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NYBBS 2013

5th - 10th August 2013


The National Youth Brass Bands of Scotland (NYBBS) runs summer residential courses for young brass and percussion players from all over Scotland and beyond.  This year 130 musicians made up the National Children’s Band, National Youth Reserve Band and National Youth Brass Band.  

The Children’s and Reserve Band courses were held in Stirling and the Youth Brass Band was based in Perth.  The week concluded with a Celebration Concert on Saturday 10th August at the prestigious Perth Concert Hall, where all bands gave stellar performances.  

All our players enjoyed the week tremendously.  With the help of tutors, conductors and guest personnel, not only did the course enable them to develop their musicianship and technique but also a range of extra activities to nurture their musical education and wider experiences.   All in all, it was a week of personal development, music-making, friendship and fun!

Finally, congratulations to Amy Paterson and Suen Yee Walker who came  2nd and 3rd respectively in the Children's Band Solo Competition.


Band Competition 

17th March 2013

The Band’s 2012 Solo and Ensemble contest had been postponed from the end of last year and was eventually held on Sunday 17th March.  It proved to be a very busy afternoon with 35 entries in all, one of our busiest yet.

The Adjudicator was Bede Williams, a highly acclaimed trumpeter and conductor who works right across Scotland, and most notably came to Campbeltown a couple of weeks ago with his wife Vicky to help prepare the Contest Band for the recent Scottish Regionals.  Our accompanists were Mrs Ashall, Mrs Black and Mr Stone - thank you to you all, especially for working with some of the pieces at very short notice or even sight read.

This year Beginners were invited from the local primary schools even if they are not currently members of Campbeltown Brass.  It was fantastic to see so many new players and we would happily welcome any of you who would like to join the band.  The eventual winner after a close fought contest was Shanna Brown with runner-up Katie MacPherson. 

The Primary class proved to be really spectacular, Bede was very impressed with the young horns and trombonist but found the cornets and flugel to be “absolutely incredible!  The best primary school age playing I have ever heard”.  Amy Paterson played the Mozart Concert Rondo beautifully to win, whilst Erin McLellan’s Panis Angelicus was, as Bede said, mesmerizing.

But the class that  proved the hardest for the adjudicator was the Intermediate solo.  Dylan Brown played a fantastic solo on the kit which was much enjoyed by everyone, and Owen Pickering showed himself to be a true professional by being able to get right back on track after there were problems with his piano accompaniment, that takes quite some concentration.  All the performances had something that really stood out to the adjudicator and he found it nearly impossible to reach a conclusion.  Innes Roy was the winner but finally Bede decided that the other four – Owen, Lucy, Kirsten and Dylan – all deserved equal merit and therefore were all runner-ups. 

In the Open class the eventual winner was Aimilia Chute, closely followed by Tanya MacDonald as runner-up, then Heather Harper.  The Open ensemble class was won by Sally Chute & Murray Ralston but given a good run for their money by the Cornet Trio of Katrina Barr, Fiona Oman and Tanya MacDonald playing the Buglar’s Holiday – a really catchy and enjoyable piece!

Thank you so much to all of you who took part.  The Solo & Ensemble contest is a very special event to commemorate three young members of the band Jenny Ralston, Lynsey Wardrup and Emma Paterson.  We also commemorate Jimmy Taylor who spent so much time organizing and helping run the band over the years.  Many of the players were extrememly nervous and found it very hard to stand up and play as soloists in front of an audience, but you were all amazing and we really appreciate your efforts.  Campbeltown Brass is proud to have you as members.

- LR

Beginners Solo
Winner - Shanna Brown

Second - Katie MacPherson

Beginners Ensemble
Winner - Shanna Brown & Katie Macpherson
Second - Beginners Ensemble

Junior Solo
Winner - Amy Paterson
Second - Erin McLellan

Junior Ensemble
Winner - Amy Paterson & Hannah Oman

Intermediate Solo
Winner - Innes Roy
Second - Kirsten Souter, Lucy Kerr, Owen Pickering and Dylan Brown

Intermediate Ensemble
Winner - Trombone & Euph Quartet
Second - Maddie Roy & Abbie Mathieson

Open Solo
Winner - Aimilia Chute
Second - Tanya MacDonald

Open Ensemble
Winner - Sally Chute & Murray Ralston
Second - Cornet Trio


Scottish Youth Championships

24th 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 the 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 adjudicator 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 adjudicator 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. 


Scottish Regional Championships

10th March 2012

“This was a contest of two groups of Bands – those who could master the technical challenges of the piece, and those that couldn’t.” 

So said Adjudicator, Roger Webster, speaking at the end of the 2nd Section Competition at the 2012 Scottish Regional Championships, on behalf of himself and co adjudicator, Steve Pritchard-Jones, having listened to twelve well known and renowned Bands, conducted by illustrious and experienced names such as Michael Marzella and John Boax.

Campbeltown Brass had much to prove, and strong opposition to face that Saturday, 10th March, in the Rothes Hall at Glenrothes, where against adult bands, the young “senior” band, had yet again to overcome the difficulty of losing experienced members each year, who leave the town to further education or to work elsewhere each year, and have to be replaced from whatever pipeline of new talent Director, Jamie McVicar can develop to fill the annual drain of talent. The Band had to leave to start the tiring journey home down the ‘long and winding road’ before the results were delivered by BBC Announcer and Commentator Alasdair Hutton, but youngest member, Archie McVicar was on hand to represent the Band for the great moment in a packed auditorium.

Campbeltown braved the test and came out yet again amongst the front rank of Bands, finishing in a strong 3rd place, bringing home the Boosey and Hawkes Challenge Trophy and the Best Instrumentalist SBBA Gold Medal, only one point behind 2nd place Coalburn Silver and just one further point behind 1st placed Croy Silver. The Test piece was “Cross Patonce” by the late Goff Richards, a tuneful and entertaining piece, but challenging, and with traps for the less well prepared Bands or those where there were gaps in skills, especially in the very tough opening Euphonium Solo, where the tricky Cadenza, the undoing of so many of the bands who failed to cope with it, was masterfully handled by soloist George Good, who was “Best Instrumentalist” in 2011 at the same event with Kirkintilloch Kelvin Band who won the 1st Section on that occasion. Ably supported by Fraser Cosgrove, who skilfully took on the later Euphonium part, it was small wonder that it was the Euphonium Solo work which caught the attention of the Adjudicators and won the “Best Instrumentalist” plaudit for 2012 in this section. A strong performance from Erin McSporran on Cornet (the current Under 18 National Brass Solo Champion), excellent percussion from Andrew Black and Greg Bannatyne, and fine work on Timps from young Archie McVicar, supported by a very well-rehearsed mixture of youngsters leavened with experienced senior members, made Campbeltown’s performance dynamic, confident and sure-footed, where even such big names as Tullis Russell and the great St Ronan’s Silver fell short. Ian Hill and Rickie Evans were among old friends who were with the Band for the big day once again.

For Director, Jamie McVicar, it was a special challenge too, for although he has had much success before with the Junior Band, here was his first big moment in National Competition with the Senior Band, but thorough preparation, meticulous planning and assured handling made the quality and precision of Campbeltown Brass stand out, and the opposition trailed up to 9 points adrift.

The top two bands will now be invited to compete at the National Final in Cheltenham in September, but with the high cost of such an exercise, and enormous commitment to preparation required, it is perhaps as well that Campbeltown will be spared that huge burden on resources, while still able to enjoy the glory of a fine and well-deserved placing, which secures their place in the 2nd Section, which is perhaps its ‘natural’ level given the pressures of studies and exams which most of its members have to face during the busy band season.

No time for complacency, but definitely a day to remember, and a sharp shock for those big-name bands who might have written off Campbeltown Brass as a spent force after dropping from the 1st Section during the rebuilding phase necessary after losing many key personnel recently. Speaking on the day, good friend of Campbeltown Brass and rival Conductor, John Boax, both of whose Bands were beaten by Campbeltown in the competition, summed up this remarkable result. “I’ve never known a place like it, nowhere else have I seen such a stream of talent consistently produced.”

- Clive Good

Mid Argyll Music Festival

24th March 2012


Solo (Primary)

Rhona O'May - First
Lucy Kerr - Second
Archie McVicar - Third


Solo (Secondary 1-3)

Iona McVicar - First
Tanya McDonald - Second
Innes Roy - Third

solo (Secondary 4-6)

Matthew Tanner - First
Lynsey Armour - Second

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

Ensembles (14 years and under)

Campbeltown Junior Brass Quartet - First
Campbeltown Brass Trombones - Third


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.

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.


Training workshop with Les Neish

18th 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 master classes 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 main land 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!"