Fife’s first female brass band is blowing its own trumpet!

Carol and Aileen at the Old Kirk. Photo by George McLuskie
Carol and Aileen at the Old Kirk. Photo by George McLuskie

Women from all over Fife have been instrumental in setting up the region’s first all-girl brass band.

And Fife Ladies’ Brass is about to hold its first charity concert in Kirkcaldy’s Old Kirk this weekend, with all proceeds being divided between our Maggie’s Centre and Cancer Research Edinburgh.

Aileen Russell

Aileen Russell

The idea to form an all female band came about last summer when Carol Sandell, who plays with Kingdom Brass, read about a ladies brass band in England which had raised a huge amount for breast cancer research.

Carol (56), from Rosyth contacted her friend Aileen Russell (63), who plays with the Tullis Russell Senior Band, and put forward the idea of starting up a similar venture in Fife to give something back to the community.

They sent out invitations to all eight brass bands around the region and were astounded to get feedback from over 50 ladies.

“We had expected maybe 20 or 30 at most, so we had quite a job finding a hall big enough to rehearse in,” said Aileen, who lives in Star of Markinch.

The first rehearsal took place in September last year and since then Fife Ladies’ Brass has held another two rehearsals, with one more scheduled before Saturday night’s performance in the Old Kirk.

“We initially planned to do a one-off concert to raise money for the two cancer charities because most of us have been affected by cancer in some way – including three of our own band members,” added Aileen.

“The rehearsals have been such fun that everyone has asked if the band can continue after Saturday’s concert, so we have decided to do one concert a year for charity,” said Carol.

“There’s a lot of work involved in organising the rehearsals around all our own band practices, so it would be too much to try to do more than that.

“We have ladies from 14 to 64 from all walks of life from all over Fife and it has been great to bring everyone together. We have a great laugh and everyone gets on well.”

Aileen and Carol, who both have medals for 40 years service to brass bands, have enlisted the help of four males to play the bigger instruments, and the band is conducted by Anne Crookston from West Lothian.

Saturday’s programme is very varied, with everything from big band numbers to pop tunes, musicals and spiritual music.

“We decided to have our first concert in the Old Kirk because it is a really good venue and a nice size – not too big to fill,” said Aileen.

“We are very excited and everyone has been practising hard in between rehearsals, so we’re hoping for a good night.”

Tickets priced £10 are available through the Fife Ladies’ Brass Facebook page and the concert starts at 7.30pm.