Bicentennial band takes parliament by storm

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ST RONAN’S Silver Band capped a memorable 200th anniversary year with a performance at the Scottish Parliament.

At the invite of Jeremy Purvis, the Innerleithen band played in the garden lobby at Queensberry House on Monday night.

And the Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale MSP raised a motion for parliament to congratulate the band on “its 200th anniversary in 2010 and commend its longstanding commitment to musical performance, both by the main band and its feeder groups, St Ronan’s Future Band and training sections”.

The motion also recognised their appearance at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo this year.

Mr Purvis also asked his fellow MSPs to acknowledge the band’s “commitment to youth development and acceptance of members of all ages, musicians ranging from seven to 70, and from all walks of life, from lawyers to carpenters and teachers to paramedics”.

He mentioned their two Scottish championship titles in 1999 and 2007.

Mr Purvis said: “The band occupies an important place within the community as such an historical organisation and it is fitting that they should be playing in the nation’s parliament.

“I wanted to help mark the 200th anniversary as their MSP, so the parliamentary motion and hosting the concert is my way of recognising their significant place in my constituency and also across Scotland.

“I congratulate everyone involved with St Ronan’s Silver Band on all of their accomplishments throughout the years.”

Long-standing band member and current secretary Keith Belleville, who put together a book on St Ronan’s history to mark its bicentenary this year, said: “St Ronan’s Silver Band is greatly honoured to have been invited to play at the Scottish Parliament.

“This year has been an extremely memorable one for the band and we are very grateful for all the support and the many opportunities that have come our way as part of our bicentenary celebrations.”

Tweeddale East councillor Gavin Logan attended the reception at Holyrood and said: “It was a superb evening and it was heartening to see so many young people in the silver band.

“We heard a great mixture of Christmas, Scottish and traditional music on the night.”

Among the events organised to mark their significant milestone was a visit from the famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band, an exhibition at St Ronan’s Wells and a Christmas concert.