Youth champions return in style

Sunday 3 December 2017

All four youth brass ensembles returning to defend their titles at Perth Town Hall last weekend were successful in doing just that with only the Percussion Section managing to provide a new champion at the 2017 Scottish Festival of Brass Youth Brass Band Championships.

It is n fault of its own that the Scottish Borders Youth Band finds itself the only competitor in the Senior Section but, nonetheless, last year’s European Championship representatives put on a fine display of musicianship in its entertainment programme last Sunday afternoon.

Under the baton of Musical Director (MD) Alan Fernie, the Borders youngsters opened with Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s Pound the Streets and included the beautiful Concordi (Fredrick Schjelderup) in the entertaining set which judges Steven Mead and Alan Morrison said grew in confidence and quality as it progressed. The closing Ravel’s Bolero featured principal cornet Callum Robb on his 16th birthday.

Scottish Borders cornets in action


At the close of the performance, Alan Fernie made a special presentation to compère for the weekend Alasdair Hutton OBE for his contribution to the continued success of the young Borders outfit, having collaborated on the group’s recent cd recording.

In the Development Section, Mark Good once again guided Riverside Youth Band to victory, this year from a number 1 draw. Riverside Youth showed great dynamic awareness in a well-directed performance, highlights including the upbeat opener Spirit of Brass (Gavin Somerset) and a beautiful rendition of Air and Rondo from the confident Libby Hunter on tenor horn. There were also Gold Awards for both runner-up Levern Valley Community Brass (Brian Deans) and third placed Loanhead Brass Youth (Alan Fernie) in what was a most enjoyable contest to attend.

Riverside Youth Band in full flow


Both adjudicators, Alan Morrison and John Doyle, heaped praise on all participating bands with special mention to the contributions of all the musical directors and band trainers who made terrific efforts in preparing the high quality of music on offer.

A delighted Mark Good commented: “I am so proud of everyone involved at Riverside Youth. The children are all a great credit to their teachers and schools throughout Inverclyde.”

The only contest all weekend which provided a name change on the trophy came in the Percussion Section which saw local group Perth and Kinross Percussion Ensemble (Lynsey Paterson) wrest the title from Barbara Jane Waddell’s Midlothian Percussion Ensemble, both receiving a Gold Award.

Percussion champions from Perth and Kinross Percussion Ensemble


The Saturday contests which preceded Whitburn Band’s successful defence of the Scottish Open crown saw both Campbeltown Brass title holders also succeed in returning to the Kintyre peninsula with silverware intact.

MD Katrina Barr conducted both Campbeltown’s Brass Juniors (Preparatory Section) and Brass Intermediate (Novice Section) to first place, securing two Gold Awards in the process. Coalburn Bronze (David Fehily) also received a Gold in finishing second in the Prepratory Section while Penicuik Junior Band (Stuart Black) was runner-up in the Novices with a Silver Award.

Campbeltown Brass Juniors featuring lower brass


There was plenty of positive feedback on the weekend’s proceedings, not least from Black Dyke trombone star Brett Baker who had entertained ‘pre-results’ audiences on both days with his Salford University Graduation Band. Brett commented: “We had such an enjoyable weekend. The SBBA staff were very friendly and supportive and we really enjoyed performing in front of appreciative crowds. It was also a joy to hear so many well-prepared youth ensembles.”

SBBA President Carrie Boax commented: “It has been another terrific weekend of music-making in Perth and I’d like to thank everyone involved at SBBA and all the participating bands for their efforts throughout this year’s Scottish Festival of Brass.” 

The full results were:

Preparatory Section

Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson and John Doyle

1. Campbeltown Brass Juniors (Katrina Barr) Gold

2. Coalburn Bronze (David Fehily) Gold

Campbeltown Brass Beginners (Stephanie Mitchell) Silver

Argyll Brass Roots (Darren Tarn) Silver

Whitburn Wee Band (Charlie Farren) Bronze

Highland Future Brass (Mark Bell) Bronze

Novice Section

Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson and Les Neish

1. Campbeltown Brass Intermediate (Katrina Barr) Gold

2. Penicuik Junior (Stuart Black) Silver

Gorbals Youth (Lauren McCormick) Silver

Eastern Borders School Band (Graeme Kennedy) Silver

Brass Central Strathearn Development (Tom Smith) Bronze

Galashiels Junior (Stuart Black) Bronze

Development Section

Adjudicators: Alan Morrison and John Doyle

1. Riverside Youth (Mark Good) Gold

2. Levern Valley Community Brass (Brian Deans) Gold

Loanhead Brass Youth (Alan Fernie) Gold

Whitburn Youth (Caroline Farren) Silver

Perthshire Youth Brass (David Finlay) Silver

St. Ronan’s Future (David Robb) Silver

South Ayrshire Brass (Scott Walker) Silver

Arbroath Instrumental Youth (Robert McDonald) Silver

Bathgate Youth (Stewart Brynes) Bronze

Galashiels Youth (Stuart Black) Bronze

Abbey Brass (Stuart Black) Bronze

Percussion Section

Adjudicators: Steven Mead and Alan Morrison

1. Perth and Kinross Percussion Ensemble (Lynsey Paterson) Gold

2. Midlothian Percussion Ensemble (Barbara Jane Waddell) Gold

Midlothian Training Ensemble (Barbara Jane Waddell) Silver

Senior Section

Adjudicators: Steven Mead and Alan Morrison

1. Scottish Borders Youth Band (Alan Fernie) Gold