AN AWARD-WINNING brass band is stepping up its preparations before representing East Lothian and Scotland at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain in September.

Dalkeith and Monktonhall Brass Band, based in Prestonpans Red School, make the trip to Cheltenham later this year.

The band is a combination of the Dalkeith Burgh and Monktonhall Colliery bands and has existed in Prestonpans in various forms since the end of the First World War.

They claimed second place at the Scottish Championships in the section one contest held at Perth in March, qualifying for and gaining entry to the Scottish Championship (top) section next year.

Jim Chamberlain, musical director for the band for 17 years, said: “We’ve had very good and full rehearsals when we started looking at the test music for the Nationals in early June.

“As you’d expect, it’s extremely difficult music to play and get right as an ensemble, and to meet the challenges our players are all working hard individually.

“We are asked to play Trittico – music by the American composer James Curnow.

“We’ve moved away now from full rehearsals and are concentrating on sections and small groups over the summer so that we can work on the finer details of the music.”

The band is now keen to raise money for travel to Cheltenham.

Heather Henderson, band secretary, said: “We recently held a very successful fun social and awards evening in Castlepark Bowling Club and have started a fundraising drive through our band website that has really taken off.

“We’ve attracted a lot of new supporters and want to take the opportunity to thank them all.

“Recently, we received a very generous £500 donation from the Prestonpans Royal British Legion, who have also helped the band in the post-lockdown period by providing rehearsal space for us when we had to consider social distancing.

“Anyone who wants information about the band in the Prestonpans community and details of how to help make a good representation at Cheltenham should visit our website.”

The band trustees, committee and players have extended a thank you everyone in the community and beyond for their encouragement and support.