Meet Scotland's last surviving saxhorn band

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The Hawick Saxhorn Band have been continuing a tradition that dates back to 1855.

When it comes to a festive soundtrack, brass bands are never far away.

The Hawick Saxhorn Band is the last of its kind in Scotland.

Band member Brian Emmerson spoke about the history behind them playing, he said: "In 1855 there was a petition made to the magistrates council of Hawick to form a saxhorn band. There had been two bands in Hawick before then and they didn’t get on.

"They ended up fighting in the street amongst one another.

“There are two saxhorn bands left in the country, ourselves and Flimby."

Brian explains it was through family connections that led to him joining the band.

He said: "My wife was already playing in the band and my son was playing in the band. I was asked was we were desperate for people to play the bass and I said I would try it for six months and that was 25 years ago."

For band leader Stuart Black he is proud to continue the traditions made famous in the Scottish Borders.

The band aim to attract people of all ages to join. Credit: ITV

He said: "Most of the bands are now called silver bands, there are not many now that still hold the saxhorn name.

“Music has a big place in the community. We are heavily involved in the Borders in common ridings and there is something quite amazing when you see a brass band march along the high street.

"Even that we do concerts as well and we even have a competition in a couple of weeks. The different styles of music and different arrangements of compositions that are now in the brass band repertoire.

“You have got the cornets that are a little bit like a trumpet but a bit smaller and a bit more mellow. You also have the soprano cornet which sits at the top of the tree. You have the tenor horn’s which are like the engine room of the band, you have got trombones, tubas and then the percussion.”

The band play modern songs to encourage youngsters to join in as well.

Stuart said: “I think so. With all of the different music that is out there now they are not going to be as interested when it comes to an old fashioned march.

"Some learn to love that type of stuff and they want to get involved but if they get the chance to come and play Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, stuff they find on TikTok they get hooked and start to enjoy it with their pals and eventually becomes a big thing for them."

He explains how the old tunes still have their place too especially at Christmas time.

Stuart said: “Whether it be at our Christmas concert or whether it would be the general public outside of a supermarket they always seem to appreciate hearing the band play Christmas tunes and I think that adds a level of buzz to the community when they come and see. They also get involved whether it be through singing or whatever it might be."

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