BERLIN BOUND - Isobel Daws secures place at Karajan Academy

Issue 6125

SCOTTISH FUNDING - SBBA receives Creative Scotland award

CONTEST CANCELLED - West of England Regionals off

CURTAIN RISING - RNCM Festival set for take-off

PUSHED BACK - Australian Nationals postponed

2021 Scottish Open: live

Friday 26 November, 2021

Live Coverage of the Scottish Open from Perth Concert Hall.


'...and when the river told...' - Simon Dobson

Gallery - Howard Snell

Macbeth - Peter Meechan

Muckle Flugga - Rory Boyle

St Magnus - Kenneth Downie


Adjudicators: Steven Mead and Paul Holland

Eoin Tonner reporting


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Issue 6118 digital November 25, 2021


1. Whitburn - 195 points

2. Reg Vardy -192 points

3. The Kirkintilloch Band - 190 points

4. Easington Colliery - 189 points

5. The Cooperation Band - 188 points

6. Bon-Accord - 187 points

7. Unison Kinneil - 186 points

8. Dalmellington - 185 points

9. Elland Silver - 184 points

10. East London Brass - 183 points

11. Fishburn - 182 points

12. Kirkintilloch Kelvin - 181 points

13. Bo'ness and Carriden - 180 points

Rainford Band and 1st Old Boys - Withdrawn


The Neil Phillip Memorial Trophy for best Euphonium. - Reg Vardy 

The best soloist 4barsrest award - Scott Forrest, Soprano Cornet, Whitburn Band


An enjoyable day where all bands have already achieved so much in making onto the contest platform today.
For us at BB  there is a clear winner, with the remaining top 6 all very close. Whitburn delivered such an assured performance today, with the band and soloists all delivering an excellently shaped performance. Dalmellington had so much to commend, with huge band sounds and excellent soloists. For me, the coop had quality and detail, however, its performance had too many small clips and crucial moments to challenge the top 2. Easington, East London Brass and Kinneil, which all had good performances, make up the remainder of the top 6.
British Bandsman Prediction
1.     Whitburn
2.     Dalmellington
3.     Cooperatation Band
4.     Easington
5.     East London Brass
6.     Kinneil
Dark Horse – Bon Accord


14. Bo’ness and Carriden – Nigel Boddice MBE – ‘Gallery’
Entrance – The final band of the day is Bo’ness and Carridden with Nigel Boddice MBE. In true Mr Boddice style, there’s lots of space and the music has time to speak before we get into the hustle and bustle of the market.
Street Market – The market has energy and bubbles away nicely. Although, there is scope for more dynamic contrasts from the band. The MD has a good understanding of the music and how to get the best out of the band. The transition into the Waltz almost comes off, there are just a few lose entries and inconsistencies in production.
The Skaters Waltz – There is generally some secure solo playing around the band in the movement and it is well shaped by the MD. There are some nervous moments, however they are overcome and don’t detract from the performance of this movement.
The March back to Camp – There are a few uncomfortable moments in this section of the work, especially as the music becomes more exposed. The core of the band sound is good, and the MD gauges the dynamics well throughout this movement. Good trombone sounds end the movement well.
Love Story – The love story begins with a well delivered flugel solo. The accompaniment is a tad lumpy and we have a few balance issues with band and soloists. This has been the bands best movement so far, with soloists performing well, especially soprano cornet at the end of movement.  Well-shaped, just the odd moment.
Cut-Outs – This has a neat and nimble start. It’s playful and charming.

As we go through the movement, the build is well managed by MD. Percussion are effective here and the band are demonstrating their most controlled playing of their performance. The trombones add a nice sense of Don Lusher to proceedings. It’s a little too careful by the end of the movment and we are left looking for more as the music builds.
Landscapes – The band is starting to sound a little tired and we have some balance and intonation issues arising. It’s a little fragile as things are brought back and we lose some quality in the tone of the band. The band works so hard to the end and finishes strong.
A performance that had lots of good moments; it just lost its way a little towards the end.

13. Elland Silver Band – Daniel Brooks – ‘St Magnus’
The next band up is Elland Silver band with Daniel Brooks conducting with a red pencil. Elland’s opening of the chorale is secure and there is good flow through the opening. Variation 1 is fast. The band just about copes with it, however we lose lots of detail and dynamic contrasts.

The second variation is well led by principal cornet, who has a lovely, velvety cornet sound. There are good moments in this, however there are intonation and tuning issues arising around the band.

The band and MD are attacking the third variation, and again we lose some of the details. The transition to the reprise of the chorale is well handled, with some impressive xylo work at the back of the band.

The euphonium cadenza and following solos all work well. This section is letting us hear Elland at its best, showcasing a rich and generous band sound.

There is some impressive technical playing around the band, but it all seems so rushed. The finale has big band sounds and brings this Elland’s performance to a powerful close.

A solid performance from Elland, it just lacked that bit of space and time to allow the details to come out the score. 


12. Easington Colliery – Ray Farr – ‘St Magnus’
Easington Colliery has a secure opening, with soprano and solo cornet performing the opening statement of the chorale well. Ray Farr is giving the music lots of space and looking after the melodic line nicely.

The first variation is taken at a sensible tempo from the MD. Some of the more detailed passages are lost slightly in the hall, however, the music has good style.

As we go through the second variation, there are some small ensemble fragilities. Again, the MD shapes the music well, putting space in just at the right time.

Variation 3 is well played, with a foreboding sense of drama. Percussion works well here! The euphonium cadenza has space and confidence and well accompanied by the band. All soloists perform well, even if a little loud in places.

The final variation is pitched well, tempo wise. There is a groove to this, and the music is sitting well in place. There are a few insecurities in the more exposed moments, they are fleeting, however.

A strong ending for Easington. The MD didn’t hang around, however it was effective and different to all the other performances today!

A good show here from Ray Farr and Easington Colliery. It was secure and the MD shaped and pitched it well for his band.


 11. The Dalmellington Band – Gary J. Williams – ‘Gallery’
Entrance – Another good start of Gallery for Dalmellington, however not completely error free.
Street Market – There’s is a nice style to this and the music flows well.  Huge sounds from the low end of the band, led by bass trombone. Bb basses clearly enjoy their moment!
The Skaters Waltz – There is some excellent solo playing here, particularly from Rebecca Wilson on principal cornet. She is demonstrating wonderful control and makes this sound so easy!
The March back to Camp – The opening chords suffer some intonation issues, however this movement grows in drama and style. It dark and ominous, with huge sounds again from the lower end of the band.
This is well shaped from MD, allowing the music space when required.
Love Story - The music has flow, and the MD isn’t allowing it to wallow. The smallest of inconsistences take the gloss of a well delivered performance of this movement. The balance of the band is mainly good. The soprano solo is well controlled. There are small inconsistencies in the final chords, however, the don’t overly detract from what was a well performed movement.
Cut-Outs - Percussion add nicely to the jazzy style here. The music is a little disjointed in places, however thing get back on track quickly.  
Landscapes - This is well controlled, with a shining and rich band sound. Bass trombone again fully embracing the ‘tutta forza’ instruction. A triumphant ending to an excellent performance.

A fantastic performance from Dalmellington, Bravo!


10. Unison Kinneil – Raymond Tennant – ‘Gallery’
Entrance - A good start from Kinneil, with good solo lines.
Street Market - Raymond Tennant sets a good tempo, allowing the music to spring forward. The style is good from Kinneil, it could do with a little more contrast in dynamics and It’s a little scrappy in places.
The Skaters Waltz -There is some lovely solo playing on display here. Not everything is together, but the style is good! There are a few inconsistencies creeping in as the more challenging solo lines are passed through the band.
The March back to Camp – Band sound is not always balanced through this section, and we lose some of the melodic line in places. Trombones make a big sound and add drama to the story.
Love Story – The sound and style are well captured here by the band and MD. There are lots of nice warm sounds around the band, and soloists are playing well. A few inconsistences are starting to creep in. The dynamics are a little safe, maybe more risks could be taken? The band is without its soprano player, meaning that Scott Forrest from Whitburn is having to do it all again! What a job he is doing!
Cut-Outs – This isn’t always together, with some rushing in the percussion section, taking the gloss off this movment slightly. Once the band settled into the movment, there is lots to commend here. 
Landscapes – Tiredness is starting to play a part here, with some intonation issues through these longer, sustained lines, with sections not always balanced. A good strong close!
A very good show here from Kinneil, with a good reading from MD.


9.   Whitburn – Professor Nicholas Childs – ‘Gallery’
Entrance  - a confident opening from Whitburn, with strong solos from soprano and solo cornet.
Street Market – the mood is captured straight away, with the excitement and bustle. Some lovely contrasting solo lines here telling the story of all the characters portrayed. Transition in the Waltz is very well handled.
The Skaters Waltz – The music is so well shaped from MD, with a nice sense of ebb and flow. The band really on this, and the technical challenges are relished. All soloists are revelling in this, with confident displays throughout the band. A mention must also go to a well crafted vibraphone solo.
The March back to Camp – We hear the band’s sound in full force for the first time and it is used to such good effect. The music is foreboding, exciting and full of drama. A wonderful end to this movement with excellent control and dynamic contrast.
Love Story – The sound is instantly different, capturing the sensitive essence of this movement. Soprano and flugel make excellent contributions in this movement. It is so well directed by the MD, with lovely shapes in the phrases. The band has the quietest of endings and Professor Childs holds the atmosphere in the room.
Cut-Outs – This is delicate yet so accurate. The ensemble is very good, with the various melodic lines being passed so well around the band. Percussion works very well, not over doing anything. Trombones add some suave style.
Landscapes – As the sound opens, it’s still warm and MD is demanding this quality from his players. Huge sounds to finish!
A great band performance with everyone doing their bit. A special mention must go to Scott Forrest, who did not put a foot wrong! Bravo!


8.   Fishburn – Lewis Wilkinson – ‘St Magnus’
Fishburn starts well, with a fine opening from soprano and solo cornet. There is a good band sound and the opening statement of the chorale is well handled.
Variation 1 sets off at a quick tempo, and unfortunately there are some very uneasy moments within the faster passages, especially with some of the solo entries.
The band are more at home in the second variation, with some rich sounds. The music is well shaped here by MD and the band delivers some of its best playing. Again, the challenges of the faster passages in variation 3 brings back much of the ensemble and technical insecurities of variation 1.
The euphonium cadenza is well played, supported by secure performances of from solo cornet trombone. However, the accompaniment through the solo section has a few production and balance issues.
The band works extremely hard through the final variation, which is right at the bands limit with the tempo.
‘St Magnus’ was a stretch for Fishburn today. Although there were moments to commend especially in the slower sections,, the technical challenges of ‘St Magnus’ took its toll on the overall performance. 


7.     The Rainford Band – Sarah Groarke-Booth – ‘Gallery’ - Withdrawn


6. The Cooperation Band – Mike Fowles – ‘St Magnus’
A good start for the Coop.The band sound is warm and rich in the introduction, and MD finds a lovely bit of space before embarking on variation 1.
We hear so much detail in this, with lots of the technical passages on display well delivered. Dynamic effects are well utilised, making this is very convincing!
Lovely rich sounds from the middle of the band in Variation 2. This has a warmth and control we haven’t heard yet today. Soloists play well, with lovely interjections from trombone and Eb bass.
The Tempo of variation 3 is very well set, and there is real purpose in this. Some fragilities in the some of the more exposed sections start to show, however.
The transition is so well handled from MD. We can hear some very exciting playing with lots of sharpness and attack. The chorale is not over done and well judged, with soprano shining over the band.
The euphonium cadenza is well handled; just a few inconsistences in production. Jimmy Hayes leads the band with aplomb and there are some special moments for repiano and solo trombone also. The odd interjection and scale passages aren't always pulled off, however there is much to admire in the playing and the shaping within this section.
The final variation has a good sense of pulse and drives along with purpose. Cracks are starting to show and there are a few inconsistencies that’s taking the sheen off this performance
A solid show from the cooperation band. It is right up there; I just wonder if the inconsistencies will be too much today.


5.     Reg Vardy – Steve Malcom – ‘St Magnus’
Good opening from solo cornet and soprano. Band sound is rich, with some nice contributions from bass trombone. Just the odd scrappy moment in the transition into variation 1.
Variation 1 has a good sense of pulse, with the music bouncing and bubbling away, although lots of the finer details and semiquaver passages are not always clear.
The introduction to variation 3 has some slightly uncomfortable intonation moments. The music does have an ebb and flow, with some fine solo contributions from solo cornet, euphonium, and Eb bass. The MD and band are taking risks with the dynamics at end of this variation.
The tempo in the 6/8 is well paced, with the MD creating a nice lilt in the music. The accelerando in to the reprise of the chorale has some ensemble issues, yet the band manage to get back on track. Soprano does well through this section!
Euphonium cadenza is right up there with the others already heard and is well controlled. Bravo.
The final variation sets of at a sensible tempo, with the band and MD in control to start. As the tempo increases the ensemble does suffer and the music becomes a little scrappy as the band tires.
An enjoyable reading from MD and band, with some good choices made to get the best out of the performance. 


4.   East London Brass – Jayne Murrill – ‘Gallery’

1.Entrance - A well-controlled opening form East London Brass, just a few minor individual clips.
2.Street Market -The bustle of the street market is well portrayed, with some nice solo contributions. Dynamics are well shaped and controlled. We hear some good details with the accented passages although, some middle sounds of the band are slightly lost.
3.The Skaters Waltz - There is lots of good playing on show here and soloists do well! There could be more character in the music perhaps? Percussion is effective here, with some good solo playing.
4.The March back to Camp - This movement is well directed, with Jayne Murrill giving space at either side of the movement. We hear some good band sounds, with excellent contributions from the trombones. The final chord is not together, which slightly takes the sheen off a well-constructed movement.  
5.Love Story - A well delivered flugel solo to start his moment, bravo. The band is taking risks dynamically. It doesn’t always pay off, with a few uneasy moments.
6.Cut-Outs - The band is at its best in this movement. Lots of good ensemble work on show. Well-rehearsed and delivered!

7.Landscapes - A well delivered final movement, with good control on display. The band sound becomes a little harsh and forced at the top dynamics, yet the ending is effective.
Overall a good showing for East London Brass, with MD very much in charge of the performance!


 3.     Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass – David Thornton – ‘St Magnus’
Kirkintilloch Kelvin opens with a few blips, however we hear a good, warm band sound as we work through the opening section.
David Thornton opts for a sensible tempo through this first variation, allowing the band to hold on the ensemble. We just lose a few details.
Lovely solo cornet sound in variation 2. A few individual errors and blips take the gloss off the performance.
The music in variation in variation 3 flows well, however there are a few scrappy moments. The band and percussion are not togehter,yet the ensemble does just about hold together.
Euphonium, solo cornet and repiano work very well, we hear some of the band's best playing in this section.
Lots to admire in commitment through this final variation, however the challenges of this work are pushing the band to their limits as the band begins to tire.
A tough day for KKB, although there were some good moments, consistency of execution and stamina wasn’t there today. 


2.     Bon-Accord Silver – Adam Cooke – ‘St Magnus’


Lovely opening from the Aberdeen band and Adam Cooke, this flows so well, with some nice touches in the shaping.
This opening movement is fast and Mr Cooke is taking no prisoners! Some of the finer details are slightly lost in the hall, but lots of excellent playing around the stands.
There is a lovely ebb and flow to the music in the slow movment, with soloists all performing so well. Euphonium solo shines, a real touch of class.
The following, faster movement is again well handled. Maybe there could be more scope for the dynamic details to be brought out of the score?
Euphonium cadenza is delivered with aplomb, bravo! As do principal cornet and trombone.
In the final variation, we hear some good sounds from the middle of the band, with the tempo transitions generally well handled by the band. More risks could maybe taken with the lower dynamics?
The final coda sees some small intonation issues start to creep in as the band works hard through the final sections.
A strong and committed performance, very well directed with excellent all round solo contributions, particularly from Richard Kidd on solo euphonium. Congratulations all!

1.     Kirkintilloch Band – David Roberts – ‘And when the river told’

Kirkintilloch opens proceedings with an atmospheric start, with almost the entire cornet section facing the back of the stage, in the corner of the platform. It’s slightly nervy yet finds its way and hangs together. There are good individual solo contributions, however the opening is marred with some intonation and ensemble issues.
The band finds confidence through the storm and we start to hear the band at its best.
An excellent flugel solo in the serene ‘and still the river flows’ , with secure performances form the rest of the band's soloists.
Balance between percussion and band is sometimes challenging in this lively hall, with lots of the detail being covered, however tempos are sensible from Mr Roberts and there is much to commend, with the transitions well managed.
This is a performance that is certainly growing in confidence throughout with a big close and big full band sound!
A good return to action for the Kirkintilloch Band, that had lots to admire.



1.     Kirkintilloch Band – David Roberts – ‘And when the river told’
2.     Bon Accord Silver – Adam Cooke - 'St Magnus'
3.     Kirkintilloch Kelvin Brass – David Thornton – ‘St Magnus’
4.     East London Brass – Jayne Murrill – ‘Gallery’
5.     Reg Vardy – Steve Malcom – ‘St Magnus’
6.     The Cooperation Band – Mike Fowles – ‘St Magnus’
7.     The Rainford Band – Sarah Groarke-Booth – ‘Gallery’ - Withdrawn
8.   Fishburn – Lewis Wilkinson – ‘St Magnus’
9.   Whitburn – Professor Nicholas Childs – ‘Gallery’
10. Unison Kinneil – Raymond Tennant – ‘Gallery’
11. The Dalmellington Band – Gary J. Williams – ‘Gallery’
12. Easington Colliery – Ray Farr – ‘St Magnus’
13. Elland Silver Band – Daniel Brooks – ‘St Magnus’
14. Bo’ness and Carriden – Nigel Boddice MBE – ‘Gallery’
15. 1st Old Boys – Stephen Cairns – ‘St Magnus’ – Withdrawn 


Welcome to the live coverage from BB of the Scottish Open. We have been treated to a wonderful morning of music making from some of Scotland’s brightest young players playing with the Coalburn Bronze Band and the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland Children’s band presenting two fabulous concerts.
The stage is now being set for the Open, and the draw will be posted once the main men are in the box! The first band is on at 1pm.