West of Scotland BBA

Honorary President: James Stewart

President: Carrie Boax | Telephone: 07769260912

Secretary: Laura Galbraith | Telephone: 07455323874

Treasurer: Jean Mullin


ENTRIES are open for the 2015 West of Scotland Solo and Ensemble contest, which is to be adjudicated by Black Dyke baritone star, Katrina Marzella.

More information on the event, which is taking place on Saturday, October 31, is available here

Entry forms can be downloaded online and sent, along with cheques, to: WoS BBA, 38 Fox Street, Greenock PA16 8SY. The deadline for entries is Saturday, October 24.


Solo contest

Participants are welcomed to compete in one of the following three solo categories:

Junior: A player who is 12 years and under on August 1

Intermediate: A player who is 16 years and under on August 1

Youth: A player who is 21 years and under on August 1.


Ensemble contest

Ensembles are also invited to compete in one of the following categories:

Junior: Players who are 12 years and under on August 1

Intermediate: Players who are 16 years and under on August 1

Youth: Players who are 21 years and under on August 1

Open: For players of any age (subject to number of entries received).

Ensembles can contain up to five brass players and a conductor (optional) representing either a school or band.




Thank you to all of you who came along to support the recent WoS Solo & Ensemble contest and a massive congratulations to those who took part. I think we can all agree that the standard was exceptionally high, with a very strong group of young musicians going forward to the finals in February. Let's bring some Silverware back to the West of Scotland!

I know that this year's contest took a slightly different format to that of previous years and that many of you had thoughts about the changes. If you have any comments or feedback from the event I would really appreciate if you can pass this on to me ASAP to give me a chance to review the contest before the upcoming AGM.

This year's Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday, December 8 in Paisley Scout Hall at 7:30pm. I would like to encourage representatives from every band in the area to come along. This is YOUR area association so your opinions and thoughts matter.

As you know I am only interim secretary as this post is an elected one. All posts on the committee. including secretary, will be elected at the AGM. If you think you or someone if your band can make a valuable contribution to the work of the WSBBA please make sure you come along. If your band is unable to send a representative to the meeting but you have issues you would like raised/discussed, please send details on to me before the day of the meeting and I will pass it on to those in attendance. Minutes shall be circulated via e-mail and made available on the WoS page of the SBBA website.
If you haven't done already, be sure to follow the West of Scotland page on facebook for all the latest events and news!

As always I can be contacted on 07455 323 874.

Kind Regards,

Laura Galbraith
WoS Secretary


WOS Solo & Ensemble contest held in the Salvation Army Hall in Kilmarnock on Saturday 25th October. with an entry of 20 solists and six ensembles a good standard of playing was heard by adjudicator Eoin Tonner, the accompanist was Alan Hastie

Results Junior Ensembles
Draw - Band - Award - Place

1 Coalburn Bronze gold 2
2 Campbeltown Junior Quintet gold 1

Junior Solos
Draw - Name & Instrument - School/Band - Award - Place

1 Caius Walker-Trombone Campbeltown Brass SILVER
2 Jack Archibald-Euphonium Coalburn Bronze Band SILVER
3 Euan Court-Eb Bass Coalburn Bronze Band gold 3
4 Niamh McLellan-Baritone Campbeltown Brass BRONZE
5 Kyle Patterson-Tenor Horn Campbeltown Brass gold
6 Sarah Jamieson-Cornet Dalmellington Junior Band BRONZE
7 Erin Black-Cornet Kirkintilloch Junior Band SILVER
8 Aimee Wilson-Cornet Dalmellington Junior Band BRONZE
9 Erin McLellan-Cornet Campbeltown Brass gold 1
10 Amy Paterson-Tenor Horn Campbeltown Brass gold 2

Intermediate Ensembles
Draw - Band/School - Award - Place

1 Cambeltown Brass A GOLD 1
2 Campbeltown Brass B GOLD 2

Intermediate Solos
Draw - Name & Instrument - School/Band - Award - Place

1 Calum Blair-Trumpet Barrhead Burgh Band GOLD 2
2 Olivia McCutcheon-Euphonium Dalmellington Band GOLD 1
3 Suen Yee Walker-Baritone Campbeltown Brass BRONZE
4 Owen Pickering-Bass Trombone Campbeltown Brass SILVER 3
5 Emma Blain-Tenor Horn Dalmellington Band SILVER
6 Paul Jamieson-Bb Bass Dalmellington band SILVER

Youth Ensembles
Draw - Band/School - Points - Place

1 Dalmellington Band A 97 1
2 Dalmellington Band B 80 2

Youth Solos
Draw - Name & Instrument - School/Band - Points - Place

1 Lynsey Brown-Cornet Dalmellington Band 81 3
2 Rebecca Wilson-Cornet Dalmellington Band 90 1
3 Duncan McCluskie-Bb Bass Dalmellington Band 80 4
4 Karin McKenzie-Tenor Horn Dalmellington Band W/D
5 Dan Eddison-Trombone Dalmellington Band 88 2
6 Fiona Kennedy-Cornet Dalmellington Band W/D

First 3 in each section qualify for the Besson Solo & Ensemble Finals
On 7/8 February 2015 in Howden Park Centre Livingston


Next event the area Brass@Bard Youth Band Contest - date still to be confirmed



Message from Carrie Boax President of WOSBBA - 18th July 2014

Hi folks
It is with great delight that I am pleased to announce that Laura Galbraith has accepted the invitation to stand as secretary for our association. I am certain that Laura shall be a valuable asset to the committee and look forward to working together on future projects.

Honorary President - James Stewart

President - Carrie Boax
Secretary - Laura Galbraith
Treasurer - Jean Mullin

Committee - Tom Allan, Andrew Smith, Peter Fraser, Robert McCorkell, others to be co-opted.




RESULTS Solo & Ensemble 26th October 2013 in Kilmarnock, Adjudicator Alan Fernie, Accompanist Alan Hastie
Held in the Salvation Army Hall Kilmarnock on Saturday 26th October, Adjudicator Alan Fernie

Junior Solos

Draw - Name & Instrument - School/Band - Award - Place
1 Amy Paterson-Flugel Horn Campbeltown Brass Gold 3
2 Euan Court-Eb Bass Coalburn Bronze Band Gold 2
3 Erin McLellan-Cornet Campbeltown Brass Gold 1
4 Sarah Jamieson-Cornet Dalmellington Gold
5 Hannah Oman-Cornet Campbeltown Brass W/D
6 Erin Black-Cornet Kirkintilloch Youth Band Silver
7 Siobhan Crumlish-Cornet Brass Sounds Inverclyde Silver

Intermediate Solos

Draw - Name & Instrument - School/Band - Award - Place
1 Rebecca Wilson-Cornet Dalmellington Band Gold 1
2 Innes Roy-Euphonium Campbeltown Brass Gold 2
3 Olivia McCutcheon-Euphonium Dalmellington Band Silver
4 Owen Pickering-Bass Trombone Campbeltown Brass Gold 3
5 Erin Jones-Cornet Dalmellington Silver

Intermediate Ensemble

Coalburn Bronze Band Gold 1

Youth Solos

Draw - Name & Instrument - Points - Place
1 Lynsay Brown-Cornet 97 1
2 Duncan McCLuskie-Bb Bass 96 2
3 David McLean-EbBass W/D
4 Amy Leitch-Cornet W/D


Future Events for West of Scotland Band Association

Saturday 25th October Area Solo & Ensemble Contest
in Kilmarnock Salvation Army



Brass @ the Bard's 2013

Contestants and Performance Times

Novice Section (commences 11.00)
1. Coalburn Bronze
2. Levern Valley Community Brass

Preparatory Section (commences 11.50)
1. South Ayrshire Youth Brass Band B
2. Riverside Youth Preparatory Band
3. Gorbals Youth Brass Band
4. KIrkintilloch Junior Band

Development Section (commences 13.15)
1. South Ayrshire Youth Brass Band
2. Kirkintilloch Youth Band
3. Creetown Junior Band
4. Argyll Brass

Senior Section (commences 15.00)
1. Dalmellington Junior
2. Riverside Youth Senior Band

Awards at 15.50

You should be at the venue in good time for your performance.

SN Percussion Ltd Instrument Hire
(Based in Livingston, West Lothian)
Tel: 07711 956308 e-mail: snpercussion@gmail.com
Web: www.snpercussion.co.uk

Brass at the Bards Youth Contest

Sunday 24th March

List of Percussion provided:

Majestic Timpani x 4 (23", 26", 29", 32")

Timpani Stool

JAM Glockenspiel (2 ½ Octave, Wide Bar)

Adams Xylophone (3 ½ Octave)

Yamaha FRP Orchestral Snare Drum (13") & Stand

Majestic Concert Bass Drum (32")

Dream Energy Clash Cymbals & Cradle (18")

Dream Energy Suspended Cymbals (16" & 18")

Dream Chau Tam Tam & Stand (32")

Pearl Export 5 Piece Drum Kit with Zildjian ZXT Pro Cymbals

Trap Trays x 4


Contest Details

Contest Venue
The contest will be held within the dramatic new Burns Birthplace Museum. This is the first time we have used this facility, and ask for your patience and forbearance should any unexpected difficulties arise. For the benefit of your bus driver's satellite navigation system, the full address is:

Burns Birthplace Museum
Murdoch's Lone,
South Ayrshire
01292 443700

There is sufficient parking for 5-6 buses at the Museum complex, with overflow parking available at Burns Cottage (800 metres away).

The Contest Area
The contest will be held in an outdoor roofed area at the rear of the main building. It will be excellent if the weather is fine, as well as dry if it rains. However, if conditions are cold on the day, your players should wear appropriate clothing.

Warm-up will be on-stage, prior to performing, and each band is allocated up to five minutes for this.

After performing
Because of pressure of space, your band should immediately return instruments and other equipment to your bus, so you should ensure that you have your diver's mobile number.

Players and Adult Tickets
Bandsmen's Wristbands are available at a cost of £2. Accompanying Adult and Child
Wristbands are available at a cost of £5 and £2 respectively. All of these include
entry to both the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and the Robert Burns Cottage.
You should note that, for entry to the Museum or Cottage, those under the age of 16
must be accompanied by a responsible person. Wristbands should be ordered from
me soon (with the appropriate payment) for them to be available on your arrival. This
will also help the Museum caterers with their numbers.

This should be sent to me by 15 March.
You should note that my address is slightly different from that on the web-site:
Professor Raymond Thomson
Flat 7/1
82 Templeton Street
G40 1EE Telephone 0141 552 0282


RESULTS of West of Scotland Solo & Ensemble
Kilmarnock Salvation Army Saturday 27th October 2012

Adjudicator Anne Crookston - Accompanist Alan Hastie

Junior Solos
Name & Instrument - School/Band - Draw - Result
Iona McVicar-Horn Campbeltown Brass 1 - Gold - 2nd place
Amy Paterson-Flugel Horn Campbeltown Brass 2 - Gold - 3rd Place
Emma Blain Dalmellington 3 - Silver
Lucy Kerr-Trombone Campbeltown Junior Brass 4 - Silver
Morgan Tait-Cornet Airdrie Academy 5 - Bronze
Erin McLellan-Cornet Castlehill PS Campbeltown 6 - Bronze
Sarah Jamieson Dalmellington 7 - Bronze
Caius Walker-Trombone Campbeltown Junior Brass 8 - Bronze
James Walker Dalmellington 9 - Bronze
Archie McVicar - Eb Bass Campbeltown Brass 10 - Gold 1st
Suen Yee Walker-Baritone Campbeltown Junior Brass 11 - Silver
Olivia McCutcheon Dalmelington 12 - Silver

Intermediate Ensemble
Band/School - Draw
Campbeltown Junior Brass B 1 - Silver - 2nd
Dalmellington 2 - Gold - 1st
Campbeltown Junior Brass A - Bronze - 3rd

Intermediate Solos
Name & Instrument - School/Band - Draw

Tanya McDonald-Cornet Campbeltown Brass 1 - W/D
Paul Jamieson-Cornet Dalmellington 2 - Bronze
Fiona Kennedy-Cornet Dalmellington 3 - Silver
Lynsay Brown-Cornet Dalmellington 4 - Gold - 1st
Innes Roy-Euphonium Campbeltown Junior Brass 5 - Gold - 3rd
Rachel Jones-Cornet Dalmellington 6 - Gold - 2nd
Beth Mitchell-Horn Dalmelington 7 - Silver
Owen Pickering-Trombone Campbeltown Junior Brass 8 - Silver
Rebecca Wilson-Cornet Dalmelington 9 - Gold
Jayne Crawford-Cornet Caldervale High 10 - Silver
Clair Getchell-Euphonium Caldervale High 11 - Silver

Youth Ensemble
Dalmellington 1 - 190

Youth Solos
Name & Instrument - Draw
- Result
Scott Kerr-Newmilns & Galston-Euph 1 - 190 - 3rd
Amy Leitch - Co-operative - Cornet 2 W/D
Calum Tonner-Kirkintilloch-Cornet 3 - 196 - 1st
Duncan McLuskie-Dalmellington- Bb Bass 4 - 188
Chris Robertson-Kirkintilloch- Euph 5 - 191 - 2nd




Message from Carrie Boax President of WOSBBA

Hi folks
It is with great delight that I am pleased to announce that Raymond Thomson has accepted the invitation to stand as secretary for our association. I am certain that Raymond shall be a valuable asset to the committee and look forward to working together our future projects.

Raymond Thomson Secretary WOSBBA

West of Scotland Band Association committee at 20th January 2012

Honorary President - James Stewart

President - Carrie Boax
Secretary - Raymond Thomson
Treasurer - Jean Mullin

Committee - Tom Allan, Andrew Smith, Peter Fraser, Robert McCorkell, others to be co-opted.



Report on West of Scotland Brass Band Association Open Workshop with Philip Harper

20111105162420.jpg - Philip Harper

The workshop with Philip Harper on 14th January went very well, only disappointment was the number of people who attended. About 60 people in all attended over the morning and afternoon sessions,  this excellent workshop was organised jointly by the West of Scotland Band Association and the Scottish area of the National Association of Brass Band Conductors, but many more bands could have benefited from the excellent presentations from Philip Harper.

The West of Scotland Association would like to thank Brian Deans for his organisation of the workshop, which was organised for all bands in Scotland. Thanks also to the Johnstone Silver Band for their contribution.

Peter Fraser has kindly agreed to represent The WOS on the SBBA executive, Brian Deans recently stepped down from WOS committee,  thanks to Brian for his hard work and dedication to WOSBBA whilst in post as secretary since May 2011. His driving force is a loss to the organisation and we wish him every success for the future.


On Saturday 14th January 2012 the West of Scotland Brass Band Association is promoting an Open Workshop

for bands throughout Scotland covering two of the chosen test-pieces for the Scottish Championships 2012.

The event will be held in The National Piping Centre in Glasgow and the guest for the day will be Philip Harper the composer of the 3rd section work, Olympus. As well as covering his own composition, Philip will also be working on Cross Patonce by Goff Richards, the choice for the 2nd section.

A morning session (10.30 - 12.30) will work on Cross Patonce and an afternoon session (1.30 - 3.30) will be on Philip's own music Olympus. It's planned each work and will include preparing and rehearsing the piece, points of interest from both adjudicating and conducting aspects and an insight into the background of the work.

The No.6 Area of the NABBC is helping to promote the event and there will be breakout sessions for members of the Association.

The Workshop is open to all interested parties, players and conductors, and both Associations are keen to encourage a large attendance for this unique experience of working with the composer of one of the set works.

For further information contact West of Scotland BBA Chairman Carrie Boax on chboax@gmail.com



RESULTS of the Solo & Ensemble contest held on 29th October 2011

Junior Ensembles
1. Levern Valley Community Brass

Junior Solos
1. Iona McVicar (Campbeltown Brass)
2. Jayne Crawford (Caldervale High School)
3. Ewan Howie (Levern Valley Community Brass)

Gold Awards
Archie McVicar (Cambeltown Brass)
Innes Roy (Campbeltown Brass)

Silver Awards
Emma Bannatyne (Campbeltown Brass)
Owen Pickering (Cambeltown Brass)
Kirsten Souter (Campbeltown Brass)
Morgan Tait (Dunrobin Primary School)

Bronze Awards
Louise Sneddon (Dunrobin Primary School)
Erin Jones (Dalmellington Juniors)
Rowan Cook (Caldervale High School)
Emma Blain (Dalmellington Juniors)

Intermediate Ensembles
1. Campbeltown Brass Juniors
2. Dalmellington Cornets
3. Campbeltown Brass Trombones

Intermediate Solos
1. Rebecca Wilson (Dalmellington Juniors)
2. Lynsey Brown (Dalmellington Juniors)
3. Erin McSporran (Campbeltown Brass)
4. Rachael Jones (Dalmellington Juniors)

Gold Awards
Aimilia Chute (Campbeltown Brass)
Keiran Purdie (Dalmellington Juniors)

Silver Awards
Andrew Barclay (Irvine & Dreghorn)
Hannah Godfrey (Irvine & Dreghorn)
Gabriele Brownlie (Levern Valley Community Brass)
Sally Chute (Campbeltown Juniors)
Amber Dunn (Irvine & Dreghorn)
Fiona Kennedy (Dalmellington Juniors)
Christopher McCloy (Levern Valley Community Brass)
Eilidh McKenzie (Irvine & Dreghorn)
Beth Mitchell (Dalmellington Juniors)
Euan Mitchell (Dalmellington Juniors)

Youth Ensembles
1. Dalmellington Basses 92 points

Youth Solos
1. Amy Leitch (Irvine & Dreghorn) 96 points
2. David McLean (Dalmellington Juniors) 95 points
3. Duncan McLuskie (Dalmellington Juniors) 93 points


Committee remember there is a Meeting on Monday 3rd October in Paisley Scout Hall at 7.30 p.m.

 Area qualifying event for the Besson Solos & Ensembles competition.

REMINDER The closing date for entry is Friday 7th October

The qualifying event this year will be held on Saturday 29th October 2011 in the Salvation Army Hall, Sturrock Street, Kilmarnock
 KA1 3AH.

The adjudicator has been confirmed as Allan Ramsay and the accompanist as Alan Hastie.

The first 3 in each section will qualify for the 2012 Finals to be held in Livingston in February.

The order of play will be as follows:

1. Under 12's Ensemble
2. Under 16's Ensemble
3. Under 21's Ensemble
4. Under 12's Solo
5. Under 16's Solo
6. Under 21's Solo

The competition will commence at 11.45am with the warm-up area being available from 11.30am.

The closing date for entry is Friday 7th October 2011.

This is also the closing date for adjudicator copies of solo and ensemble music. If you wish to use the services of the official Accompanist can you please ensure that piano accompaniments are also submitted by this date.

There will be a piano available for those soloists using their own accompanist and a CD player will be provided for those using a CD accompaniment.


If you have any questions or queries regarding the competition please do not hesitate to contact me  by e-mail to briandeans@btinternet.com

Entry form for Ensemble Contest

Entry form for Solo Contest



West of Scotland Brass Band Association
Minute of Committee Meeting - 15 August 2011
Barrhead Sports Centre

1. Welcome and Apologies
The President opened the meeting by welcoming everyone along to the first meeting of the new committee.

Carrie Boax, Jim Stewart, Jean Mullin, Peter Fraser, Tom Allan, Andrew Smith, George Mullin and Brian Deans

Robert McCorkell

2. Financial Report
The Treasurer gave a brief summary of income and expenditure.

3. Minutes from Previous Meeting of 16 May 2011
Proposed by Jean Mullin, and seconded by Andrew Smith

4. Matters Arising
There were no matters arising

5. Solos & Ensembles
Allan Ramsay confirmed as Adjudicator and Alan Hastie confirmed as Accompanist.
Entry fees were set at £5 for solos and £10 for ensembles. Admission will be £2 and £1 and there will be a Donation Programme.
Dates for sending out and the return of Entry Forms were agreed, as was the date for sending in music and accompaniments.
Catering was confirmed.
Possibility of a Trade Stand being set up and souvenir photographs was discussed.
JS and AS to check the number and whereabouts of Trophies.

6. Area Brass Band
It was decided that CB and BD should accept an invitation to attend the WoSSO/WoSCB concert on Tuesday 30 August. This will give them the opportunity to meet with the Trustees of the WoS and report back at the next meeting.
A number of different models for the formation of a band were discussed.

7. Youth Band Contest
Co-op Funeralcare had approached BD about the possibility of them sponsoring a Youth Band Contest in the West of Scotland. A meeting was arranged at which a number of ideas were discussed. It was agreed that this was an excellent opportunity and that BD should continue the dialogue and report back at the next meeting.

8. A.O.C.B
A discussion took place about availability of Grant Funding took place. More information to be requested.

Date and time of next meeting: Monday 3 October at 7.30pm - Venue: Scout Hall, Paisley (TBC)


NEWSLETTER from Secretary Brian Deans

This is just a note to let you know that, with your help, the West of Scotland Brass Band Association is attempting to rise from the ashes!

At the recent AGM a new President and Secretary were appointed, Carrie Boax as President and myself, Brian Deans, as Secretary. Along with the rest of the committee we are determined to make it a success but we can only achieve this with the support of all member bands.

I think we can all agree that the days of Strathclyde Charities etc. etc. are behind us and the focus is very much on junior and youth bands. As well as continuing our very successful Solo & Ensemble competition, the committee have decided to look at the feasibility of holding a Youth Contest for bands throughout the country perhaps incorporating some kind of masterclass/workshop. Please forward to me any ideas you may have regarding this initiative.

There is also some devolved funding available through SBBA for youth projects. We are aware of some very successful work carried out in recent years in this respect and we would hope to support further ventures. If you have any plans for workshops/masterclasses etc can you please send me details of your project to enable the committee to make a decision on how the devolved funding can be disbursed fairly throughout the WoSBBA area.


Next Area Association Meeting - Monday 15th August 2011 at 7.30pm Venue - TBA

WoSBBA Solos & Ensembles - Saturday 29th October 2011 Venue - Salvation Army Citadel, Kilmarnock





Early Contesting

 The first recorded Brass Band Contest in Scotland took place at Wemyss Castle Estate near Kirkcaldy, Fife in July 1885. A first prize of £40 and a travel grant of £10 was enough to lure the champion band of England, Besses O’ Th’ Barn from Lancashire to compete. Besses Band emerged as the winners of the main Contest and the £40 prize, also winning the subsidiary event, a March Contest for which they received another £2. Alloa Burgh Band were placed a lowly second and Kirkcaldy Trades Band third.

 Formation of the Scottish Amateur Brass Band Association

 July 1895 saw the formation of The Scottish Amateur Brass Band Association. The Committee was headed by Mr. Peter Black, Town Chamberlain of Alloa Burgh and Chairman of Alloa Burgh Band as President, Mr. Robert Baillie, Carron Iron Works as Treasurer and Mr. James Bryce of Cambusbarron as Secretary. They were assisted by five delegates from East based Bands and five from the West to oversee the affairs of the Association. With no similar national association currently existing in either England or Wales and with national associations in other European countries being formed much later, it is understood that the Scottish Association is the oldest established national brass band association in Europe.

Rules for Contesting

At the inaugural meeting of theAssociation Rules forContesting were set out as follows:-

The maximum number of players allowed at a Contest would be 24. The minimum number would be 12. No Percussion was allowed.

Players' nameshad to be submitted 28 days prior to acontest and listed under the Band'sname on the official programme.

No Band would be allowed torehearse the test piece after thestarting time of the contest.

The maximum retaining fee any Band could pay its resident Bandmaster was 31 Guineas annually. Professional Conductor’s fees were at the behest of individual Bands.

The well being of Adjudicators at the Championships would be the responsibility of the SABBA Executive.

Regional Associationsrunning a Contest would beresponsible for their chosenAdjudicator and his safedeparture from theContest venue.

No Band could add the status "Burgh" to its name unless approved by its own Burgh Council. The legal disposition of this had to be submitted in writing and ratified by SABBA. 

No Band could add the status prize to its name until it had won a first prize at a Championship Contest or a first at any affiliated Contest approved by SABBA .  

At the end of a Contest theAdjudicator’s decision must bedisplayed on a blackboard andclearly defined in white chalk.

Member Bands would pay an annual fee of One Half Guinea and affiliated Associations One Full Guinea to retain membership.

Objections to Contest results must be lodged with the Association Secretary within seven days with a cash security of One Guinea.

The Scottish Championships Commence

The first Scottish Championships were held in 1895 with 22 bands taking part, divided between two sections. The first Scottish Champions were Bo’ness & Carriden playing the test piece “Eureka” The winning conductor was John Gladney who also directed Kelty & Blairadam to success in the Second Section.
Over 8,000 followers of the bands attended the event which was held in Edinburgh’s Waverley Market. Facilities in the market were primitive. There was no seating. Bands performed standing in the ring used by the cattle auctioneers with spectators on stepped terraces. The major advantage of the venue was its proximity to Edinburgh’s main line railway station. Most bands and their supporters made their way to the Championships by train, the railway specials to the Championships being the first organised railway excursions to any event in Scotland.

Difficulties arose for the Association a few years later when Bo’ness & Carriden Band were disqualified from a contest and this resulted in a prolonged court case between SABBA and the band. This in turn gave rise to a number of bands withdrawing from the Association and it was several years before the rift was fully healed. On a more positive note, 1904 saw the first in a series of several “International” contests between top bands in Scotland and the north of England.

As the number of bands competing in the Scottish Championships rose, a third section was introduced in 1905 followed by the addition of a fourth section in 1925. A total of 60 bands took part in the 1925 Championships with the lower sections in venues throughout Scotland but with the Waverley Market still in use for the top section. In the period to 1925 the dominant band in the Championships was Clydebank Burgh who secured the title on 13 occasions out of 26 attempts. In the period of twenty years before the First World War, Clydebank was only twice placed outside the top three.

The 1920’s also saw the emergence of the SCWS Band (later CWS Glasgow and now Scottish Co-op) as a major contesting force. Following victories in the Scottish Championships of 1924, 1926 and 1927 the Directors of SCWS adopted a policy of strengthening the band by offering jobs to players who were prepared to move to Glasgow. At a time of high unemployment, this quickly resulted in the entire band becoming employees of the SCWS and the band dominating the Championships for the next twenty years, securing eleven victories between 1924 and 1948.

A New Age

Following the end of the Second World War the SABBA Executive reformed and set about arranging the Championship contests. Their first decision was to abandon the noisy bustling throng of the Waverly Market as a contest venue, contracting to use the more plush setting of the Usher Hall, Edinburgh.

Since the foundation of the Band Movement there had been no proper registration of players with their respective bands. Through this lax situation it was not unknown for top section players to sell their talent to lower grade bands for a fee. Jerome Chester, Director of Marketing with the Daily Herald set about sealing this often abused practice, by introducing a  player’s individual registration card. These registration cards introduced in 1945, were the forerunner of what is in use today.

Until this point in time the maximum number of players permitted in the Contesting Bands was 24. Eric Ball, the eminent Composer and Conductor, using his influence tried to have the number increased to 26. He wanted another Front Row Cornet and another Tenor Horn, even at the expense of excluding a Baritone. After extensive discussions with the top administrators in the Movement and the Music Publishing Houses he failed to convince them to change. A compromise was achieved with agreement to allow the extra Cornet and therefore from 1946 the maximum contest playing number would be 25 from a pool of 33. Percussion had not yet come into the equation of brass band contesting.

In 1945 the Daily Herald newspaper introduced qualifying events for the National Championships of Great Britain. For a number of years these were staged separately from the Scottish Championships causing confusion and difficulty for the bands and a degree of acrimony between SABBA and the Daily Herald. The problem was eventually resolved in 1958 when the dates of the Scottish Championships were altered and it was agreed that the Scottish Championships would then also serve as the qualifying event for the British Championship finals.

This dual status of the event is often overlooked or misunderstood by those outside of Scotland but for Scottish bands the status of their own national championship title remains undiminished. Scottish bands, their players and supporters will never be heard referring to the “Scottish Regional” or the “Scottish Area”. For everyone in Scottish banding the event is always simply the Scottish Championships.

A Time of Change

The 1960’s and 1970’s witnessed a number of changes. The Championship Section contest finally moved away from Edinburgh with a number of venues throughout Scotland being used until, by the mid 1970’s Falkirk and Motherwell had become established as the venues for all sections of the contest. In 1969 Boosey & Hawkes advised the previous high pitched instruments would be discontinued and, with effect from 1 January 1970, only low pitch instruments would be available. This change caused great concern throughout the band movement with bands requiring to purchase complete new sets of instruments.

A further change was the introduction of percussion which was gradually permitted in band contests, the change being phased in over the period 1971 – 1973. The 1960’s and 70’s also witnessed the arrival of a new force in Scottish banding with the emergence of Whitburn who secured the title on 13 occasions between 1968 and 1993. In the 37 Championship contests since 1968, Whitburn have failed to secure a top three place on only four occasisons. 

More Recent Times

In 1984 the European Championships came to Scotland for the first time with Edinburgh being selected as the host city and the Usher Hall as the main venue. In 1990 a Scottish band finally secured the title of Champion Band of Great Britain with the victory of CWS (Glasgow) Band in the Royal Albert Hall. The band would go on to repeat this feat in 1996 whilst enjoying a further purple patch in the Scottish Championships with ten Scottish titles secured in the period from 1988 to date.

The European Championships returned to Scotland in 1990 with Falkirk this time the venue. 1992 saw the re-organisation of the contesting bands into five sections and in 1994 SABBA celebrated its centenary. The Scottish Association also instituted a European Youth Championships which was staged on a number of occasions, most recently in 1999.  

The Scottish Brass Band Association Today

The Scottish Brass Band Association is the national body for brass bands in Scotland. The Association regulates all contesting activities in Scotland, including the maintenance of a registry system for all Scottish bands. It organises all the main events in the annual Scottish brass band calendar. It also plays an active role in supporting its member bands mainly through the provision of information, in supporting youth development, in preserving the history of the band movement in Scotland and in promoting brass bands and their music to the general public.

The Association has no paid staff and is controlled by an Executive Committee comprising 20 members who are elected annually by representatives of the member bands at the Annual General Meeting. All of the members of the Executive undertake their duties on a voluntary basis.

The word Amateur has been dropped from the title, becoming the Scottish Brass Band Association. The Association has become a registered charity in Scotland and has taken on the task of reorganising a number of the established events like the annual Solo & Quartet Contests which is now the Solo and Ensemble event. Rules for contesting have been updated and expanded and various changes and improvements have been made in the running of the annual Scottish Championships.

2003 saw the establishment of a new event, The Scottish Open Championship, presented in the prestigious Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and with bands from England and Wales taking part. The same day the Scottish Youth Band Championships were re-introduced and proved to be a great success.

The Scottish Brass Band Week was also established in 2003, seeking to raise the profile of brass bands throughout the country and the Scottish Association’s Year Book, containing a wealth of information for our member bands, was introduced. Marketing of recordings produced by Scottish bands has been taken on board with proceeds being passed on to our member bands. The Association has also introduced a number of comprehensive advertising packages for our friends in the music trade.

In 2004 Scotland hosted the European Championships for a third time. The week long festival in Glasgow was widely praised for its high artistic and organisational standards and has come to be recognised by many as perhaps the most successful brass band event to have taken place in the UK in modern times.

The Scottish Association and the wider Scottish banding community have now reached the significant milestone of the 100th staging of the Scottish Brass Band Championships. An opportunity to look back at the long and proud history of brass bands in Scotland but also a time to look ahead with confidence for a bright future.


Based on research by Hugh Johnstone MBE

and adapted from his original text.

Additional research by Gordon Simpson

and Alan McLaren.