The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway played host to a feast of brass band music on 24th March for the inaugural Brass @ The Bards youth brass band competition.
The event was a new initiative by the West of Scotland Brass Band Association (WSBBA) (a regional association of the Scottish Brass Band Association) and welcomed 12 enthusiastic young bands from the West of Scotland to perform across four different age-dependent sections – Novice, Preparatory, Development and Senior. The new competition’s main objective was to offer the many young bands in the surrounding areas an opportunity to work towards a specific goal, focus their rehearsals on the preparation of a mini-concert programme and enjoy the chance to perform in public to an appreciative audience at an inspiring venue.
Brass@The Bards was well attended by supporters and the level of entries exceeded all original expectations, not just in numbers but also in the quality of their performances - the esteemed adjudicator for the day, Bruce Fraser, was extremely impressed with all the bands, feeling unable to award any bronze medals, only silver and gold to reflect his genuine appreciation of the outstanding standard of music-making across the various ages.
It is now intended to make Brass@The Bards an annual festival, helping youth bands to have access to a wider variety of bespoke events spread throughout the year and to complement preparation and attendance at the Scottish Festival of Brass – Scottish Youth Brass Band Championships (this year taking place on 17th and 24th November 2013 at Perth Concert Hall).
Carrie Boax, Chairperson of WSBBA commented: “We are delighted with the success of the event. By introducing the competition, WSBBA has been able to develop a new performance opportunity for the young bands, giving them another target in their rehearsal schedules, a superb experience to perform in public and also a great opportunity to meet up with their friends in the competing bands. Feedback has been very positive from the competitors and audience alike, and the venue staff have also been delighted with the smooth running of what was a brand new type of event to be hosted at this lovely venue. We’ll definitely be looking to make this an annual competition and hope to announce next year’s dates as soon as possible. I would also like to offer my sincere congratulations to all the competitors - the behaviour of all the players was a huge credit to their bands and they should be very proud of their performance achievements this weekend.”
Dalmellington Junior Band with Ian Taylor conducting were gold overall winners in the senior section. A full list of results is available at www.sbba.org.uk.