Fernie becomes new MD of National Children's Band of Scotland

The successful National Youth Band of Scotland course heralded new changes, new composition talent and new prize winners.

Alan Fernie
  Alan Fernie will take over the baton at the National Childrens Band of Scotland

In addition to the fine music making at the recent National Youth Brass Band of Scotland course, there was the announcement of a new conductor for the National Children's Band, the award of the 2018 Composer's Prize and the annual presentation of prizes to players.

The respected conductor, composer and musician Alan Fernie will take over the baton of the National Children's Band from 2019.

Alan will carry on the inspirational work and leadership of Gordon Evans MBE, the founder of the band, and whose association with NYBBS started in 1985.


John Boax, SBBA Education Officer told 4BR: "We are thrilled that Alan has agreed to take on this crucial role, and to further develop the truly remarkable work started by Gordon.

The Children's Band is the first step on the rung of the NYBBS organisation, and one that sets the ethos and musical pathway for all young players. Alan is such a highly respected musician and we are delighted to welcome him."

Composer winner

Meanwhile, the Senior Band concert saw the world premiere of Jack McKenzie's, 'We Are Victorious' the work that won the 2nd Young Scottish Composer Award.

Open to composers up to the age of 23, it took the £500 first prize ahead of 'Diamond March' written by Ross Bahlaj and 'Introduction & March: Paradox' by Andrew Blair.

"Once again the overall standard was excellent, and it was thrilling to hear the premiere given at the concert"SBBA President Carrie Boax told 4BR.

"Encouraging new talent to write for the National Youth Band of Scotland is very important and carries on a proud tradition that has seen many major works commissioned from composers such as Malcolm Arnold, Thomas Wilson and Paul Mealor.

We look forward to being able to perform many more new works from Jack, Ross and Andrew in the years to come."

Award winner

Finally, the presentation of individual awards saw John Walker from Bathgate Band receive the Senior Band 'Best Student Award', with EEb tuba player Gavin Johnson taking the new Tom McCrone Award. The Philip McCann 'Best Cornet' prize was won by Callum Robb of St Ronan's.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Band 'Best Student' award went to trombonist Caius Walker from Campbeltown Brass, with Aileen Orr, a bass trombonist from Whitburn Youth Band taking the award in the Children's Band.

The future continues to look rosy as SBBA supported by Creative Scotland provides opportunities to enrich the open minds of our young brass band musiciansSBBA President, Carrie Boax

Highest levels of support

Carrie Boax added: "It was a wonderful course this year with so much to admire and enjoy from everyone involved.

It was especially heartening that on our 60th anniversary to receive messages of support for our work from the highest tiers of government, as well as from so many influential people who have been part of the organisation over the past 60 years.

As I said in my programme notes to accompany the course: The future continues to look rosy as SBBA supported by Creative Scotland provides opportunities to enrich the open minds of our young brass band musicians."

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