Riverside Youth solo competition showcased emerging musical talent

Sunday 18 April 2021

They may not have been able to meet for over a year but members of Inverclyde-based Riverside Youth Band have continued to flourish following their latest lockdown project.

The band, which rehearses in Port Glasgow in normal times, has held its fourth annual solo competition, which saw 27 virtual performances from members as they showcased their musical skills online.

Tuba star and Besson artist Les Neish listened carefully to the performances before coming to a decision on the award winners. The internationally-renowned performer offered useful hints and tips before chatting to members about his own musical journey.

Reflecting on the event, Riverside Youth Band's musical director Mark Good commented: "Playing a solo takes some grit and determination. Recording a solo – and getting it just right – takes even more resilience so I'm extremely proud of Riverside Youth Band members for rising to the challenge, as they have done throughout these challenging times.

"Whether they go on to study music or pursue a completely different career path, these experiences will play a huge role in shaping the confident young adults they will become.”

The competition was split into three classes, catering for different levels of experience. The junior section was won by trombonist Hannah Martin (Dumbarton Academy – cover photo), ahead of Andrew Smith (Inverclyde Academy) in second and Amy Boyle (St Francis Primary) in third.


Lucy McAlees and Mark Gammon celebrate their winning performances. Photo credit: George Munro (Greenock Telegraph).

 In the intermediate class, cornet player Lucy McAlees (Port Glasgow High School) came first ahead of Hannah McInnes in second and Rachel O'Connor in third (both Inverclyde Academy).

 The winner of the senior section was bass trombonist Mark Gammon (Port Glasgow High School) ahead of Ewan Galloway (Trinity High, Renfrew) in second and Scott Crumlish (Inverclyde Academy) in third.

Duncan Galbraith, chairman of Riverside Youth Band, said: “While we cannot wait for the day in-person musical activities are able to resume, we have sought to ensure our young people are able to continue progressing at a time when it would be easy to lose motivation.

“Our 2021 solo competition is the latest in a series of activities undertaken during lockdown, including weekly online rehearsals and performances, as well as an awards night and one-to-one masterclasses with leading performers and educators. We're grateful to Inverclyde Council's Grants for Voluntary Organisations Fund for its support in bringing many of these ideas to fruition.”

Riverside Youth Band continues to welcome brass and percussion players, regardless of their level of experience. Email secretary@riversideyouthband.co.uk

• Cover photo credit: Craig Martin.


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