Keith Belleville/St Ronan's Silver Band

THREE Tweeddale brass groups wowed audiences at the weekend at the first ever Tweed Valley Brass event at a near-capacity Innerleithen’s Memorial Hall.

Peebles Burgh Silver Band, under Vaughan Fleischfresser, opened the programme with Alan Fernie’s arrangement of ‘Ticket to Ride’ and went on to entertain with a collection of pieces themed around The Great Outdoors. The brass band standard ‘Bandology’ got the toes tapping and a highlight of the programme was Ian Aitchison’s solo, the Burns tune, ‘Ye Banks and Braes’.

Next on the extended platform was Tweed Valley Youth Brass and their conductor, Keith Belleville. The band was formed especially for the event, bringing together players from St Ronan’s Future Band and Peebles Burgh Youth Band. The young players excelled under performance conditions, opening with a Fanfare and March and a visit to the Beautiful Blue Danube. Euphonium soloist James Grassick played a beautiful arrangement of ‘The Rowan Tree’.

Host band St Ronan’s was next to perform. Under the direction of Mike Marzella, the band opened with ‘Into the Clouds’ and the programme featured two excellent soloists, David Richardson (cornet) and Bruno Giegerich (tenor horn). Mark Knopfler’s theme from Local Hero, the well-loved ‘Going Home’, was a hit with the audience, as was ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, which even included a dance break from conductor Mr Marzella!

St Ronan’s and Peebles Bands then merged to raise the roof in a finale which featured local air ‘Leaving Leithenside’ and Runrig’s version of ‘Loch Lomond’ – the latter piece brought about two standing ovations!

Earlier, the audience had the opportunity to view a selection of work by local artists and photographers in a new innovation for a new event.

Tweed Valley Brass was supported by a grant from Scottish Borders Council which allowed the organisers, St Ronan’s Silver Band, to hire additional staging and purchase new lighting and a stunning backdrop in the form of an Ian Linton photograph.

The backdrop and lighting will be available to future events in the Memorial Hall, securing a lasting legacy of Tweed Valley Brass.