Oxfordshire Youth Band

Conductor: Judith Atkins
All Saints Church
Tuesday 13th August

Oxfordshire Youth Brass thoroughly entertained an audience of family and friends in their annual summer concert.  

Made up 25 children and teenagers from Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties, they played a lively selection of pieces containing plenty of challenges for the musicians.

Looking very smart in their polo shirts, the players had just completed a five-day residential course at the nearby Longridge Activity Centre in preparation for the event – the music making supplemented by plenty of water-based activities on the River Thames.


The highlight was a visit from Scottish composer and arranger, Alan Fernie.  Thanks to a donation from the Oxfordshire & District Brass Band Association, the players were able to enjoy Alan’s services to rehearse both its concert programme and provide some new compositions.  He was a huge hit with band members who were inspired by his enthusiasm and passion.  

MD Judith Atkins put together a programme which would challenge many adult bands, with the first half opening with ‘Pound the Streets’ by Paul Lovatt Cooper, followed by Malcolm Arnold’s ‘Little Suite for Brass’, where they displayed some fine playing in the slow movement. 

A touch of 1950s ‘B’ movie sci-fi was injected with Alan Fernie’s ‘Attack of the Killer Trombones’, where the impressive section of five players came to the front, and, complete with dark glasses, added their own choreography. 

13 year-old euphonium soloist Eddie, from Wantage Concert Brass certainly impressed with his playing of ‘Blaydon Races’, as did Wantage Academy Band’s 15 year-old principal cornet, Jamie, on ‘Rusalka’s Song to the Moon’ delivered with confidence and style.

A touch of 1950s ‘B’ movie sci-fi was injected with Alan Fernie’s ‘Attack of the Killer Trombones’, where the impressive section of five players came to the front, and, complete with dark glasses, added their own choreography. 


More quality followed in the second half with the ‘Florentine March’ featuring 12 year-old cornet soloist Thea, from Cholsey Silver Band. 

In addition there were some very well played band favourites, including ‘The Lion King’, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ and ‘Sir Duke’ whilst the young soloists once again took centre stage with a fun bass trombone solo from Grace, aged 15, from Wantage Concert Brass, and 16-year-old George’s beautiful rendition of ‘Alfie’ on flugel.

There was much to celebrate at this concert, with the young players brimming with vitality and enthusiasm.  

It was obvious the Oxfordshire Youth Brass has a great deal to offer under the guidance of MD, Judith Atkins and her team of volunteer staff. The congratulations were prolonged and thoroughly well deserved.

Rob Tompkins

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