Whitburn shine light on Coronavirus lockdown effects

The BBC has spoken with the Scottish Open champion to find out how the Coronavirus has affected amateur music organisations in Scotland

  Whitburn was to have celebrated its 150th anniversary with a number of projects this year

Scottish Open Champion, Whitburn Band has been featured in a BBC report on how COVID-19 has affected amateur music groups and organisations in Scotland.

The article was written by Graham Fraser, a professional journalist as well as tuba player in the band, but also featured the well known folk band Folky MacFolk Face and the Harmony Choir.

150th anniversary

2020 marked the 150th anniversary of Whitburn Band — although planned celebrations were either put on hold or radically amended after they gave its last contest performance at the Scottish Championship in Perth in March.

"You are as close to the people at band as you are to your family," an emotional Band Chairman and bass trombone Charlie Farren said when interviewed.

"To not be with them, it is incredibly difficult. We had a massive schedule planned for the entire year. Overnight, it was all gone and it cost the band thousands of pounds."

The report highlighted the problems that now afflict not just Whitburn, but every band in Scotland — despite them gaining some financial support from the Scottish Government.

there was real concern that unless there were changes that treated amateur brass bands in the same way as professional brass performers that some bands may not emerge from the extended lockdown4BR


Charlie added that he felt there was real concern that unless there were changes that treated amateur brass bands in the same way as professional brass performers that some bands may not emerge from the extended lockdown.

However, despite being unable to compete at the Grand Shield contest in Blackpool, the Albert Hall National Finals as well as defending their Scottish Open title, Whitburn has still made a worldwide impression with their innovative social media presence and success at the recent Cory Online Championships where they came runner-up.

They also supported other organisations struggling with the effects of COVID-19 in their area, helping to raise more than £1,200 for the West Lothian Foodbank.

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