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Report & Results: 2018 Scottish Youth Festival

Away from the senior battles, there was plenty of fantastic playing over two weekends of the Scottish Youth Festival

  The Scottish Youth Festival was a great success over two weekends at Perth Concert Hall.

Whilst 24 hours earlier the serious business of winning the Scottish Open title resulted in some competitors at Perth Concert Hall placing well intentioned ambition ahead of realistic sensibility, the following day there was no such problems in a great event packed with limitless enthusiasm and endeavour.

The faces of adjudicators David Thornton, Raymond Tennant and Katrina Marzella (as well as Alasdair Rankin the previous weekend with the Percussion Ensembles) must have ached for ages as they beamed at the efforts of the 31 ensembles as they took the stage under their MDs.

Long term development

SBBA's long term development of grass roots talent now has a real sense of permanence and purpose about it — right from the seedlings of the non-competitive 'Young Bands' who showcased their emerging talents amongst their peers in a very sensible 'mixed presentation' instead of a formal sectionalised draw.

Baggy Trousers

They were led by a wonderful Gold Award winner Arbroath Instrumental, conducted by Robert McDonald, who delighted everyone with their set that included everything from 'Highland Cathedral' to 'Baggy Trousers' by Madness and Offenbach's 'Can-Can'.

Kirkintilloch Youth (Katherine Adams) also picked up a Gold Award for their great efforts which saw them deliver a rousing march 'Blaze Away' and even music from the film 'Pulp Fiction'. There were Silver Awards to Bo'ness & Carriden and Gorbals Youth Brass Ensemble and a Bronze to Penny Brass — all showcasing their talents led by inspirational conductors.

The bands in the Preparatory, Novice and Development Sections had to include a set-work in their 15 minute spots, neatly aimed at their level of musical progress.

Sleigh Bells

Campbeltown Brass Juniors in the Preparatory Section (for inexperienced bands or small groups) certainly showed their qualities under Stephanie Mitchell as they claimed a deserved Gold Award.

They performed Alan Fernie's set-work, 'Lion, King of the Jungle' linked to excellent renditions of 'Chorale', a festive airing of 'Sleigh Bells', a mature 'Si Bheag Si Mhor' and the fun packed 'Ghostbusters' to close.

There was also a Gold Award for Irvine & Dreghorn (John Boax) who presented a lively set that included the brilliantly entitled, 'Cheesy Feet Rock' and 'Marching Marines'.

Silver Awards went to Dalmellington Brass Academy and Glashiels Junior, with Bronze Awards to Coalburn Bronze and Perth & Kinross Junior.

World premiere

Perthshire Youth Brass led by George D Annan claimed the top Novice Section (for more experienced junior bands) Gold Award.

Their well thought out set not only included, 'The Saints' from Alan Fernie's 'Four Spirituals for Youth' set-work, but also featured a world premiere in 'An Lia Fail' (The Stone of Scone) written by senior band member Jason Blyth, who also wrote the atmospheric 'The Angel's Share'. 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' and 'Uptown Funk' rounded off a fine performance worthy of its accolade.

There were also Gold Award standard performances from Abbey Brass (Stuart Black) and Broxburn & Livingston Future Brass (Jim Bone) who showcased works as diverse as 'African Funk' and 'Prismatic Light' to 'Mission Impossible' and 'This is Me' from the film 'The Greatest Showman'.

Silver Awards went to Penicuik Junior, St John's RC High School Brass and Stranraer Brass Junior, with Bronze to Brass Central Strathearn Development and St David's Youth — all giving performances full of promise and confidence.

Samba entrance

The excellent Development Section (for experienced youth bands) saw no less than three bands claimed deserved Gold Awards — topped by Riverside Youth led by Mark Good.

They certainly made an impression with their entrance to the Perth Concert Hall stage with their samba dancing 'Caribbean Holiday' set-work, (with the MD taking crafty back seat).

The touching rendition of Andi Cook's 'Manchester', a cracking 'Harry James Trumpet Concerto' performance from rising star Alan Hunter and a confident rendition of 'Starburst' by Dan Price rounded off a super performance.

There were also fine performances from Campbeltown Brass Intermediate and Levern Valley Community Brass in taking Gold Awards, with music such as 'Clog Dance' and 'Pirates of the Caribbean' to 'George of the Jungle' and 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' respectively, as well as from the Silver Award winners Galashiels Youth and St Ronan's Youth and Bronze Award winner Bathgate Youth.


It was left to the Scottish Borders Youth Band under Alan Fernie (whose music is a great touchstone for youth band development at all levels) to claim the Senior Section Gold Award (for players up to the age of 18) for the third consecutive year with a 20 minute performance of engaging quality.

With the inclusion of masterclass workshops from Katrina Marzella and Rachel Neil as well as the University of Salford Graduation Band and an excellent Percussion Section feature on the weekend of the Scottish Challenge Shield (topped by a vibrant Midlothian Percussion Ensemble led by Barbara-Jane Waddell), the Scottish Youth Festival continues to grow with a solidity of purpose that bodes so well for the whole of the Scottish banding movement.

The bands in the Preparatory, Novice and Development Sections had to include a set-work in their 15 minute spots, neatly aimed at their level of musical progress4BR


Non competitive Youth Band Section:

Gold Awards:
Arbroath Instrumental Youth (Robert McDonald)
Kirkintilloch Youth (Katherine Adams)

Silver Awards:
Bo'ness & Carriden (Dianne Waugh)
Gorbals Youth Brass Ensemble (Lauren McCormick)

Bronze Awards:
Penny Brass (Tony Cripps)

Preparatory Section:

Gold Awards:
1. Campbeltown Brass Juniors (Stephanie Mitchell)
2. Irvine & Dreghorn Community (John Boax)

Silver Award:
Dalmellington Brass Academy (Karin McKenzie)
Galashiels Junior (Stuart Black)

Bronze Award:
Coalburn Bronze (David Fehilly)
Perth & Kinross Junior (William McMullan)

Novice Section:

Gold Awards:
1. Perthshire Youth Brass (George D Annan)
2. Abbey Brass (Stuart Black)
3. Broxburn & Livingston Future Brass (Jim Bone)

Silver Awards:
Penicuik Junior (Eric Robertson)
St. John's RC High School Brass (Audrey Bird)
Stranraer Brass Junior (Angela Miller)

Bronze Awards:
Brass Central Strathearn Development (Tom Smith)
St. David's Youth (Sam Denton)

Development Section:

Gold Awards:
1. Riverside Youth (Mark Good)
2. Campbeltown Brass Intermediate (Katrina Barr)
3. Levern Valley Community Brass (Brian Deans)

Silver Awards:
Galashiels Youth (Stuart Black)
St. Ronan's Future (David Robb)

Bronze Awards:
Bathgate Youth (Stewart Brines)

Senior Section:

Adjudicator: Katrina Marzella

Gold Award:
1. Scottish Borders Youth Brass (Alan Fernie)

Silver Award:
Loanhead Brass Youth (Alan Fernie)

Bronze Award:
Whitburn Youth (Caroline Farren)

Percussion Section:

Gold Awards:
1. Midlothian Percussion Ensemble (Barbara-Jane Waddell)

Midlothian Training Ensemble (Barbara-Jane Waddell)
Perth & Kinross Percussion Ensemble (Lynsey Paterson)

Silver Award:
Coalburn Percussion Academy (Gordon Millar)

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Conductor, composer, arranger, tutor and pianist