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