The Lerwick Brass Band has been around in some guise since it was formed in 1863 by a teacher at the Anderson Institute, a precursor to the current Anderson High School. The band has gone through high points and low points, and disappeared from records during and for a short time after the two wars.

Below is a timeline of the band since it's inception through to the present day.



  • 1863 The first brass band, The Institute Band, is formed by James Bryan Jnr. and practises in the Anderson Institute. The band is formed of community members and pupils from the senior school.


  • 1884 The band, now known as Lerwick Brass Band, is revived and on New Year's Day 1885, numbering 12 instruments, makes its first public appearance at the head of the annual Royal Naval Reserve procession. Archie Robb is appointed bandmaster in 1886 and continues until his untimely death, at the age of 36, in 1900.


  • 1888 First appearance at Up-Helly-Aa.


  • 1913 Following a gap of over 10 years without a band, McGowan Scott forms the Uphelly A' Brass Band to play at the 1914 Up-Helly-Aa. After a fund raising campaign the name is changed to Lerwick Brass Band.  This band continues playing through the First World War, but stops for the Second World War.


  • 1949 The band is reformed for the first Up-Helly-Aa after the Second World War, but does little playing apart from Up-Helly-Aa for the next few years.


  • 1955 Bobby Burgoyne becomes bandmaster and starts rebuilding the band.


  • 1959 Dr T M Y Manson is appointed conductor and musical adviser.


  • 1964 Assistant Bandmaster Drew Robertson becomes musical director.  


  • 1981 Drew Robertson becomes bandmaster following the death of Bobby Burgoyne.


  • 2000 Hamish Nicol becomes bandmaster. Drew Robertson continues as musical director.


  • 2008 David Thomson becomes bandmaster.


  • 2014 Drew Robertson completes his first half century as musical director, and begins on his second!