NYBBS Celebration Extravaganza at Perth Concert Hall
Published in General on 2013-08-15 by Empty Chairs
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The three bands of The National Youth Brass Band of Scotland (NYBBS) enthralled the full and enthusiastic audience at Perth Concert Hall when they presented A Celebration Concert on the afternoon of Saturday 10th August 2013. The joint concert marked the culmination of a week-long residential music course held for each of the bands, involving 130+ young brass and percussion musicians aged 9-22.
This year’s joint concert in this magnificent performance venue showcased The National Children’s Brass Band of Scotland (conducted by Gordon Evans), The National Youth Reserve Brass Band of Scotland (conducted by John Boax) and the premier level youth band in the organisation – The National Youth Brass Band of Scotland (conducted by the NYBBS’ Musical Director, Richard Evans). A new initiative for the organisation, the combined concert enabled a wonderful presentation of the progressive levels of youth music being offered through the spectrum of NYBBS, whilst at the same time, providing a varied and exciting programme of music – selected to highlight some of the bands’ favourites from the wider developmental repertoire being worked upon during their three respective courses.
In addition to being guided by their highly respected band conductors, the bands also welcomed to the stage Guest Conductor Russell Gray, who had been working in conjunction with the three bands, to share his broad conducting and playing experience through master-classes and workshops. The programme also included an impressive solo item – ‘Salt of the Earth’ (composed by Andy Scott) featuring Guest Soloist, Les Neish, Tuba virtuoso and a member of the NYBBS course tutor staff. In addition, Neil Cross, NYBBS Director, joined the stage to welcome the audience and to provide a most effective narration for a presentation of Elgar Howarth’s ‘Fireworks’ – a musical delight which guided the listeners through the instrumentation of a brass band.
Opening with a stunning fanfare ‘Flying High’ composed by the NYBBS bass trombone player, Josiah Walters, performed from the balcony by members of The National Youth Brass Band of Scotland (premier band) the afternoon was set up to impress. The National Youth Reserve Brass Band of Scotland (led by the inspirational John Boax) and the National Children’s Brass Band of Scotland (led by the motivational Gordon Evans) then filled the first half of the concert with an eclectic mix of music – classics, originals, arrangements, pop and film music – musically something for everyone, with contributions from Edward Gregson to Philip Harper, John Williams to Eric Ball, all culminating in an exciting massed band performance of Elgar Howarth’s ‘Zurich March’! The immensely enthusiastic audience response clearly demonstrated their thrill and enjoyment of the performances and brought about a fantastic atmosphere throughout the concert hall.
The second half of the concert then welcomed The National Youth Brass Band of Scotland (premier band) to the stage, led by their inimitable conductor and the organisation’s Musical Director, Richard Evans. Striking up with the Carl Orff’s fanfare from ‘Carmina Burana’ the band immediately grabbed the audience’s attention and continued to engage them with each impressive performance of the pieces they brought forth. Leading with Elgar Howarth’s ‘Fireworks’ (superbly narrated by NYBBS Director Neil Cross), the band then presented a magnificent performance with Guest Soloist, Les Neish, of Andy Scott’s ‘Salt of the Earth’ – a virtuosic composition with immense challenges for soloist and band alike.
The afternoon’s proceedings then changed direction and the President of The Scottish Brass Band Association (parent body of the NYBBS organisation) invited Neil Cross to the stage to receive public thanks for his two decades of directorship of the NYBBS organisation, upon his retirement receiving an engraved Quaich from SBBA to mark his remarkable dedication.
Returning to the concert performances, the band then impressed with a thrilling rendition of Peter Meechan’s ‘Legend of King Arthur’, led by Guest Conductor, Russell Gray. As a more light-hearted parallel with the opening guide to a brass band through the piece ‘Fireworks’, the concert was closed with the amusing ‘Mr Lear’s Carnival by Hogarth W Lear (aka Elgar Howarth), taking the popular ‘Carnival of Venice’ theme around the band, and enabling each section to demonstrate their technical and musical versatility – a perfect closing reminder of the young brass and percussion talent that the organisation is delighted to be supporting and nurturing.
As players and families were reunited after the concert and the week’s courses, the foyer of Perth Concert Hall held an electric atmosphere. With huge enthusiasm being expressed by the audience and players alike, the 2013 NYBBS Summer Course has proven to offer its participants an exciting array of musical and social opportunities, concluding in a world-class concert presentation at one of Scotland’s key concert venues.
Plans for next year are already in hand and details will be posted on the NYBBS and SBBA websites once finalised. With three bands of varying levels, catering for ages between 9-22 (inclusive), all brass and percussion players are encouraged to attend and take advantage of this unique opportunity to develop their playing and musicality, have fun, make friends, and experience the many exciting prospects being offered to the talented young musicians that make up the organisation’s membership.