A SPECIAL milestone for a community project, and a Fife arts venue, will be celebrated later this month.
On Valentine’s Day last year, The Lochgelly Centre re-opened following an extensive refurbishment. One week later, community music project, The Band, was born.
The project, run by ON at Fife and Jazz Scotland, has engaged people from the communities of Lochgelly, Cardenden, Cowdenbeath, Kelty and the surrounding areas, in an innovative programme of adult music education and performance.
The project is made up of different groups – a community choir, samba drumming group, a brass section and a community band.
Lesley McNaughton, project manager, said: “Around 180 people have been involved in the project. We have 128 people who joined in learning instruments and singing in the choir, while another 60 people took part in the musical theatre part of the project, ‘Banned: The Belt’, which was a huge success and sold out six performances. It’s been a fantastic year. It’s been absolutely crazy.
“Some people who came along had never touched instruments or hadn’t been in a group situation like this before, but now they have been out and about performing.”
The Band members have performed to over 5000 people in the last year at various festivals and events, including a visit to the Scottish Parliament.
Lesley continued: “February to June was learning the instruments and there were lots of nerves, but after the summer, having been out most weekends performing to the public and being appreciated, the confidence levels have greatly increased.It’s great to see them perform and enjoy themselves.”
During the last 12 , the group have hosted and performed a number of their own events, including a Samba Party in December. Now members are keen to continue and have formed a committee to take the project forward in 2013 and beyond.
“The samba night at the end of the year was designed to mark the end of the year,” explained Lesley. “But 128 people just didn’t want to stop, so we had to start looking at ways to keep it going. When that amount of people still want to keep going it’s not something that should end.
“It’s been so successful and meant so much to the people coming along, it was always the intention to have it keep going, run by a voluntary committee, and that’s what we’re trying to do.
“We have been lucky enough to get support from the Council to help keep going in the short term, but the group are looking at ways to raise money for themselves and are applying for grants.”
And the first fundraiser is a concert on February 26 to mark a year since its creation and a year since the re-opening of the Lochgelly Centre.
The Band will be joined by guests, Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra (FYJO) Combo, Drumatik, the Central Fife Community Music Group and dancers from Lochgelly Centre based Move On.
Packed with love songs, there will be everything from jazz to disco to Elvis on offer and an extra special surprise finale.
Tickets are available from the Lochgelly Centre by calling 01592 583303 or visit www.onfife.com.