2020 NYBBS Virtual Performance to replace end-of-course concert

Wednesday 3 June 2020

The build-up to an online concert by Scotland’s young brass band musicians is well under way.

Since the cancellation of the NYBBS (National Youth Brass Band of Scotland) summer residential course because of the COVID-19 lockdown, work has been going on behind the scenes to create an exciting project over the next couple of months which will involve as many NYBBS students as possible to ensure that a grand finale on 8 August will still be feasible, albeit in a virtual environment.

Course organisers from SBBA have been collaborating with tutors and conductors to engage the students in the preparation of an online concert to bring to an end what would have been a week of learning at Strathallan School in Perthshire.

To replace the traditional face-to-face tuition, a series of videos has been prepared by the NYBBS conducting team for the SBBA YouTube channel, offering their encouragement, advice and musical expertise.

The latest innovation is a multi-video SBBA YouTube programme featuring Scottish conductor, adjudicator and composer Alan Fernie who has been commissioned to write a special piece of music for the concert.

Alan explains his creative process for writing the score for the opening piece to the 2020 NYBBS Virtual Performance. In a series of clips, he talks about 'Choosing a Name' for his new composition. The one-word title of Ceòl (Gaelic for music), he says, reflects the fact that the piece is a “short and snappy starter” to the concert.

In the 'Building a Melody' episode, he explains that striking just the black keys on a piano can produce a quite pleasant sound with the pentatonic scale reminiscent of Scottish tunes. Lowering the key a semi-tone from six sharps to F major is important to make the piece more straightforward and accessible to younger players who will be playing their parts in isolation for them to be ‘knitted’ together into an online performance.

Alan’s composition tutorial is planned to be a six-part programme leading up to the music’s inclusion in the NYBBS final concert. The videos can been seen on the SBBA YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCaZ-y2mx_E


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Email Nigel Martin: sbbapr@gmail.com