Where there’s muckle talent, there’s brass ... and gold!
Abbey Brass, the youth and training band of the Jedforest Instrumental Band, made a highly successful trip north last weekend.
Thanks to a superb performance at the National Scottish Youth Brass Band championships held at Perth Concert Hall on Sunday, they were delighted to be crowned Scottish champions in the novice section.
The contest required the band to perform a 15-minute programme of music, including one set-piece chosen by the contest organisers.
This year the band based its entire programme on music from the prolific local composer Alan Fernie.
Following a generous donation from the Borders Youth Support Scheme, the band were also able to commission Alan to produce an entirely new and unique piece of the music just for Abbey Brass.
The new piece, called The Jethart Snail, received its world premiere at Perth, and was warmly received by the audience and the contest judges.
Abbey Brass competed in the section against 14 other bands from all over Scotland.
Despite only having a modest 12 youngsters on stage (when some bands were able to field more than 30 players), and with some who only joined the band very recently, they performed a strong and confident set under the expert baton of their conductor, Stuart Black.
Come results time the band were overjoyed to be given a gold award – performances are graded bronze, silver and gold by the judges – and even more delighted to be placed first and crowned Scottish champions.
The band’s manager Neil Ball told The Southern: “This is a great reward for all the hard work, commitment, and hours of practice each player has put in throughout the year.
“It also could not happen without the support Stuart Black and especially the parents who commit to bringing their children to us each week throughout the year.
“The amazing work by the region’s instrumental teachers at schools throughout the Borders also needs to be recognised too.
“It really emphasises the importance that instrumental music tuition is provided to our young people at school, and the immense benefits this leads to throughout their childhood and onto the rest of their lives.
The contest is not quite the end of a busy year for the band, who have entertained crowds at Denholm Fair, played at the Sound Cycle youth music festival at Harestanes in the summer, and recently were recorded for a new Borders youth music project that is about to launch on all major music streaming/download services, as well as many other concerts through the year.
They are not finished yet, and have a joint Christmas concert with pupils from St Mary’s School at Bowden Kirk on Thursday, December 5, followed by their Christmas concert with the Jedforest Instrumental Band at Jedburgh Town Hall on December 21.
Abbey Brass rehearse on Sunday evenings in their band room in Jedburgh and welcome any young brass and percussion players who are interested in playing in a brass band.
If you’d like to know more then look them up on Facebook (@AbbeyBrassJedburgh), or at the main band website www.jedforestinstrumentalband.org.uk