 Spectrum [Vinter] Draw 1 Jim Chamberlain
7th Mar 2020 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 5 Legacy Draw 4 Jim Chamberlain
28th Sep 2019 Fife Charities Band Association Contest Result 10 Purcell Variations [Downie] Draw 2 Jim Chamberlain
9th Mar 2019 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 6 Symphony of Marches Draw 5 Jim Chamberlain
29th Sep 2018 Fife Charities Band Association Contest Result 4 Ballet for Band Draw 12 Jim Chamberlain
10th Mar 2018 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 8 Brass Metamorphosis Draw 5 Jim Chamberlain
16th Sep 2017 National Championship of Great Britain (Second Section Final) Result 3 Music of a Legacy Draw 12 Jim Chamberlain
11th Mar 2017 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 2 Rhapsody in Brass Draw 2 Jim Chamberlain
19th Nov 2016 Band Supplies Scottish Challenge Result 8 The Saga of Haakon the Good Draw 19 Jim Chamberlain
23rd Apr 2016 Fife Brass Band Festival (First Section) Result 4 Draw Jim Chamberlain
12th Mar 2016 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 10 Essay for Brass Band [Gregson] Draw 8 Alex Knox
15th Mar 2015 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 6 A London Overture Draw 5 Jim Chamberlain
29th Nov 2014 Scottish Challenge Shield Result 10 A London Overture Draw Jim Chamberlain
27th Sep 2014 Fife Charities Band Association Contest Result W Draw
9th Mar 2014 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 6 Cry of the Mountain Draw 10 Jim Chamberlain
23rd Nov 2013 Scottish Open Result 17 Contest Music Draw 3 Jim Chamberlain
10th Mar 2013 Scottish Championship (Championship Section) Result 10 Harmony Music Draw 6 Jim Chamberlain
23rd Sep 2012 National Championship of Great Britain (First Section Final) Result 12 Vivat! Draw 9 Jim Chamberlain
11th Mar 2012 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 2 Mountain Views Draw 2 Jim Chamberlain
8th Oct 2011 Fife Charities Band Association Contest Result 11 Connotations Draw 1 Jim Chamberlain
27th Feb 2011 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 7 Le Carnaval Romain [arr. Wright] Draw 3 Jim Chamberlain
20th Nov 2010 Scottish Challenge Shield Result 4 James Cook, Circumnavigator Draw 9 Jim Chamberlain
25th Sep 2010 National Championship of Great Britain (Second Section Final) Result 13 Psalms and Alleluias Draw 14 Jim Chamberlain
13th Mar 2010 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 1 Kingdom of Dragons Draw 1 Jim Chamberlain
3rd Oct 2009 Fife Charities Band Association Contest Result 8 A Scots Miscellany Draw 13 Jim Chamberlain
24th May 2009 Northern Counties Open Contest Result 7 Draw 7 Jim Chamberlain
21st Mar 2009 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 7 New World Sketches Draw 7 Jim Chamberlain
29th Nov 2008 Scottish Challenge Cup Result 1 Essay for Brass Band [Gregson] Draw Jim Chamberlain
27th Sep 2008 National Championship of Great Britain (Third Section Final) Result 7 Suite for Brass [Rutter] Draw 8 Jim Chamberlain
19th Apr 2008 Fife Brass Band Festival (Third Section) Result 4 Draw 3 Jim Chamberlain
8th Mar 2008 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result 1 The Dark Side of the Moon Draw 10 Jim Chamberlain
14th Oct 2007 Fife Charities Band Association Contest Result 7 Draw 17 Jim Chamberlain
21st Apr 2007 Fife Brass Band Festival (Second Section) Result 2 Draw 2 Jim Chamberlain
10th Mar 2007 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 9 Carnival [Perkin] Draw 10 Jim Chamberlain
26th Nov 2006 Scottish Challenge Cup Result 3 The Plantagenets Draw 5 Jim Chamberlain
14th Oct 2006 Fife Charities Band Association Contest Result 8 Draw 5 Jim Chamberlain
22nd Apr 2006 Fife Brass Band Festival (Second Section) Result 3 Draw 4 Jim Chamberlain
11th Mar 2006 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 7 Images of the Millennium Draw 8 Jim Chamberlain
27th Nov 2005 Scottish Challenge Cup Result 1 Oceans Draw 7 David McLeod
29th Oct 2005 Fife Charities Band Association Contest Result 5 Draw 9 Jim Chamberlain
23rd Apr 2005 Fife Brass Band Festival (2nd Section) Result 3 Draw 5 Iain Fleming
12th Mar 2005 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 10 Variations for Brass Band [Vaughan Williams] Draw 5 Iain Davey
6th Nov 2004 Whitburn Invitation Contest Result 12 Draw 2 Iain Davey
30th Oct 2004 Fife Charities Band Association Contest Result 6 Draw 9 Iain Davey
28th Aug 2004 Brass in the Park - Open March & Hymn Tune Result 11 Draw Iain Davey
25th Apr 2004 Carnegie Invitation Contest (Second Section) Result 2 Draw
13th Mar 2004 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 4 Kaleidoscope [Sparke] Draw 1 Iain Davey
2004 Fife Brass Band Festival (Second Section) Result 6 Draw 4
1st Nov 2003 Fife Charities Band Association Contest Result 7 Draw 14
30th Aug 2003 Brass in the Park - Open March & Hymn Tune Result 13 Draw 17 Iain Davey
24th May 2003 Carnegie Invitation Contest (Second Section) Result 6 Draw 4 Iain Davey
8th Mar 2003 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 8 Celestial Prospect Draw 2 Iain Fleming
3rd Nov 2002 Whitburn Invitation Contest Result 7 Draw Iain Fleming
31st Aug 2002 Brass in the Park - Open March & Hymn Tune Result 1 Draw Iain Fleming
20th Apr 2002 Carnegie Invitation Contest (First Section) Result 4 Draw Iain Fleming
9th Mar 2002 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 9 Royal Parks Draw 2 Iain Fleming
3rd Nov 2001 Whitburn Invitation Contest Result 11 Draw
21st Apr 2001 Carnegie Invitation Contest (First Section) Result 3 Draw Iain Fleming
10th Mar 2001 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 8 The Undaunted Draw 3 Iain Fleming
4th Nov 2000 Whitburn Invitation Contest Result 9 Draw Iain Fleming
19th Aug 2000 Brass in the Park Section B Result 4 Draw 1 Iain Fleming
18th Mar 2000 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 6 Music for the Common Man Draw 1 Gordon Jenkins
8th May 1999 Northern Counties Open Contest Result 4 Draw Alan Fernie
27th Feb 1999 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 8 Kenilworth Draw 8 Euan Drysdale
14th Nov 1998 National Mineworkers (First Section) Result 12 Trittico [Curnow] Draw 12 Euan Drysdale
7th Nov 1998 Whitburn Invitation Contest Result 14 Draw Alan Fernie
22nd Feb 1998 Scottish Championship (Championship Section) Result 10 Montage Draw 10 David Robb
15th Nov 1997 National Mineworkers (Championship Section) Result 11 Salute to Youth Draw Alan Fernie
2nd Mar 1997 Scottish Championship (Championship Section) Result 6 A Lowry Sketchbook Draw 10 Alan Fernie
16th Nov 1996 National Mineworkers (First Section) Result 2 The Belmont Variations Draw Alan Fernie
22nd Sep 1996 National Championship of Great Britain (First Section Final) Result 8 Prisms Draw 11 Alan Fernie
31st Aug 1996 Land o' Burns Result W Draw
24th Feb 1996 Scottish Championship (First Section) Result 1 Spectrum [Vinter] Draw 5 Alan Fernie
25th Nov 1995 National Mineworkers (Second Section) Result The Plantagenets Draw 2 Alan Fernie
22nd Oct 1995 National Championship of Great Britain (Second Section Final) Result 11 The Plantagenets Draw 18 Alan Fernie
9th Jul 1995 Strathclyde Charities Result 3 Draw Alan Fernie
22nd Apr 1995 Carnegie Invitation Contest (Second Section) Result 3 Draw Robert Snowden
26th Feb 1995 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 2 Rococo Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky [Street] Draw 1 Alan Fernie
19th Nov 1994 National Mineworkers (Second Section) Result 4 Chorale Draw 4 Alan Fernie
5th Nov 1994 Whitburn Invitation Contest Result Draw Alan Fernie
23rd Apr 1994 Carnegie Invitation Contest (Second Section) Result 1 Draw Alan Fernie
6th Mar 1994 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 10 A Salford Sinfonietta Draw 2 Alan Fernie
20th Nov 1993 National Mineworkers (Second Section) Result 3 Tournament for Brass Draw 12 Alan Fernie
29th May 1993 Strathclyde Charities Result 7 Draw 10 Alan Fernie
28th Feb 1993 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 5 Oceans Draw 12 Alan Fernie
21st Nov 1992 National Mineworkers (Second Section) Result 3 The Aeronauts Draw 9 Alan Fernie
21st Nov 1992 National Mineworkers (Second Section) Result The Aeronauts Draw 9 Alan Fernie
4th Apr 1992 Newtongrange Silver Band Centenary Contest (Section B) Result 2 Draw Paul Dickens
7th Mar 1992 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 4 Dimensions Draw 8 Paul Dickens
16th Nov 1991 National Mineworkers (Third Section) Result Culloden Moor Draw 7 Paul Dickens
5th Oct 1991 National Championship of Great Britain (Third Section Final) Result 11 Variations [Phillips] Draw Paul Dickens
2nd Mar 1991 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result 3 Triptych [Sparke] Draw 14 Paul Dickens
24th Nov 1990 Forth Valley Championships Result 19 Snowdon Fantasy Draw 19 Paul Dickens
17th Nov 1990 National Mineworkers (Third Section) Result Snowdon Fantasy Draw 2 Paul Dickens
3rd Nov 1990 Whitburn Invitation Contest Result 16 Draw 18 Paul Dickens
10th Jun 1990 Scottish Miners Gala Contest Result Draw Paul Dickens
3rd Mar 1990 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result 5 Divertimento [Barry] Draw 3 Paul Dickens
21st Oct 1989 National Mineworkers (Third Section) Result 8 Concertante Music Draw 8 David Robb
17th Jun 1989 Scottish Miners Gala Contest

MONKTONHALL COLLIERY BAND

1989 Scottish Championship (3rd section) Result 13 Draw 1 David Robb
1987 Scottish Championship (3rd section) Result 9 Draw 4 Robert Snowden
1986 Scottish Championship (3rd section) Result 4 Draw 12 Robert Snowden
1985 Scottish Championship (2nd section) Result 11 Draw 9 Robert Snowden
1984 Scottish Championship (2nd section) Result 13 Draw 10 Robert Snowden
1983 Scottish Championship (2nd section) Result 13 Draw 11 Robert Snowden
1982 Scottish Championship (2nd section) Result 9 Draw 11 Robert Snowden
1981 Scottish Championship (2nd section) Result 7 Draw 7 Joseph Hempstead
1980 Scottish Championship (3rd section) Result 2 Draw 4 J Fleming
1979 Scottish Championship (3rd section) Result 5 Draw 6 J Fleming
1978 Scottish Championship (3rd section) Result 5 Draw 1 J Fleming
1977 Scottish Championship (3rd section) Result 3 Draw 10 J Fleming
1976 Scottish Championship (3rd section) Result 3 Draw J Fleming
1975 Scottish Championship (3rd section) Result 8 Draw J Fleming

DALKEITH & BILSTON GLEN COLLIERY

1989 Scottish Championship (3rd section) Result 12 Draw 8 M Thomson
1987 Scottish Championship (3rd section) Result 5 Draw 8 John Dickson

DALKEITH BURGH BAND 1924 - 1989

4th Mar 1989 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result 12 Three Memories for Brass Draw 8 M. Thomson
22nd Oct 1988 National Mineworkers (Third Section) Result 13 This Happy Island Draw 2 M. Thomson
18th Jun 1988 Scottish Miners Gala Contest Result Rhapsody in Brass Draw David G. Wright
7th Mar 1987 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result 5 Scottish Festival Overture Draw 8 John Dickson
8th Nov 1986 National Mineworkers (Third Section) Result Hinemoa Draw 6 John Dickson
13th Sep 1986 Fife Charities Band Association Contest Result Draw 11 John Dickson
14th Jun 1986 Scottish Miners Gala Contest Result Draw 3 John Dickson
1st Mar 1986 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result 10 Suite in Bb [Jacob] Draw 4 John Dickson
30th Nov 1985 Forth Valley Championships (Third Section) Result 1 Draw 3 John Dickson
30th Nov 1985 Forth Valley Championships (Open Section) Result 11 Draw 13 John Dickson
2nd Mar 1985 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result 8 A Barchester Suite Draw 7 John Dickson
1st Dec 1984 Forth Valley Championships (Third Section) Result 1 Draw John Dickson
6th Oct 1984 National Championship of Great Britain (Fourth Section Final) Result Second Suite in F Draw 14 John Dickson
3rd Mar 1984 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result 1 Divertimento [Ball] Draw 8 John Dickson
3rd Dec 1983 Edinburgh Charities Contest
12th Mar 1983 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result 4 First Suite in Eb [arr. Herbert] Draw 13 John Dickson
4th Dec 1982 Edinburgh Charities Contest John Dickson
13th Mar 1982 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result 4 Excelsior [Hanmer] Draw 12 John Dickson
8th Mar 1980 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result 6 Overture to Youth Draw 2 Robert Reid
15th Dec 1979 Edinburgh Charities Contest Result Labour and Love Draw Robert Reid
3rd Nov 1979 National Mineworkers (Fourth Section) Result Labour and Love Draw 2 Tom Martin
21st Apr 1979 Carnegie Invitation Contest (Fourth Section) Result 1 Draw Robert Reid
10th Mar 1979 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result 5 The Winter's Tale Draw 2 Robert Reid
11th Mar 1978 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result 12 Mexican Fiesta Draw 2 Robert Reid
13th Mar 1976 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result 11 Promenade Draw 12 William Telfer
11th Oct 1975 National Championship of Great Britain (Fourth Section Final) Result Salzburg Suite Draw William Telfer
5th Apr 1975 Carnegie Invitation Contest (Fourth Section) Result 2 Draw
15th Mar 1975 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result 2 The Seasons [Carr] Draw 10 William Telfer
4th May 1974 Carnegie Invitation Contest (Fourth Section) Result 1 Draw William Telfer
16th Mar 1974 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result 5 Four Little Maids Draw 1 Robert Gray
21st Apr 1973 Carnegie Invitation Contest (Fourth Section) Result 1 Draw
15th Apr 1972 Carnegie Invitation Contest (Fourth Section) Result 1 Draw
17th Apr 1971 Carnegie Invitation Contest (Fourth Section) Result 3 Iolanthe (selection) Draw 1 Robert Gray
27th Mar 1971 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result 13 The Ancient Temple Draw 5 Robert Gray
2nd May 1970 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result 14 A Rural Suite Draw 3 Robert Gray
18th Feb 1967 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result 4 Eine Kleine Nachtmusik Draw 8 Robert Gray
29th May 1965 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 8 Romeo & Juliet [Gounod arr. Hawkins] Draw Robert Gray
20th Feb 1965 Scottish Area Qualifying Finals (Second Section) Result Old English Suite: Three Castles Draw 7 Robert Gray
23rd Feb 1963 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result Spring Song Draw 1 Robert Gray
24th Feb 1962 Scottish Championship (Championship Section) Result 18 Salute to Youth Draw 7 Robert Gray
2nd Dec 1961 Edinburgh Charities Contest
15th Oct 1960 National Championship of Great Britain (Second Section Final) Result Second Organ Sonata Draw 23 Robert Gray
19th Mar 1960 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 2 Gallions Reach Draw Robert Gray
5th Sep 1959 Galashiels Contest Result 3 Draw Robert Gray
14th Mar 1959 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 9 Yorkshire Ridings Suite Draw 3 Robert Gray
7th Dec 1957 Scottish Championship (Championship Section) Result 18 The Moor of Venice Draw
23rd Feb 1957 Edinburgh Charities Contest Result Draw 9 Robert Gray
1st Dec 1956 Scottish Championship (Championship Section) Result 17 Themes from Symphony no. 9 [Beethoven] Draw 11 Robert Gray
27th Oct 1956 National Championship of Great Britain (Second Section Final) Result Sirius [Wright] Draw Robert Gray
12th Nov 1955 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 1 Snowdon Fantasy Draw Robert Gray
29th Oct 1955 National Championship of Great Britain (Third Section Final) Result Three English Pictures Draw Robert Gray
30th Oct 1954 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result 1 Crown Cavalcade Draw Robert Gray
10th Apr 1954 Edinburgh Charities Contest Robert Gray
3rd Oct 1953 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result Rhapsody on Negro Spirituals Draw
4th Oct 1952 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result 8 Three Songs without Words Draw
20th Sep 1952 National Championship of Great Britain (Fourth Section Final) Result Wayside Scenes Draw 5 Robert Gray
29th Sep 1951 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result 2 The Black Prince Draw Robert Gray
25th Feb 1951 Edinburgh Charities Contest Robert Gray
16th Sep 1950 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result 11 The New Age Draw
1st May 1950 Scottish Miners Gala Contest
25th Mar 1950 Scottish Area (Daily Herald Qualifying) Contest, Fourth Section Result 4 May Day Draw Robert Gray
24th Sep 1949 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result 6 The Unknown Warrior Draw
14th May 1949 Scottish Area (Daily Herald Qualifying) Contest, Fourth Section Result Pride of the Forest Draw
20th May 1939 Edinburgh Charities Contest
5th Dec 1936 Scottish Championship (Fourth Section) Result The Call of Youth Draw
3rd Dec 1927 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result 19 Dinorah [arr. Godfrey] Draw
4th Dec 1926 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result Magic Flute [unknown arranger] Draw
23rd May 1925 Newtongrange Contest
22nd Nov 1924 Dalkeith Contest

PRESTONGRANGE WELFARE / MINERS / SILVER BAND

21st Apr 1934 Edinburgh Charities Contest
19th Nov 1932 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result La Traviata [arr. Godfrey] Draw
7th Nov 1931 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result Il Bravo [arr. Godfrey] Draw
18th Apr 1931 Edinburgh Charities Contest Result Draw 2 James Jardine
8th Nov 1930 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result La Favorita [arr. Godfrey] Draw
9th Nov 1929 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result The Marriage of Figaro - selection Draw
10th Nov 1928 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result 3 Der Freischütz [unknown arranger] Draw 17 James Jardine
24th Oct 1925 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result 5 Highland Memories Draw 13 R. Malcolm
23rd May 1925 Newtongrange Contest Result 4 Draw R. Malcolm
20th Oct 1923 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result Daughter of the Regiment [arr. Greenwood] Draw
24th Feb 1923 Edinburgh Contest
15th Oct 1921 Scottish Championship (Third Section) Result Giralda [unknown arranger] Draw

DALKEITH TRADES BAND

6th Oct 1906 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result Il Barbiere [arr. Winterbottom] Draw
3rd Oct 1903 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result Gems of Scotch Melody Draw 1 Thomas Moore
26th Oct 1901 Scottish Championship (Second Section) Result Melodies of Europe Draw
10th Aug 1901 Loanhead Contest Result 3 Draw Thomas Moore
15th Jun 1901 Musselburgh Contest Result Beauties of Bellini Draw Thomas Moore
11th May 1901 West Calder Result 2 Draw Thomas Moore
31st May 1890 Alloa Contest
16th Jul 1887 Bonnyrigg Contest Result 2 Leonora Draw 6 Alexander MacDonald