Whitburn Youth Band was first formed in 2001, but took off in its present format in 2009 under the leadership of Laura McMahon and Musical Director, Caroline Farren.
After a short spell of building numbers and confidence as well as bagging several concert performances with the senior band, Whitburn Youth Band first took to the stage to compete in November 2011 at the SBBA Youth Championships in Perth. Entering the Preparatory section, it delivered a throughly polished and professional performance, delighting the audience and adjudicators and receiving a Gold award.
More success was to follow with a win at the Innerleithen Youth Band contest in September 2012 under the baton of Chris Bradley. In November the band returned to Perth, this time claiming a second placein the Novice section.
In April 2013, the band travelled to the National Youth Brass Band Championships held at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and was awarded a silver award for its efforts. With an average age of just 11, and in a category with an upper age limit of 21, this was no mean feat!
The band has gone on to win gold awards at every competition it has entered and most recently, won for the second year in a row, the Development section of the Scottish Youth Championships. It has also introduced a solo festival to Whitburn, now in its fifth year. Whitburn Youth Band has travelled to Leeds to perform alongside Black Dyke Band in its own festival as guests of conductor, Nicholas Childs. The band has worked with some of the top conductors in banding including Ian Porthouse, Erik Janssen, Michael Fowles, and Nicholas Childs. It has also hosted the Youth Band of Upper Austria and associate soloist Steven Mead. The band has taken part in an annual band camp with members of the senior band as tutors and coaches.
Many of the band members are also part of their school bands as well as regional bands and also the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland. Whitburn has a healthy beginner band, known affectionately as the Wee Band, and also the development pathway, which houses the Whitburn Heartlands Band (current third section) and the players within the associate pathway bands (Bathgate and Broxburn & Livingston).
Whitburn Youth Band is keen to support the local communities in a similar fashion to the senior band, and can provide entertainment at a variety of public and private events including gala days and winter fayres. The band is always keen to invite new members along to join us at any stage in its playing career, from beginner, to advanced. Rehearsal times are detailed below, and anyone looking for more information is welcome to get in touch!
Whitburn Youth Band would like to thank the Whitburn and Bathgate Rotary clubs for their continued generosity as well as Creative Scotland and YMI.
Whitburn Brass Festival 2013
The event held on Saturday 27th April 2013, saw 29 of West Lothian's finest brass and percussion playing kids, aged from 8 years old to 16, participate in our second annual Brass Festival. A marked increase on last year's inaugural event boosted by a number of entrants, from James Young High and Bellsquarry and Williamston Primary Schools, supplementing our home-grown talent from Whitburn Brass.
Accompanied on keyboards by Alan Hastie, the Junior Solos, with an upper age limit of 12, began the show with 13 players in the section. The Intermediate Solos, upper age limit of 16, followed and the brass section was completed by the Senior Solos of 18 and under. Percussion for players of any age completed the Solo competition.
Adjudicator for the day - Charlie Farren, gave the following results;
1. Arran McMahon (Whitburn) - Gold Award
2. Michael Harrison (Williamston) - Gold Award
3. Robyn Mitchell (Whitburn) - Gold Award
1. Cameron McMahon (Whitburn) - Gold Award
2. John Walker (Whitburn) - Gold Award
3= Lois Kirk (Whitburn) - Gold Award
3= Owen Shade (Whitburn) - Gold Award
1. Aimee Watson (Whitburn) - Bronze Award
1. Ryan Bradley (Whitburn) Gold Award
2. Jamie Buchan (Whitburn) Gold Award
3. Aimee Watson (Whitburn) - Bronze Award
The day also saw the second ever performance by the Whitburn Wee Band, conducted by Stewart Brynes, our first tier band, giving an insight to the positive future for Whitburn Brass as they rise through the ranks.
The event was also the chance to recognise the youth players of Whitburn Brass for their commitment and outstanding ability over the past year. The following players were rewarded as follows;
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Katie Anderson (Baritone)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Sponsored by C.M. OPTICAL, WHITBURN
Arran McMahon (Cornet)
BANDPERSON OF THE YEAR
Mark Elwis (Cornet)
We look forward to the event continuing to grow and hope the success of this year goes some way to attracting even more players for The Whitburn Brass Festival in future.
SUCCESS AT INNERLEITHEN
Whitburn Youth Band is rapidly gaining a reputation for having the midas touch when it comes to brass band contests.
On Saturday, September 22, it took part in the novice section at the inaugural St.Ronan’s Youth Brass Band Contest, which was hastily arranged to give youth bands a chance to perform in the lead up to the Scottish Championships.
Taking to the stage resplendent in their claret and gold uniforms, the band triumphed with a gold award - adding to the same accolade won at last year’s Scottish Youth Championships.
The adjudicator Sam Hairsine, of the Royal Marines Band, summed it up with his assessment: “Whitburn displayed excellent presentation, accomplished playing and deportment from start to finish.”
The youngsters, conducted by Chris Bradley, played Pastime with Good Company, the hymn Nicea, the theme from The Muppet Show and Mission Impossible. It was also the first ever contest performance for Katie Anderson (Baritone) and Aimee Watson (Percussion).
Whitburn Youth Band - associated with Whitburn Band, one of Scotland’s leading brass bands - now look forward to the Scottish championships in Perth in November.
Whitburn Youth Band Committee
Chairperson Musical Director Secretary Treasurer Child Protection
Laura McMahon Caroline Farren Brian Walker Brett McMahon Linda Walker
Wee Band: Sundays 2 - 3pm
Youth Band: Sundays 3:30 - 5:30pm
Heartlands Band: Mondays 7:30 - 9pm
Whitburn Band Hall,
Murraysgate Industrial Estate,
East of Scotland Brass Band Association Solo Competition 2012.
A good turn out of competitors saw Whitburn Youth Band enter 7 players in the Junior and Intermediate categories. Our players achievements are as follows;
Lauren Bradley (Cornet) = Silver
Rachel Harris (Tenor Horn) = Bronze
Arran McMahon (Cornet) = Gold
Hannah McMahon (Cornet) = Bronze
Robyn Mitchell (Baritone) = Silver
The Junior section was won by our own Owen Shade (Trombone), representing St. Margaret's Academy, and he has qualified for the Scottish Solo Championship Finals.
Aiden Shade (Euphonium) = Silver, is also a Whitburn Youth Band player and was representing St. Margaret's Academy
Cameron McMahon (Euphonium) = 4th
John Walker (Euphonium) = 3rd
John will represent Whitburn Youth Band at the Scottish Solo Championship Finals.
GOLD AT PERTH
On Sunday 25th November 2012, Whitburn Youth Band contested the Novice section at the Scottish Youth Brass Band Championships held in Perth. Their first outing at the higher level, since debuting in the Preparatory Section at the 2011 event, saw the band achieve the Gold Award, placed second overall and presented with The Motherwell Cup, ahead of 11 other bands from all over Scotland.
One of two youth bands representing West Lothian, the band maintained its consistency finishing above more well established youth bands in the section and came hard on the heels of a well earned victory at the St.Ronan’s Youth Brass Band Contest in September.
The band sparkled on the big stage in their claret and gold uniforms, under contest conductor Stewart Brynes, and played the theme from the film ‘Rocky’, Pastime with Good Company, the hymn Nicea and rounded the performance off with the rousing theme from the hit TV show and Movie series, Mission Impossible. It was the first ever major performance for several of the players, whose ages range from just 8 up to 16 at present.
Contest adjudicators Professor John Wallace CBE and Raymond Tennant summed up the bands performance, “Exciting driven performance, overall excellent, and very well delivered.”
NATIONALS JUST GRAND FOR WHITBURN
With an average age of just 11 years old, Whitburn Youth Band went up against the cream of the UK’s youth brass bands as they travelled the long road to Manchester, for their first ever appearance at the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, on Sunday 14th April.
Whitburn competed in the Junior section, as the sole Scottish representatives, against 11 other vastly more experienced bands and claimed a Silver award, finishing joint 4th, behind winning band – Fred Longworth High School of Tyldesley, Manchester.
The Youth Band’s Musical Director, Caroline Farren, had the band pull off a fantastic performance of brass favourite, Blaze Away, the upbeat Viva la Vida, hymn tune Aurelia and, for their finale, left an appreciative audience ‘Shaken and most definitely stirred’ with the iconic theme from James Bond.
WHITBURN BRASS FESTIVAL 2012
The inaugural Whitburn Brass Festival featuring one of the world’s most gifted tuba players has been a success.
Whitburn Youth Band hosted the event with guest soloist Les Neish in the town’s Brucefield Church on May 18 and 19.
The festival began with a masterclass from Les, who is a Besson tuba artist, with students from Whitburn Youth Band and Newland’s Concert Youth
in attendance. The gala concert which followed featured both Whitburn Youth Band and Exchange Communications Whitburn, with Les as guest soloist.
Under the direction of Musical Director Caroline Farren, the youth band played signature tunes such as Muppet Show theme and Pastime with Good
Company. It then featured its own rising soloist, as the band’s Tenor Horn player Jenny Elwis, 11, gave an outstanding rendition of Aura Lee (Love me
Tender). She was then presented with the Bandsperson of the Year award.
The senior band then took to the stage for the second half of the concert with Anne Crookston at the helm. The band’s programme included Olympic
Spirit, Selections from Titanic and Dundonnell from Hymn of the Highlands, which were all well received by an appreciative audience. Also performing
with the band, Les delivered outstanding performances, demonstrating technical and lyrical finesse in exceptional musical readings of Song for the
Skies, Swing Low and Hora Staccato.
To bring the concert to a rousing conclusion, both bands joined forces and presented Mission Impossible with 11- year-old Ryan Bradley from the
youth band excelling on drum kit.
The following morning, the youth band hosted the slow melody competition with Les as adjudicator. As always, he gave some wise words of
encouragement before and after the competition and managed to settle most of the nerves of the anxious youngsters taking part on the day.
In total there were 13 competitors over four sections. The junior section (under 12s) was won by the youth band’s cornet player Arran McMahon giving
a polished performance of Share my Yoke. Euphonium star Leighton Griffin from St David’s High, Dalkeith achieved victory in the intermediate section
(under 16s) with his sterling rendition of the Irish folk tune The Londonderry Air, with Lisa Callaghan of Loanhead Brass Youth winning the Senior
section (under 18, displaying a beautiful tone on the Flugel Horn. The Percussion Section was won by Whitburn Youth Band’s Aimee Watson, who
joined the band in December last year.
With the support of SBBA and Besson, the Whitburn Band organisation hopes the Whitburn Brass Festival will take place again next year and grow
into one of the highlights of the Scottish brass band calendar.
Youth Contest Results
Arran McMahon (WYB), Gold, 1
Jenny Elwis (WYB), Silver
Rachel Harris(WYB), Silver
Aiden Shade (WYB), Silver
Owen Shade (WYB), Silver
Finlay Cook (WYB), Bronze
Robyn Mitchell (WYB), Bronze
Leighton Griffin (St Davids High), Gold, 1
Cameron McMahon (WYB), Silver
Mark Elwis (WYB), Silver
John Walker (WYB), Silver
Lisa Callaghan (Loanhead Brass Youth), Silver, 1
Aimee Watson (WYB), Silver, 1
2013 CHAMPIONS AT INNERLEITHEN
Having won the Novice Section of the previous year’s contest Whitburn Youth Band travelled back to Innerleithen, on Saturday, September 7th, to take part in the higher level, Development Section.
Following on from taking 4th place in Manchester at the British Championships in April, Whitburn triumphed with a gold award and overall champion band on the day.
The adjudicator Bryan Allen, summed it up with his assessment: “A truly excellent performance, musically and technically and delivered with a great sense of style and commitment.”
Conducted by resident Director of Music – Caroline Farren, Whitburn played Michael Buble’s – ‘Just Haven’t met you yet’, the hymn ‘Crimond’ better recognised as Psalm 23, The upbeat ‘Viva la Vida’ by Coldplay and topped off a superb performance with the theme from ‘James Bond’.
The contest saw debut performances for Morgan Tait (Cornet), Melanie Pollock (Tenor Horn), Amy Gray (Trombone), Calum Welsh (Tuba), Megan Elliott (Trombone) Kerry Gordon (Cornet).
Whitburn Youth Band now looks forward to competing in the Novice section of the Scottish Championships in Perth in November.
Whitburn Youth Band contested in the Novice section of the Scottish Youth Brass Band Championships held in Perth on Sunday 24th November 2013, hoping to better their second place at the previous years' contest. Whitburn didn't disappoint and stormed to victory with the only Gold Award of the day, earning the thoroughly deserved title of Scottish Champions, making it a fantastic double for the organisation with the senior Whitburn Band also holding this years' coveted Scottish Champion Band title.
Coming to the Scottish Championships, after retaining their winners' title at the St.Ronan’s Youth Brass Band Contest in September, Whitburn wowed the appreciative audience in their claret and gold uniforms under Director of Music - Caroline Farren.
The band appropriately kicked off their performance with the Robbie Williams hit, 'Let Me Entertain You.' Next up was 'My Heart Will Go On,' better known as the theme from the film Titanic. The tempo was then raised for the band's rendition of The Andrew's Sisters iconic 1941 hit, 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,' and the performance rounded off with the catchy beat of 'African Funk'.
Arran McMahon, Whitburn's solo cornet player, also drew a special mention for his overall performance from the contest adjudicators, Brett Baker and Jappie Dijkstra, and they summed up the bands performance as, “Well rehearsed with much to commend.”
YOUTH BAND ARE SCOTTISH CHAMPIONS