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National Youth Bands of Scotland

Conductors: Alan Fernie; John Boax; Ian Porthouse; Richard Evans
Strathallan School
Friday 6th August


Scottish banding at all levels has endured a difficult year and more due to the ongoing effects of Covid-19, in particular in addressing the challenges posed by maintaining rehearsals and performances.

During that time the Scottish Brass Band Association’s proactive approach, especially with its link to the next generation of musicians through social media technology has kept enthusiasm bubbling - the results of which exploded like the fizz out of an energy drink bottle when they finally met up ‘in person’ at Strathallan School.

Collective display

Understandably then, this was a collective display (with plenty of cameo solo contributions) of those achievements; an online concert production of almost four hours duration featuring the trio of age and development calibrated Childrens Band, Reserve Band and Senior Band ensembles.  

After such a long time away, it was one musical marathon players, staff, families, friends would have been happy to run again and again.

The Children’s Band provided ample evidence of the growing foundation level of talent that will hopefully benefit further from the recent announcement from the Scottish Government of extra peripatetic music provision funding.

Alan Fernie’s infectious enthusiasm certainly rubbed off on his charges with a series of super performances which included music by Richard Strauss to Eric Osterling, as well as a world premiere of Alan’s  ‘A Summer Overture’  which reflected on his own youthful NYBBS experiences as far back as the 1970s!

The Children’s Band provided ample evidence of the growing foundation level of talent that will hopefully benefit further from the recent announcement from the Scottish Government of extra peripatetic music provision funding.

Energy

The Reserve Band also provided slick entertainment and achievement; John Boax leading a confident ensemble through a set that built from the opening  ‘To Catch a Spark’  to glow with energy through to the closing premiere of  ‘Music for Jock Tamson’. 

Richard Evans was on hand to ensure the players appreciated the art of lyrical musicality with a tenderly phrased  ‘Elegy’  by Leigh Baker, whilst composer Gareth Bowman clever  ‘Fives for Brass’  suite provided a great test of character and technique.  

Substance and character

It was all rounded off by the Senior Band under Ian Porthouse with a well-chosen set that encompassed music from Strauss and Heaton via Lennon & McCartney and Henry Mancini, whilst Richard Evans led the players through the contrasting challenges of John Ireland’s  ‘Elegy’  from  ‘A Downland Suite’  and R B Hall’s  ‘The New Colonial’  march.   

The anonymous off camera scream of delight as the band took its final bow summed things up perfectly; a super week delivered by an organisation looking to build on its community roots by nurturing the long term development of future generations of enthused Scottish brass banding talent.

It all ended with the demanding finisher of  ‘The Buoy’  by Stan Nieuwenhuis which bobbled, ebbed and flowed with substance and character, following a couple of neat detours of  ‘Breezin’ down Broadway’ and  ‘I Will Follow Him’  and the touching premiere of the baritone solo  ‘Golden Sands’  by Iona McVicar featuring baritone soloist Charlie Box. 

The anonymous off camera scream of delight as the band took its final bow summed things up perfectly; a super week delivered by an organisation looking to build on its community roots by nurturing the long term development of future generations of enthused Scottish brass banding talent.

Iwan Fox  

To enjoy the concert go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvF8sPEJiCs

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