FORMIDABLE FODEN'S - Full coverage from the 2021 National Brass Band Championships

Issue 6112

HOW TO IMPRESS - Amos Miller on flourishing in a conservatoire audition

COMPOSER CAST - Liz Lane on her fascinating early musical life

DEPARTURE - Cornet star Kirsty Abbotts leaves Carlton Main

Scottish duo set for 2021 Nationals

Saturday 25 September, 2021

As three of Scotland’s First to Fourth Section bands reflect on their appearances at the National Finals in Cheltenham, the country’s two Championship representatives have been ramping up rehearsals in their bid to bring back the title from the Royal Albert Hall.

Both Whitburn Band and Bon-Accord Silver (Bon-Accord pictured) are relishing the opportunity to compete against the UK’s nation’s top brass bands for the Challenge Trophy on Saturday, October 2.

As previously reported in British Bandsman, the cooperation band – current Scottish champion – has withdrawn from the Nationals due to continuing uncertainties surrounding the current pandemic.

Whitburn Band is already on winning form, having been victorious at the Dr Martin contest in north-east England earlier in September. It was the first in-person competition the band has been able to attend in 18 months due to the pandemic, making the win all the more satisfactory. Garry Cutt will also be leading Whitburn on stage at the Royal Albert Hall, having guided the band to third place at the Nationals in 2019.

Whitburn chairman Charlie Farren commented: “We are excited to be once again performing at the Nationals and to be playing for our supporters and the wider public. We are very proud of what we achieved during the lockdown with our online banding performances and we are now ready to take to one of the biggest stages in the world again to make music.”

Bon-Accord qualified for the Nationals by securing the runner-up spot at the Scottish Championships with professional conductor Adam Cooke. The band also won awards for best trombone and percussion. This was the first time the band had qualified in the Championship section since 1983, making the success such a great achievement. A week later, however, the pandemic struck and everything was put on hold. Members are now working hard on the test piece Heroes by Bruce Broughton with professional musical director, Dave Roberts.

“As with all bands, this has not been a normal run-up to a National Championship but we were lucky in being able to organise outside rehearsal accommodation from early December so small groups could rehearse together,” explained secretary Ann Murray.

“We have been meeting with strict COVID protocols in place. The band is really excited about representing Scotland and having the opportunity to perform in the Albert Hall.”