Young musicians show more gold than brass at maiden concert

From African Funk to Pie Jesu, from Queen to Madness, from solos to walls of sound, the Scottish Borders Youth Brass Band did its best to blow the roof off Selkirk’s Victoria Halls in its maiden concert this month, writes Jackie Couchman.

Practise time is precious as all players belong to other bands and are spread throughout the Borders, making it logistically difficult to meet more than a handful of times a year.

While the oldest band members are only 18, under the expert baton of their conductor Alan Fernie they perform like experienced musicians.

Declared champions at last November’s Scottish Youth Brass Band Championships in Perth for the second year running, the Scottish Brass Band Association’s trial project can be declared an overwhelming success.

Borders bands represented in this talented line up include Galashiels, Hawick Saxhorn, Jed-Forest, Langholm, Peebles, Selkirk and St Ronan’s in Innerleithen.

Alan Fernie paid tribute to Borders-based fellow composers, arrangers and conductors, including Rob Hume, Cameron Mabon, the late Geoff Richards and David Robb, whose music reaches worldwide audiences.

Many were represented in the evening’s programme. There is a long held tradition of brass music making in the Borders which is growing in popularity as the youth policies of the region’s bands bear fruit.