Fife Ladies' Brass Band plays to success
When two friends decided to fundraise for their favourite causes, a love of brass bands saw them joined by over 50 like-minded musicians.
Aileen Russell and Carol Sandell both hold medals for 40 years’ service to brass bands, so when Carol read about a women’s group in England that had held a concert for charity, she knew it was the perfect idea for them, too. And Aileen didn't need any persuasion.
The pair immediately started to put the idea into action, and were amazed by the response after they advertised for band members.
"We were astounded when we got the overwhelming response from 53 ladies," says Carol. "As you can imagine, it was a mammoth task to get a hall big enough for rehearsals!"
Players came from all walks of life, with the youngest just 14 years old. The band chose the University of Edinburgh's Cancer Research UK Centre as one of their chosen charities to support, along with Maggie's Centre in Kirkcaldy, since many of the women who volunteered had been touched by cancer at some point in their lives.
Carol explains: "We have members in our band who have fought cancer, or have had family members who have battled it. So we wanted to give back something by raising money for these two wonderful charities."
Band rehearsals took place in Cowdenbeath with the group settling on the name Fife Ladies' Brass Band. Planning for the first meeting took five months, but the wait was worth it when the level of talent was realised.
"We have some great musicians in Fife," says Carol. "It has been wonderful to meet so many ladies who want to put their talent to good use and raise money for a cause that has touched a lot of people."
The concert itself took place on 25 March in a buzzing Kirkcaldy Old Kirk, a suitably atmospheric setting for an evening that proved to be both uplifting and poignant.
Aileen explains: "On the night, we applauded and recognised those within the band who had battled and beat this awful disease, and paid tribute to those loved ones we have lost by showing their photos on a large screen as we played.
"Having experienced the loss of immediate family and friends with cancer, and knowing those who have survived the disease I was glad to be part of something that was contributing to such a meaningful and worthwhile cause."
The band managed to raise £1,000 for the charities, all of which will be channelled into vital research and support.
And although the concert was meant to be a one-off event, the women's enthusiasm has led to talk of a second.
"The feedback and experience has been so amazing that we may have to do it again soon," says Aileen. "I am so glad to have been part of Carol's dream."
We are proud of the Fife Ladies' Brass Band for what they have achieved with their fundraising concert. I was in attendance on the night and found the event both inspiring and very moving. Their efforts are directly helping the University to research cancer, and I do hope they decide to hold another concert