Clydesdale Community Concert Band prepares to make history in June

Playing together...people from all over Clydesdale, of all ages and abilities and from all walks of life, have joined Clydesdale Community Concert Band.
Playing together...people from all over Clydesdale, of all ages and abilities and from all walks of life, have joined Clydesdale Community Concert Band.

Having children proved to be life-changing for musician John Bryce.

The 1995 and 1997 world champion conductor was director of Carluke Primrose Orchestral Flutes for many years, a band he joined when he was aged just seven.

Conducting the band...but John Bryce's main mission for Clydesdale Community Concert Band is to have fun, with no pressure to perform.

Conducting the band...but John Bryce's main mission for Clydesdale Community Concert Band is to have fun, with no pressure to perform.

He later led the band to glory – securing the World Flute Band Association Championship, senior flute band, in 1997.

But when John (47) and his wife Pam had Amelia (5) and Jamie (3), the musician discovered his priorities had changed somewhat.

John wanted to spend more time with his family so he stood down as Primrose conductor in 2012, while continuing as a woodwind instructor in Clydesdale schools – based at Lanark Grammar School.

Bringing on young talent is undoubtedly John’s forte.

Making history...on June 21, 2019, Clydesdale Communty Concert Band members will perform their first concert in Carluke Lifestyles Centre and make history in the process.

Making history...on June 21, 2019, Clydesdale Communty Concert Band members will perform their first concert in Carluke Lifestyles Centre and make history in the process.

And in January this year, it saw him form Clydesdale Community Concert Band.

With no age limit and no pressure, for players of all abilities and levels, it proved to be a winning formula and within two months the band recruited 45 woodwind, brass and percussion members.

And they are now preparing to perform their first concert on June 21, one of only two they’ll rehearse for every year.

For fun and friendship are what Clydesdale Community Concert Band is all about, rather than winning competitions and regular performances.

John explained: “I wanted to form a band that people from all over Clydesdale, and of all ages, could join.

“Our youngest member is in Primary Six and our oldest is in her seventies – but there are no age limits.

“We also have people from all walks of life, not just musicians, so we have nurses, carers, engineers – you name it!

“We are not aiming to be elitist; our primary aims are to bring young talent on and let people who enjoy playing music do just that, with no pressure whatsoever.

“A lot of bands are very competition orientated – that’s not our purpose.

“We just want to enjoy our music and, for that reason, we will be doing just two concerts every year, in the summer and at Christmas. I don’t want to go back to having evening and weekend commitments all the time; our members just want to have some fun.”

That’s not to say, though, that the band won’t be giving the concerts their all.

Indeed, John has already enlisted the help of a well-known local composer.

He said: “I was speaking to Alex Abbott about the band and he came up with the idea of composing a march for us.

“Alex, who is also from Carluke, is steeped in flute bands and was the former conductor of Motherwell Old Comrades Flute Band.

“But he’s also renowned for composing a countless amount of material for flute bands here and concert bands in the USA.

“So Alex has written our opening summer concert piece, entitled Carluke: a town called Courage.

“It ties in with new signs that have gone up in the town and, if you listen carefully, includes old war songs from the likes of Vera Lynn.

“Alex and I have been friends for many years and he’s already composing more material for us so I think we’ll have to give him the title of in-house composer!

“We want to feature at least one of his compositions at every concert.

“Alex is a self-taught, natural talent with a real flair for compositions, all of which are amazing.

“So we’re delighted to have him on board.”

Clydesdale Community Concert Band members are currently rehearsing for their inaugural concert every Tuesday from 6.30pm to 8.30pm in Carluke Lifestyles Centre. And more players will be warmly welcomed.

John said: “We’ve got a really great bunch of people, some of whom I’ve known for years and used to play with back in the day and some pupils whose parents also used to play.

“But we’d love to welcome more people into the band.

“There’s no pressure for them to take part in the June concert but, if they have the experience, they’ll be more than welcome to.

“This is Clydesdale’s first ever concert band so members and the audience will be making history!”

With Pam doing admin for the band, John hopes it will become a family affair.

He added: “Jamie is actually non-verbal but he loves music and it would be nice for him and Amelia to get involved one day. That would be brilliant!”

Clydesdale Community Concert Band will perform their debut in the Lifestyles Centre on June 21 at 7.30pm.

Featuring popular and classical music, tickets are £8.50 (£7.50 concs) from any band member or on the website at www.cccb.co.uk, where you can also find out about joining the band.