Kirkintilloch brass band marching into ‘battle’ in Birmingham

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A RENOWNED brass band is tuning up for one of the music world’s biggest competitions.

Kirkintilloch Band will compete in the British Open Championships in the Symphony Hall, Birmingham, on Saturday.

The band qualified for the prestigious event, which showcases the world’s top brass ensembles, after coming second in the Spring Festival competition in Blackpool earlier this year.

Saturday’s contest will feature 17 bands.

The band is currently in rehearsals and has recruited top Belgium conductor Luc Vertommen.

Kirkintilloch band president Peter Fraser said: “We always go to win, but just getting there is an amazing achievement.

“This is the biggest competition in the world as far as the standard of music and bands are concerned, they doesn’t come any bigger.

“We’ve come third and fourth before, so we’d be quite happy to finish anywhere in the top six.”

The band, which is currently ranked 14th in the world, has competed in the championships regularly over the past 15 years and is one of the only non-sponsored groups in the competition.

Peter added: “It’s quite an accolade to qualify again, all the big bands will be there.

“We’re hoping to improve on our ranking.

“We’ve been rehearsing intensely. We’ve got to practice and practice until we get it perfect.”

The band was formed in 1890 and is part of the Kirkintilloch Band organisation, which takes in four ensembles, including Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass and Kirkintilloch Youth Band.

Both of these groups will take part in national competitions later this year, with Kelvin Brass competing in the First Section Scottish Championships at the end of the month and the Youth Band performing at the Scottish Youth Championships in November.

Peter said: “It’s very good for Kirkintilloch. Between our four bands there’s around 150 people being taught brass instruments and there’s a lot of enthusiasm there, particularly with the youngsters.”