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Besson Solo & ensemble Contest

4th February 2012


The Besson Solo and Ensemble contest is a key annual event for brass band musicians and offers a highly respected competitive platform for young players.  The Saturday contest features the finalists from the Junior, Intermediate, Youth Solo and Ensemble sections, all of whom have qualified through previous regional competitions. Once again, remarkable achievements from members of Campbeltown Brass!




Solo Competition

Iona McVicar

Junior Solo, Gold Award, First


Erin McSporran

Intermediate Solo, Gold Award, First

Erin also won the World of Brass Music Innovation Award


Intermediate Ensembles

Campbeltown Quartet - Silver

Campbeltown Trombone Quartet - Bronze


Well done everyone!


Workshop with Les Neish

18th - 19th February 2012

The Scottish Brass Band Festival was held over the weekend of 26 – 27 November in Perth Concert Hall.  Mr George Burt, President of SBBA wrote: “One of the most exciting parts of the event will be the Scottish Youth Championships, which showcase the best of Scotland’s youth bands…”

This year Campbeltown Juniors were entered into a higher section than the section they won last year – so the pressure was on.  Competing against 7 other youth bands across Scotland, they knew they had to be on top form…and they did not disappoint!

From beginning to end, these youngsters conducted themselves and performed like seasoned pros.  Credit must be given to their Musical Director, Jamie McVicar, for choosing such a varied and dynamic programme, and inspiring and instilling in the band the confidence to tackle these pieces.

“Adjudicators David Childs and Ian Porthouse were also very impressed by the overall standard on show, with the amazing Campbeltown Junior Band once again showing that there is an almost inexhaustible seam of young playing talent being unearthed in the remote West coast town – some six hours drive from Perth.” (4barsrest) 

We commend each player for all their hard work.  It is amazing to think that these are only children of primary and secondary school age, yet they exhibit such competence in their playing and a great attitude towards learning.

Many thanks to all the parents, friends and members of the band for the continued support, without which the band wouldn’t be the success it is today.


"On the 18th of February, 5 brass players from Islay and Jura band went along to Campbeltown for a brass weekend.  When we got to Campbeltown we went straight to our workshops.  We got given a piece of music by Katrina, the conductor, which was Catch a Falling Star so we had a wee look over that and then played it with some other players from Campbeltown.  Then we played it with Les Neish, who has recorded with Sting and might possibly be the best tuba player in the world.  He can play 72 notes on the tuba!  Wow!  Then it was the concert!  The nerves definitely started to kick in but we played it very well.  Then all the Islay players did a rendition of Oh Ye Canny Shove Yer Granny off the Bus!  It turned out very well!  Then we listened to Campbeltown Brass Band.  They were AMAZING! I have never heard anything like it!  

The next day, we did some masterclasses with Les.  We played some concentration games which were very hard!  Then we all got his autograph! It was truly a superb weekend!"

"I really enjoyed the workshops on Saturday and Sunday. I really enjoyed meeting Les and having a lesson with him. He taught me lots of fancy things. I enjoyed meeting everyone from Islay. 

"The workshops on Saturday and Sunday were really good and I really enjoyed them. I really enjoyed my lesson with John and learned a lot from this. I enjoyed meeting Les. He is really amazing. I enjoyed playing at the concert on Saturday night. It was a great weekend."


"On the 18th February the brass players from the Islay Primary schools went over to the mainland and played in Campbeltown for two days and it was great fun! When we got to Campbeltown we went straight to lunch at the church. After lunch, we started to play our instruments. We had a new song that I have never played before so that was hard! While we were there we played tag, I met a new friend and his name is Kyle. I was playing with him and he is a great friend to play with!

That night we played in a concert with the Campbeltown brass players. We played Catch a Falling Star and the Islay people played “Ohyehcannyshoveurgrannyoffthebus”. That day I had a stitch so it was hard for me to play.

The next day we went to the swimming pool and had a lot of fun but that was the day we all had to go back to Islay. Before we went we had fish and chips from the shop across the street."  

"On  Saturday we headed off to Campbeltown and despite the strong winds, the Finlaggan was quite smooth and we all arrived vomit free. As the 7am ferry was cancelled, we missed all the morning workshops but we made it in time for soup and sandwiches! After lunch we were handed a piece of music and asked to play it. It was called “Catch a Falling Star” and Les Neish, one of the worlds leading Tuba players, helped us. Later that evening we played that piece with the Campbeltown Brass Beginners Band and “Ohyecannyshoveyergrannyoafabus” by ourselves. We then got to watch the Junior & Senior Campbeltown Brass bands featuring Les Neish. He was amazing! The following morning we went swimming and then had our final workshop and master class with Les. We played some fun games to help with our timing and breathing.  I had to play solos in front of everyone! It was terrifying, especially as I had to go first! After that we just had time for a quick snack and then back to Kennacraig to catch the 6pm ferry. It was a really fun weekend!"


"I had loads of fun during the weekend.  We did lots of different things during Saturday and Sunday.  These are my favourite things:

- Going to the workshop
- Going to the masterclass
- Listening to Les play
- Listening to all the other bands
- Playing at the concert
- Lesson with Les

Out of all these my favourite thing is going to the masterclass - it was really fun!"

Scottish Championships

10th March 2012

Congratulations to Campbeltown Brass Senior Band for coming third in the Scottish Championships and a special congratulations to Euphonium players George Good and Fraser Cosgrove for winning best instrumentalists. This is a wonderful achievement for such a young band!

Mid Argyll Music Festival

Saturday 24th March 2012

Congratulations to all the winners and well done to everyone who took part.  Congratulations also to Kintyre Schools Junior Band and Campbeltown Grammar School Wind Band for winning their respective categories.  There were a good number of entrants from Campbeltown Brass at the Mid Argyll Music Festival this year, from solos to ensembles; it was a long day of contest but also a day of excellent results.  


Rhona O'May - First

Lucy Kerr - Second

Archie McVicar - Third


Brass Solo (Primary)

Iona McVicar - First

Tanya McDonald - Second

Innes Roy - Third


Brass Solo (Secondary 1-3)

Matthew Tanner - First

Lynsey Armour - Second


Matthew also won the Co-operative Membership Cup for the highest mark in Solo Brass.


Brass Solo (Secondary 4-6)

Campbeltown Junior Brass Quartet - First

Campbeltown Brass Trombones - Third


Instrumental Ensembles (14 years and under)

Although Campbeltown Brass was the only entrant to the Open Bands category, it was a fitting end to a great day and a grand finale to the whole evening - winning the Mid Argyll Festival Jubilee Cup and "The Gifford Bowl" for the highest mark gained by a Choir or Band.

Highlands & Islands Music & Dance Festival

Saturday 5th May 2012

Congratulations to all the winners and well done to everyone who took part!




Amy Paterson - Gold

Archie McVicar - Silver

Suen Yee Walker - Bronze



Iona McVicar - Silver

Kirsten Souter - Bronze


Secondary Ensemble

Campbeltown Brass Junior Quartet - Silver


Secondary Brass Duet

Archie McVicar & Iona McVicar - Gold


Intermediate Brass

Tanya McDonald - Gold

Kintyre Music Festival

11th - 16th June 2015

Well done to everyone who took part and congratulations to all the winners.



Secondary 1

1st Kirsten Souter

2nd Iona McVicar

3rd Owen Pickering


Intermediate Secondary 2 & 3

1st Fiona Cupples

2nd Aimilia Chute & Madeleine Roy

3rd Tanya McDonald


Senior Secondary 4, 5 and 6

1st Lindsey Armour,

2nd Alison Campbell,

3rd Erin McSporran & Matthew Tanner



1st Hannah Oman

2nd Amy Paterson

3rd Archie McVicar


Instrumental Duet

1st Hannah Oman & Amy Paterson

Thank you Andy! 

We bid a fond farewell to Andy Oliver, one of the Band's instructors, who is retiring from this role.  His hard work and dedication to the Band over many years has been very much appreciated.  We wish Andy a happy retirement!  

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the band and doing my wee bit for the kids. It really is gratifying to see some of the 'Andy's Army' members who have turned into very fine players. I started my banding in my home town of Jedburgh with Jedforest Instrumental in 1946 when I was twelve years old. The youngsters start much earlier nowadays. I hope to keep in touch with Campbeltown Brass and maybe travel with the band to contests. Very good wishes and regards to you all.  



Farewell Party

22nd September 2012

Campbeltown Brass said a fond farewell to Jamie McVicar on Saturday evening at the White Hart. Jamie, who was a permanent fixture of the band, is moving on to pastures new and will be sadly missed by all.


We wish him and his family all the best, as they embark on a new chapter in their lives.  It is without a doubt that Jamie’s contribution to the band over the years has been invaluable. His enthusiasm, professionalism and vision have led the band to many successes.  We appreciate all his hard work and wish him every success in his new employment and future endeavours.  On the evening we also presented Andy Oliver with a farewell gift and thank him for all his help. Andy wishes to say a big thank you to everyone at the band.


Thank you everyone for providing the wonderful food!

West of Scotland

Saturday 27th October 2012

Once again, Campbeltown Brass was on winning form over the weekend. A group of band members descended upon Kilmarnock for the annual West of Scotland Solo and Ensemble Contest, with a view to impress. It was a clean sweep for Campbeltown Brass in the Junior Solos section with Archie taking first place, Iona second and Amy third.  All three now qualify for the finals in February next year.  Innes, who competed in the Intermediate section, will join them in the finals after coming third. To complete the day, two Junior quartets also qualified having achieved second and third place in the Ensembles. We really want to congratulate every person who competed on Saturday; they have all achieved so much and should be very proud. It was wonderful to see how each one has developed and matured from competition to competition. No doubt there will be more awards to come!



Junior Solos

Archie McVicar - Gold 1st

Iona McVicar - Gold 2nd

Amy Paterson - Gold 3rd

Lucy Kerr - Silver

Suen Yee Walker - Silver

Erin McLellan - Bronze

Caius Walker - Bronze


Intermediate Solos

Innes Roy - Gold 3rd

Owen Pickering - Silver


Intermediate Ensembles

Campbeltown Junior B - Silver

Campbeltown Junior A - Bronze

Scottish Youth Championships

November 2012

The Scottish Youth Brass Band Championships has grown to become the biggest youth brass band event in the world thanks to the Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative. Fiona Hyslop Scottish Government Culture Secretary, who presented this year’s award, spoke in her speech about the Scottish Government’s support of brass bands saying “Brass band playing in Scotland is now thriving” and closing with her positive statement of "We Believe in Brass"


On Saturday 24th November, 11 youth bands from across Scotland gathered in Perth Concert Hall to contest the Syd Griffin Memorial Trophy in the Development Section.  Having won this section the previous year, the pressure was on for Campbeltown Brass Juniors to put on a winning performance and defend the title.  With players as young as 8 and some competing for the first time in a major competition, it was an added pressure to perform well.  


As usual, as if coping with the competition wasn’t enough for these youngsters, they also had to endure the 6 hours journey on the bus from Campbeltown to Perth.   Having arrived fairly late on Friday evening, it was time to rest and prepare for an early start the next morning.


The Development Section started at 9.00 am and each band performed an own-choice programme of 15 minutes. The Junior Band began their programme with Come Follow the Band, a piece from the 1980s musical “Barnum” which featured a memorable entrance from their principal tuba, euphonium and cornet. Their next piece was the second movement from the 1985 4th section test piece Malvern Suite by Philip Sparke entitled the “Wye at Hereford”. This beautifully flowing music featured solos from many of the band’s principal players and as one of the adjudicators commented it had “…a great sense of style and elegance.”  Next on the band’s programme was Carillon, a mega hit in 1979 for the band Sky.  Carillon means a peal of bells, which in this arrangement by Denzil Stephens was illustrated by the overlapping melodies between several instruments. Finally, “Soul Bossa Nova” the theme tune to Austin Powers featured the band’s percussion section and a solo by 11 year old Amy Paterson on Flugel horn, about whom one of the adjudicators commented: “Little miss Flugel – you take my breath away!”


It is no small achievement that the Junior Band have won the Youth Championships for the last three years – first in the Novice and now twice in the Development section. This success could not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of each player.  “This is a huge achievement, especially when they were up against 10 other bands, some of which have received thousands and thousands of pounds in funding towards their youth organisations and that to me shows the true talent of our kids. They have put in a lot of hard work and preparation and I am very proud of them” said Katrina Barr.  


The hour upon hour of practice certainly paid off and it is a confirmation of their skills and talents that they consistently deliver when required. Special attribution must also be paid to Katrina Barr and Jamie McVicar who prepared the band to Gold Award standard and clinching first place with a well-balanced and diverse programme.  We wish to thank all the supporters of Campbeltown Brass and for the many dedicated members and volunteers who help to steer the band to success after success.

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