Music for Distant Hills

  • Thank You,

Leadhills Silver Band is excited to be playing the premier of Alan Fernie’s new piece “Music for Distant Hills”, which has been commissioned by the band and paid for as part of a project that received Heritage Lottery funding. In addition to this wonderful new piece of music, the project has involved research into WW1 in conjunction with the historic Leadhills Library, Wanlockhead Museum of Lead Mining and Heritage Group.

Working with local members of the community, band members have been investigating and learning about local heritage through memory sharing workshops, guest lectures, poetry and art workshops. The band has also arranged other community initiatives such as planting daffodils, tulips and poppies at the war memorials in the villages of Leadhills and Wanlockhead.

The project had its origins in an old sepia photograph of Leadhills Village Band taken in the early years of 1900. It captures the members of the lead mining band proudly grasping their beautifully engraved instruments dated 1907 (some of which are still in use today). Seen in light of the outbreak of war that shortly followed, the photograph took on a poignant role as the current members of the band wondered how the war had affected and altered these individuals’ lives and the life of the two villages.

Music was obviously of great importance and a very much celebrated part of village life. The band wanted to acknowledge that, and commissioned the new piece of music, specifically tailored for community and youth bands, to mark the WW1 centenary. Taking the research outcomes as inspiration for the piece, Alan Fernie was asked to compose a special piece of music that will be performed for the first time in Leadhills Village Hall on 10th November 2018 (7pm) and 11th November 2018 (2pm). The band is also hoping to do a reprise performance at the Scottish Brass Band Championships in Perth in March 2019, after which the piece will be published and copies offered to youth bands throughout Scotland.

From the old photo, it was clear there was a band in existence in the village from at least the early 1900s. It is not clear when the band ceased playing, but it was re-established in December 2010 after a period of several years’ silence. The original 1907 instruments were discovered in the loft of the library and the band has gone from a small number of players who picked up these old instruments, to a thriving band of about 22 mixed ability players with ages ranging from 9 to 70. Truly a community band, Leadhills Silver Band welcomes all players regardless of age or experience.

Alan has worked closely with the band throughout the project, tailoring the music to the players available. He has also attended rehearsals during the writing process; and now that the piece is complete will be guiding them towards the premier in November.

Tickets for the concerts on 10th and 11th November will be on sale soon.