The sound of brass this Christmas ...

Buckhaven & Methil Miners Brass Band Christmas Concert at Buckhaven Theatre 2015
Buckhaven & Methil Miners Brass Band Christmas Concert at Buckhaven Theatre 2015

Since the 1970s, Buckhaven and Methil Brass Band has been competing across the country and delighting audiences with its live performances.

And off the back of another hugely successful Christmas Concert in Buckhaven earlier this month, the band is preparing for a packed out show at Wellesley Parish Church on Friday to help raise funds for a brand new hall.

For the band, Christmas provides an opportunity to showcase the talents of its players. There are currently 35 members, ranging from teens to those in their 60s.

Jim Hyslop, band secretary, explained: “Christmas is a really busy time for us.

“We’ve had to turn down as many things as we’ve taken on, and the bridge closure is causing us quite a lot of chaos because we have members who travel from places like Alloa, Falkirk and Dunfermline.”

The band was formed in 1976, following the amalgamation of Buckhaven Town Band and Wellesley Coillery Band, which both had a history of great success in competitions across the country.

And this is something Buckhaven and Methil Miners Brass Band has continued to do over the last 40 years, earning promotion to the Scottish third section following their win in Perth earlier this year.

The last 12 months have proved extremely busy, with a packed out summer season at fayres from Whitburn to Kelty, and just last month, there was jubilation again, after the band was crowned winners in the annual Borders Brass Band entertainment contest.

The band’s programme of five pieces, including the theme from Star Wars, the hymn ‘Abide with Me’ and the big-band classic ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing’, proved a huge success with the judges and it was announced winner in the fourth section.

As is tradition, the band played at the annual Remembrance Service at Wellesley Parish Church, which is where they will return to this weekend for a festive treat.

“We have a great relationship with the church and we’re offering the band for free to help raise as much money as possible for the hall fund,” said Jim, who started playing with Wellesley Coillery Band aged just eight.

Band members should definitely be in the Christmas spirit already, following their successful Christmas Concert at Buckhaven Theatre on December 6.

Jim said: “We’ve been doing this in conjunction with CLEAR for the last six years, and that’s proved a great partnership. It was a complete sell out at Buckhaven Theatre and turned out really fantastic.”

Buckhaven and Methil Miners Brass Band Christmas Concert at Wellesley Parish Church takes place on Friday at 7.30pm. Tickets, priced £5, include mince pies and shortbread.

As 2016 – and the band’s 40th year – approaches, Jim explained that there’s no view to slowing down. The band will travel to Pitlochry next month for a masterclass with conductor Richard Evans, ahead of the Scottish Championships in March.

Jim says it’s never too late for local people to get involved, with the band always keen to welcome new members. “Whatever your ability, whether you’re a complete beginner or have played before, maybe in school, we have guys who can train people and work with them.

“We try to keep the ethos of the miners band true, so that everyone can participate, and if someone is really keen to play, they can. Our band is open to anyone, eight to 80.” For more, call Jim on 01333 422379.