Catch up here with all the latest Band news!

March 2024

As usual following Christmas the band turned its attention to the Scottish championships preparing Philip Sparke's Variations on an Enigma. We would like to say a big thank you to all the hard work that went into the weekend from not only the players but also our MD Jim Chamberlain who puts in so much work for the band and to Paul Holland for coming up and working with us at our rehearsal weekend.

Our attention now turns to preparing for our annual concert in St Mary's Church in Haddington in May. Tickets are available here.

End of year 2023

Following on from our summer break the band were hard at work preparing for the second half of the year.

First up in August was our annual trip to Gullane games completing our gala days for the year. Our attention then turned to preparing concert programs and getting ready for the Scottish Open in November as well as taking part in events at Prestonfield House supporting their Lunch with an Old bag and Crystal Ball events. We also enjoyed performing at St Mary's church to help raise money for the East Lothian Messenger and performing at Newhailes music festival.

The Band worked very hard preparing for the Scottish open and came a very impressive 6th place competing against some very good quality bands. Please have a listen to our performance on our youtube channel.

Finally we rounded our year off with Christmas. Once again we thoroughly enjoyed being asked to take part in the Sick Kids Christmas Concert before hosting our own family Christmas concert in Haddington where we were delighted to surprise our band chair Jim Henderson with his lifetime membership to SBBA for 50 years service to Scottish brass banding.

Thank you for all your support over the last year and we look forward to seeing you at our events in 2024.

May and June update

At the start of May, we took part in the coronation celebrations providing music at Prestonfield House Hotel's garden party. Two weeks laters we were out again taking part in Port Seaton's gala day parade. We Finished May off with our own concert in Haddington. It was a great night and we really appreciated so many people turning up to listen to us.

June saw the band take part in two more galadays, first up as our local parade in Prestonpans and we finished June off with Loanhead gala day (I think this was the hottest weather the band has ever matched in).

We are now taking a short break over the summer holidays but will be back to rehearsals at the start of August. We'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us in any way over this busy time and look forward to seeing you at our concerts and community events later in the year or the Scottish Open contest in November.

Scottish Championships 2023

We attended the Scottish Championships in Perth Concert hall today with a view of doing our best to remain in the championship section. We decided to do a little better than that and came an amazing FOURTH overall! An incredibly difficult section to get into and even more difficult to stay in, so to manage this placing after being out of the section for 10 years is amazing!

A huge thanks must go to our MD, James Chamberlain for everything he has done for us over the years. A special mention to Paul Holland for working with James and the band over our rehearsal weekend and to the commitment from all the players and their families.

The Dalkeith Drum

During the move to our new rehearsal room in 2021 the band discivered a very old bass drum striking artwork and historical significance to the modern band. One of the options available was the BBC's show 'The Repair Shop' where old and treasured items are repaired and restored. In early 2022 Heather and Jim Henderson, Secretary and Chair respectively of the Band, contacted Ricochet - the company that produces The Repair Shop for the BBC.

I am pleased to say 'The Repair Shopp' decided it was very interesting and have done a fantasic job in restoring it. Please click here to read the full story. Alternatively you can watch the episode on BBC iplayer here.

Christmas update

The band rounded off the year with a busy Christmas schedule. On 27th November we started the season off with Dunbar Christmas lights switch on. This was very well attended and the band really enjoyed taking part and supporting the community.

Next up was Sick Kids concert. The band has played at this wonderful event for many years now and without a doubt it's one of our favourites. Finally the band wrapped up Christmas with our concert in St Mary's church in Haddington (we even got a visit from Santa himself).

The band now have a well earned rest before rehearsals start back in January for the Scottish Championships. Everyone in Dalkeith and Monktonhall Brass Band would like to wish you a merry CHristmas and happy new year!

National Finals

Dalkeith and Monktonhall Brass Band proudly represented East Lothian and Scotland at the National Brass Band championships of Great Britain (section 1) held in Cheltenham where we took 11th place against a very strong competition field. Although the band was disappointed with the result, we take great pride in our live performance of James Curnow's 'Trittico' - a recording of which is available on the band website.

Our preparations, journey and event participation could not have happened without the support financially and commitment of the band players, their families and our supporters who generously made donations. The band Musical Director Jim Chamberlain, band trustees, committee and players would like to thank everyone who helped. Thanks also to the Prestonpans branch of the British Legion who made a donation and to the Peoples Postcode Lottery who underpinned the cost of our efforts.

The band is stronger for the experience as we enter the championship section and now looks forward to a few days rest, then preparations for their busy autumn and winter schedule.

Summer 2022 update

After the last few years of disruption it has been great to be back out supporting our local community galas again. Summer is always a busy time for the band and we enjoy being part of the local community. After busy June playing at events including our local gala in Prestonpans and joinig the parade at Loanhead gala day the band enjoyed a break in July. Despite not playing at events or having full rehearsals in July we kept ouselves busy with sectional rehearsals preparing for the national championships in September. We rounded off the summer season at Gullane Games. The band has played there every year since 1971 so it was great to be invited back again.

2nd Place at the 2022 Scottish Brass Band Championships

The Band are delighted to have been awarded 2nd place at the Scottish National Brass Band championships in Perth. The award means that the band will be promoted to the Championship section, and receives an invitation to compete at the Vinter's Spectrum is 12 minutes of sublime craftsmanship brimming with new ideas and textured colours.

Seven movements of musical synaesthesia deliver variant wavelengths of the continuous spectral rainbow – red segueing into a languidly rhythmic ‘Orange’, a bright, brittle ‘Yellow’, a pastoral, flowing ‘Green’ and a playful, chilly ‘Blue’, the darkly playful 'Violet' waltz and a final dramatic and disturbing 'Indigo'. Spectrum was also scored for percussion instruments - this was the first time that this had been required at the championships, which were held in Manchester's Belle Vue in 1969.

Four of the 21 invited bands pulled out as they struggled to master its complexities, and of the 18 that competed on the day (on a stage in the King's Hall that had to be extended for the extra percussion instruments & players), it was Grimethorpe Colliery under the baton of George Thompson who lift the trophy for best Band in Great Britain. Carlton Main Frickley took 2nd place followed by Fairey Aviation. It had defeated World champions Brighouse & Rastrick and the defending UK champions, Black Dyke, both of which were placed far down the rankings.

2022 has seen Spectrum performed once again across the UK, but this time by bands in the first section - an extraordinary challenge, but one which the best bands in every region have more than delivered upon.

Plans start for the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain 2022

The Band has received an invitation to compete at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, which will be held over the weekend of the 17th and 18th of September 2022 in the Centaur Auditorium at Cheltenham Racecourse.U to 64 Bands from the regional championships held in London & Southern Counties, Midlands, North of England,North West, Scotland, Wales, West of England and Yorkshire will be competing over the weekend for trophies in each of four sections. Dalkeith & Monktonhall will play in the top - 1st Section. The Test-pieces will be announced in April, giving the Band some time to prepare for the September event. As Cheltenham itself has little in the way of hotel accommodation, as each of the regional championships reveal their eight invitee bands, there is a stampede to locate hotel premises as near to Cheltenham as posible for the weekend. In previous years, we have had to travel in from our accommodation in Tewkesbury. The Band will also be working hard to try and raise funds for the considerable extra costs involved in taking 28 musicians and their instruments to Gloucestershire for the weekend!

New Band Rehearsal Premises

The band now has new premises on the upper floor of the former Red School, Kirk Street, Prestonpans EH32 9DY. The premises comprise two main halls - one that has been set up specifically for rehearsals with sound-deadening acoustic panels and curtains - and a second general-purppose hall that currently houses the band's music library. A separate cafe and kitchen provide ample facilities for socialising, and the band also have an office and various storage facilities in the building. The band committee and members are working hard to renovate the building through decoration, installation of energy-saving lighting, fire safety equipment and security systems, and are actively seeking grants and financial support to be able to upgrade the building to be properly fit for purpose (e.g. proposed installation of building accessibility facilities)

Evening Concert, St. Mary's Church, Haddington

The Band were delighted to be able to host the first Concert of the year once again in the fantastic surrounding of Scotland's largest Church - St. Mary's, on Hardgate in the historic town of Haddington. This year, Haddington is celebrating its SeptCentenary receiving a charter granted by Robert the Bruce to the Scottish town in 1318, confirming its status as a Royal Burgh, and Haddington700 is a year of planned celebrations to mark the occasion.

Our Concert reflected this celebration with a trip through the musical ages, from early baroque to modern times. We were particularly delighted to have our Training Band with us, who played a number of pieces to start the second half of the programme, and who joined us for our Finale piece!

The 1318 charter is the oldest document cared for by East Lothian Archives and at the time it was granted, the town of Haddington had already been a burgh for 200 years. An older charter granted by King David I had been lost, and so the Bruce charter reconfirmed Haddington's right to hold a market and collect customs.

The charter, which with its accompanying seal has been conserved by National Records of Scotland, is written in Latin on vellum. It was kept by National Records of Scotland until 2012, when the John Gray Centre opened.

The Haddington 700 celebrations include Concerts like our own Brass Band night at St Marys, and exhibitions, school storytelling, archaeological geophysical surveys, as well as numerous events planned by more than 35 community groups including a film festival and art exhibitions.

2018 Scottish Championships Result

The Band spent the New Year working on the test piece for the Scottish Brass Band Championships. James Curnow's Brass Metamorphosis is a challenging work consisting of a theme and variations. Although quite complex to play, particularly for soloists around the band, we were very pleased with progress leading to the day of the Contest. Alas, it was not to be our year as the Band were placed 8th. Hopefully we have done sufficiently well to remain in the 1st Section for the forthcoming year, and we very much look forward to the challenges of future Contests in 2018!

Band Awards Night 2018

The Band's 2018 Awards Night was very entertaining with music, quiz and bingo to while away the time until the awards were announced! This year, Morven Findlay (Solo Horn) won the coveted "Player's Player of the Year" trophy, the Basses won the "Best Section" prize, Most Improved Player went to Paul Swan (Repiano), the "Bandsperson of the Year" was awarded to Michael Findlay for his great work in support of the Band in the past year, and The Chairman's Award went to our Treasurer, Craig Savage for his excellent back-of-house work.

Awards were also given to members of the Training Band. For the First Class, "Performance Awards" were won by Grace Millar, Anna Clark, John Neilson, Findlay Taylor, Duncan McWilliam Snow, Chris Neilson and Brodie Wallace, and the "Most improved Player" was awarded to Brodie Wallace.

For the Second Class, "Performance Awards" were won by Ben Neighbour, Andrew McWilliam Snow and Harvey Taylor. The "Most improved Player" was awarded to Ben Neighbour, and the "Bandsperson of the Year" was awarded to Harvey Taylor.

The "Adult Performances Awards" were won by Hugh Richards, Neill Robertson, Charlotte Taylor, Tim Neighbour and Walter Clark.

Congratulations to everyone on their individual and collective awards, and to their great contributions to excellent music-making within the two Bands!

2018 Scottish Championships Result

The Band spent the New Year working on the test piece for the Scottish Brass Band Championships. James Curnow's Brass Metamorphosis is a challenging work consisting of a theme and variations. Although quite complex to play, particularly for soloists around the band, we were very pleased with progress leading to the day of the Contest. Alas, it was not to be our year as the Band were placed 8th. Hopefully we have done sufficiently well to remain in the 1st Section for the forthcoming year, and we very much look forward to the challenges of future Contests in 2018!

2017 British Championships - Silverware for the Band as they secure 3rd place at Cheltenham!

The Band is stunned with its third-place result at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, held in Cheltenham on the 16th September, Playing "Music of a Legacy" by Steven Ponsford. A great result reflecting a huge effort by all of the band, both in the time and dedication put into reheasals and also a massive commitment to help raise the necessary funds to make the trip possible. Special thanks goes to those who provided donations and organised sponsored events. You can hear our performance on the official Kapitol webiste by clicking on this link Dalkeith & Monktonhall Brass Band playing Music of a Legacy by Steven Ponsford, National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain 2017

2017 Scottish Championships - Band bounces back to the 1st Section!

The Band was delighted in its performance at the recent Scottish Brass Band Championships, which were once again held in Perth Concert Hall. A solid and musical performance of Dean Goffin's masterful "Rhapsody In Brass" secured second Place and an invitation to compete at the National Brass Band Championships in September of this year. The band are committed to making the journey south, and have already started on making the necessary arrangements, and thinking about fund-raising for the approximately £14,000 it will cost to take the Band to the event!