Unforgettable weekend for Fife colliery band

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Dysart Colliery Silver Band has just enjoyed its most successful weekend in just short of 100 years!

Not only did it win its section at the 2017 Scottish National Championships, promoting it to the third section and gaining an invitation to compete at the British National finals in September, but also its tenor horn soloist, Fiona Dick, who is also the band’s chairman, won the medal for the best instrumental performance.

This is the biggest result the band has achieved at national level since winning the third section back in 1921.

The band came second in 1968, gaining promotion, but numbers started to decline and, alongside a lack of financial support, this resulted in it being unable to compete at national level again until a whole decade later.

With the demise of the coal industry, support was limited and it has taken many years to get the band back to strength and to reach a competitive level.

In 2007 Bill Sandell, himself a local bandsman, became the first conductor for many years to get Dysart back on the contest stage with some encouraging results.

He was followed by the late Bruce Fraser, a popular teacher and musical director who enjoyed a career of success in the brass band world.

He built up and developed a core of players to a higher standard of musicianship and achieved a third place at the Scottish Championships in 2013.

Last year, in a bid to cement its growth and win some silverware, the band took on a new, young conductor, Ross Brotherston, who helped restore belief in the band, leading it to wins at the Fife Charities Band and Scottish Challenge contests, but the highlight came on Sunday with the success in Perth.

Iain McAlpine, band secretary, said: “This is the biggest success in my 30 years of working with brass bands.

‘‘To help take what was a struggling group to the heights of a Scottish Championship win was awesome.”

Fiona Dick, chairman, added: “I’m so proud of the band, and all of our supporters, for the effort and commitment shown in the run up to the Scottish Championships. It’s a great result for us and I’m really excited to be going down to represent Scotland at the national finals.”

Rev. Ron Rye, principal euphonium, said: “This is a result which has been years in the making.

‘‘It is a testament to the potential of our group of amateur musicians and the fact that it is beginning to be realised is phenomenal.”

The band will now embark on a programme of fundraising events, before focusing on the finals in September ,when it will be the only Fife representative. If you can help, visit, the band’s Facebook page or email: dysartband@gmail.com.