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

Magnificent seven

Sunday 5 December, 2021

From the pandemic to Storm Arwen, the Scottish Festival of Brass was not without its challenges on November 27 and 28 – but the return of the event was a major boost for everyone involved.

Eoin Tonner looks back at the Scottish Open, while Helen Douthwaite-Teasdale reflects on the Band Supplies Scottish Challenge, which saw bands across the First to Fourth Sections getting involved. Images: Jim Doyle | SBBA.


On a weekend when there were multiple challenges to overcome, including COVID-19 and Storm Arwen, Whitburn rounded off its contesting year with a seventh consecutive victory at the 2021 Besson Scottish Open. SBBA had opted for five set test-pieces from their own commissions: St Magnus (Kenneth Downie), Gallery (Howard Snell), ...and when the river told (Simon Dobson), Macbeth (Peter Meechan) and Muckle Flugga (Rory Boyle), with the latter two not chosen by any of the 13 competing bands.

It was Whitburn’s commanding performance of Gallery, led by Nicholas Childs, that emerged victorious at the end of a thoroughly enjoyable contest, repeating its success on the same work in 2015. Gallery is separated into seven movements, with Snell taking inspiration from six works of art and the opening movement representing the visitor approaching the gallery. Each movement is masterfully constructed by Snell, full of life and character, technically and musically challenging, whilst requiring all the soloists to be on top form. Nicholas Childs displayed a deep appreciation of the score, matched by the quality of performance from his band. Each movement captured the character and mood, with drama, emotion and technique in abundance. There were also excellent solo contributions from Chris Bradley (cornet), Caroline Farren (flugel), and award-winning Scott Forrest (soprano, 4barsrest best soloist).

Whitburn’s performance left little doubt that a seventh title was secured with a three-point margin, with adjudicators Paul Holland and Steven Mead commenting on the “exceptional quality” from the winning band.

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Issue 6119 digital December 2, 2021