The aim of the Hands Up for Trad Community Music awards is to showcase and celebrate the outstanding practice and great things going on in Scotland’s community music sector to the wider public and media.
Congratulations to Levern Valley Community Brass who have been nominated in the Young Community Musician/s of the Year category. We asked them the following questions.
Tell us more about yourself.
Levern Valley Community Brass are based in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire. The band has members from throughout the local authority aged from 10 – 19. We start a beginner group each August with the intention of them performing with the full band at a concert in February. There is no cost to play in the band and fundraising, donations and grants are our main sources of funding. A very committed and enthusiastic parent committee is involved in many activities to fund instruments, music, uniforms and our annual Band Camp. All fundraising events, including bag packs at supermarkets involve the band playing, further raising the profile locally. Our most recent funding award was from Barrhead Housing Association. This was a process of 21 local groups taking part in a storyboard presentation from which 6 groups would receive a share of £30,000. Members of the local community were invited to come along and vote and on the day LVCB were fortunate receive an award and be recognised by the local community for the work we do in the area. As well as our fundraising activities we are active in our concert and competition performances both locally and further afield. We have been runner-up and Gold Award winners in the Development Section of the Scottish Youth Band Championship, held in Perth Concert Hall, in 2016 & 2017. Our concerts include local churches and our annual concert with guests. We have taken part in many workshops, the latest being a Brass Day in Johnstone organised by Johnstone Band. It was set up to encourage youngsters in Renfrewshire to become more involved in brass banding. In addition to the two brass bands other guests were the JP Berrie Big Band and the street band Brass Aye?! A successful day with new friendships being made with Brass Aye joining us for our Annual Concert last November. Developing relations and friendships with other youth bands and groups is high on our agenda and we recently played our third joint concert with King’s Park Youth Band. In recent years we have supported Barrhead Rotary to raise funds for Mary’s Meals and take part in Scottish Mental Health Festival of Music and Drama held at The Foundry, Barrhead in November 2017. At the end of 2017 to celebrate our 10th Anniversary we recorded a CD.
We have our own Facebook Page, website www.levernvalleycommunitybrass.com and can be followed at LVCB2007 @levernvalley
How long have you or your group organisation been involved in this work and tell us a wee bit about how it all started?
Our band started its journey in 2007 and from our first concert with 12 players we now have a band of 38. From the outset the idea was to create a ‘good gang’ feeling in a diverse community. … it’s their band. The band members come from many different backgrounds, cultures and schools but they take a great pride in being part of the band. There have been a lot of youngsters who started out with the band who have benefited from being part of LVCB. In addition to the social aspect of playing in band, the youngsters have also improved their music skills by taking part in the band, with many taking music as an SQA subject whilst also to improve improve other academic areas. Practising a musical instrument requires self-discipline and patience and local teachers have also commented on a significant change in behaviour of more difficult students. Being appreciated at concerts and successful at competitions has helped boost self-confidence and self-esteem. One of our original aims and objectives was to continue and enhance the brass band genre in the local area. Unfortunately the local brass band has relocated to Paisley and our members who had progressed to this level were unable to continue playing due to travel problems. They continue to play with LVCB and we are now looking at forming a group for former players some of whom still attend rehearsals to mentor the youngsters.
What have you or your group/organisation got planned for the next 12 months?
Our plans for the next twelve months so far include;
A continuation of our concert programme starting with a local charity concert on 31 May
Annual Band Camp at Gartmore House in September
Annual Concert in Barrhead & Scottish Youth Band Championships, Perth Concert Hall both in November
Beginner Group join with full band for February concert
Starting a group for former players to maintain and develop the brass band genre in the Barrhead and East Renfrewshire area.
What has been the highlight of your or your group/organisation’s experience to date?
It is difficult to choose one highlight from 10 years of music making.
Concert wise it would be providing music for the 50th Anniversary of St John’s Church, Barrhead, complete with a firework display or having conductor Prof. Nicholas Childs of the world famous Black Dyke Band as our guest for our 5th Anniversary Concert.
More recent highlights are The Scottish Youth Brass Band Championships and making our 10th Anniversary CD.
How does it feel to be nominated for this award?
It feels fantastic to nominated for this Award and grateful to be recognised for bringing our love of brass band music and sharing it within our local community and beyond.
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