Death of Willie Tennant

The death has been announced of the remarkable Scottish bandsman, administrator and teacher Willie Tennant.

  The death has been announced of Willie Tennant

The Scottish Brass Band movement is mourning the passing of Willie Tennant who died on Wednesday 9th June, aged 92.

A remarkable brass banding man he first joined the Kirkintilloch Band in 1937 on horn — heralding the start of over 70 years of service to the organisation in multiple musical and non-musical roles.

Life in banding

He made his first concert appearance with the band in 1938, but was forced give up playing after he contracted diphtheria. He returned in 1942 on cornet before moving to flugel horn and made his belated contesting debut in 1948 at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh.

Following National Service where he played with the Staff Band of the Royal Army Service Corps including concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, and with Aldershot Town Band, he returned home to 'Kirky' in 1951.

The same year they claimed the Scottish Third Section title, with Willie moving onto euphonium by the time they performed at the 1952 National Finals.

Keen to ensure the band was well run and administered he served in various administrative capacities — starting at the tender age of 23.

In 1958 he stopped playing for a time to take up a youth training course, before enjoying a short period with Bo'ness & Carriden Band before his third spell with Kirkintilloch starting in 1961.


When he was made redundant from the Linwood Car Factory he took up a post of Brass Instructor with Lanarkshire Schools until his retirement in 1994.

It was a role that he loved — inspiring countless youngsters to take up brass and instrumental playing — the legacy of which remains to this day in Scottish banding.

Willie also took up the baton to direct both Kirkintilloch Senior and Junior Bands and enjoyed considerable success at Solo and Quartet Contests, winning the Scottish Junior Quartet Championships in 1971 and the Senior Quartet Championships in the 1980's.

Experience and knowledge

Having finished his playing career in 1986 he devoted his experience and knowledge to the administration of Kirkintilloch Band, enjoying their successes in becoming one of Scotland's foremost Championship contenders on the domestic, national and international stage.

As his great friend Peter Fraser stated: "Since 1954 Willie has travelled thousands of miles in the service of Kirkintilloch Band. He was a devoted servant to it and the whole of the Scottish brass band movement.

It is true to say that if it was not for Willie Tennant there would be no Kirkintilloch Band."

National title

In 1994 he became involved with the formation Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass — the sibling ensemble of the organisation that arose from the need to accommodate the increasing numbers of young players that were coming through the ranks — many directly from Willie himself.

They went on to enjoy considerable success — rising from the Fourth to Championship Section — winning the Second Section National Championship of Great Britain title in 2000.

That was a particularly proud moment for Willie as his son Raymond who conducted the band has persuaded him to make a belated return to playing — this time on tuba, aged 70.

In 2008, he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Scottish Brass Band Association4BR


The contribution made by Willie Tennant to the Scottish brass band movement was marked both in 1994 with the presentation of his 50 Year Service Medal and in 2001 with the Diploma of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, recognising 64 years of dedication and teaching of young people.

Throughout he was ably supported by his late wife Margaret.

In 2008, he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Scottish Brass Band Association.


Speaking to 4BR, a SBBA spokesperson said. "Willie Tennant's contribution to the brass band movement cannot be overestimated. His remarkable commitment, dedication, and love for it has been ingrained from the very first note he blew all those years ago and remained with him throughout his life.

He not only inspired his own family of which he was immensely proud, but countless others — players who have gone onto enjoy their own love of brass banding. That is a huge testament to a wonderful man."

Musical mark

Willie Tennant remained Honorary President of the Kirkintilloch Band organisation — incorporating Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass and Kirkintilloch Youth Band, whilst his two sons were also inspired by him to make their own musical mark on the Scottish brass banding scene.

He leaves sons Ronnie, Raymond, Scott and daughter Arlene.

Thanks to Peter Fraser

Become a supporter and help make our future secure.

4barsrest continues to be a proudly independent voice. There are no paywalls to overcome to be able to enjoy what we do to keep our journalism at the heart of the brass banding world. Support us with a one-off donation or subscribe from just £2.50 per month.

Support us    

4BR Tuesday Interview with Sam Fisher

June 15 • We talk to Sam Fisher of Brass Bands England about the importance of ensuring bands have a robust and comprehensive understanding of Safeguarding policies and procedures.


International line-up for conducting final

June 15 • Four high class conductors look to add a brass band title to their impressive CVs.

Cloudcatcher Fells

Cloudcatcher centerpiece for Black Dyke at Halifax Festival

June 15 • Two world premieres and works by Arnold, Fletcher and McCabe will provide Black Dyke's contribution to the forthcoming 'Best of Brass Festival' in Halifax next month.


Video short heralds Willebroek initiative

June 15 • A short video taster has been launched to tempt players to join the Willebroek Academy in August.

Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Greenwich Brass Band

Friday 9 July • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London SE7 8RE

Regent Hall Concerts - Cor8 Horn Ensemble

Friday 16 July • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London SE7 8RE

Regent Hall Concerts - Quintet Aerata - Brass Quintet

Friday 23 July • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London SE7 8RE

Regent Hall Concerts - j5o brass quintet

Friday 30 July • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London . SE7 8RE

Regent Hall Concerts - Trafalgar Brass

Friday 6 August • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London SE7 8RE

Chadderton Band

June 15 • Chadderton Band is a friendly non-contesting band playing at various events throughout the year. We are looking for players of all ages and abilities on all sections of the band particularly on Euph Drums and Horn. Come along for a blow most welcome.

Dobcross Silver Band

June 15 • The Dobcross Silver Band invite applications for the position of Solo Baritone to join our very competent section! Some exciting things planned for the return from lockdown and this is a great opportunity to join our progressive and friendly band.

Shipston Town Band

June 14 • Stour Concert Brass our Community Band are looking to recruit solo cornets and Bb and Eb Bass as we prepare to restart rehearsals. We are based in Shipston on Stour in South Warwickshire and are a non competitive band rehearsing on Friday 7.45 to 9.30

Gordon Eddison

B Ed (Hons). Member AoBBA.
Conductor and Adjudicator.


 © 2021 4barsrest.com Ltd