Best of Brass | Playing in a Brass Band

Molly McCabe, 17 and Fraser Macleod, 18 will both have a busy night on Saturday 9 June, playing for two of the three bands performing in Best of Brass at The Courtyard Theatre. This is their story, as told by Fraser …


‘I started playing the trumpet when I was eight years old. I recall at primary school, being offered music lessons – I thought I’d chosen the trombone but was very happy to be handed a trumpet! Aged 10, I saw an advert in the local newspaper, the Ledbury Reporter. Players were invited to attend the first practice of a new brass band being formed in the town and my parents took me along. I’ve been playing with them ever since. Six years ago, I was fitted with dental braces but the pressure of the small mouthpiece on them caused ulcers and pain, so I was advised to move to an instrument with a bigger mouthpiece. We needed Baritones and so I moved across the band-room to try a new instrument which I’ve stayed with. I really enjoy it and will take my Grade 8 exam in a couple of weeks.

Molly’s story is very similar. She too was offered music lessons and chose the trumpet because she remembers it being very shiny! We met at Ledbury Band and became good friends, both now studying at Hereford Sixth Form College.

Playing in a brass band is a very rewarding, sociable skill to have that we can take with us wherever we go.

We’re both hoping to go to university in September and planning to join a brass band near to our respective Uni homes, to keep playing and make new friends. Then when we come home in the holidays, we can continue to play with Ledbury.

With Ledbury, we practise once a week and over the years we’ve played at many local community events. Molly and I particularly enjoy the Christmas gigs; they’re good fun and full of traditional nostalgia, and playing at the Remembrance Parade in town always feels a worthwhile, meaningful thing to do. I guess the worst gigs are those outdoors when the weather is poor – windy, cold and wet. We always do the Christmas lights ‘switch on’ in Ledbury and remember us playing at this when the band had only just formed – we played carols in a small tent by the side of the Market House. We were all huddled together, the wind and rain were blowing in, music and stands were flying about and we had no light … but the show must go on! We now go much better prepared with warm layers, lighting and plenty of pegs!

Ledbury had their first band competition last year and it was a great experience; it was exciting and we enjoyed it.

It was something new to do and fantastic to listen to the top-class bands – the band played really well and we came third!
In 2016, I was invited to play for the Herefordshire Music Service by John Griffiths. I play First Baritone for them now too. Molly also plays with them. Both of us are looking forward to playing on the Main Stage of The Courtyard – we’ve both performed there before but this will be special – and it’ll give us some ‘time out’ from A-Level exams.
We’ve both got the brass banding ‘bug’!

Best of Brass
Molly McCabe, 17 and Fraser Macleod, 18

BEST OF BRASS will be in The Courtyard’s Main House on the 9 June at 7.30pm. To book tickets for Best of Brass click here, or for more information contact the Box Office on 01432 340555.

This is a joint fundraiser for The Courtyard and The Music Pool.

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