We have a rich history, dating back to the early 1900’s. More recent times has seen the introduction, and success of our youth bands. Find out more about us here.
Brass Bands have had a long history in Loanhead and the surrounding district. Before the First World War, the local band was the Polton Mills Band. It was a most successful group of musicians, even winning the Scottish Championship title in 1904. The band however disbanded, probably during the 1914-18 War.
The Early Years
Sometime thereafter, the Loanhead Ex-Service and Burgh Band was formed. The Second World War brought that to an end and the instruments were stowed away under the platform in the Loanhead Town Hall. In 1943, a concert party from the local engineering works, MacTaggart Scott & Company were rehearsing in the Town Hall. They came across the stored instruments and approached the Town Council with a view to forming a ‘works band’. Thus, the present band was born and known for many years as MacTaggart Scott Works Band.
The Mid 20th Century
During the 1950’s and 60’s approximately half the members were employees of the company. Today however we have no employees in our number. Band members now travel from all over the Lothians and beyond.The first female player, Charlotte Forsyth, joined the Band in the late 1960s and may be seen in the above photograph together with her daughter Charlotte and husband Ronnie. At the Scottish Championships in 2014 ten of the 28 brass players on stage were women. In the current Loanhead Brass Roots organisation girls outnumber boys by more than two to one!
By the early 1980’s the Band was no longer contesting but, under the baton of Mr William Ross, it started competing again in the Scottish Championships in 1989. In 1992 it became Scottish 4th Section Champions for the second time under the musical direction of Mr Stephen Callaghan who is pictured above with the Band on Loanhead Children’s Day that year. The 4th Section trophy may be seen being held by Emma Douglas and Susan Brown (second from right on first row). Susan is one of six players in the photograph who are still registered members of the current Band.
Turn of the Millenium
In 1992 the band was promoted from the Fourth to the Third Section in the Scottish Championship. We have worked hard ever since to gain promotion to the Second Section. This feat has eluded us on occasion by only one point. Another recent success was topping the third section in ‘Brass in the Park’, Newtongrange in 2002.
Our Junior Band, ‘Loanhead Brass Roots’ was formed in March 2002, and have participated in each of our Friends and annual concerts since formation.
All three bands have gone from strength to strength in recent years. Having come second in the 2014 4th Scottish Regional Championships, the Mactaggart Scott Loanhead Band where promoted to the 3rd section and fundraised to complete the trip down to the National Finals that took place in Cheltenham in September 2014 – seeing them come 10th out of 19 bands. The same result as in 2011!
Not to be outdone the Roots and Rootlets bands were fielded into the 2009 and 2010 Scottish Youth Championships, and many Gold and Silver awards have been achieved over the years. One particular highlight was the Novice Section winning performance by Loanhead Brass Roots in 2008. It was fitting that in 2012, the 10th Anniversary Year, that Mr Alan Fernie should conduct Loanhead Brass Roots to victory in the Novice Section at the Scottish Youth Championships.
In addition to help young brass and percussion players to improve their playing skills, Mr Alan Fernie has begun to provide Youth band players with opportunities to coach and conduct the youngest players. Both Metis Denton and Andrew Pennycook have done excellent work in this respect and Andrew conducted Loanhead Brass Roots to win a Silver Award in the Preparatory Section at the 2013 Scottish Youth Championships.