Published on August 13th, 2020 by gavin

NYBBS online concert is a triumph over the adversity of COVID-19 lockdown

Saturday’s online concert by Scotland’s young brass musicians was a stirring triumph of the enthusiasm and determination of youth over the adversity of the Coronavirus lockdown.

The 2020 NYBBS (National Youth Brass Band of Scotland) Virtual Performance – which replaced the traditional ‘grand finale’ to a week-long summer residential brass course at the Strathallan School in Perthshire which had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 – was broadcast on the SBBA YouTube channel at 3pm on 8 August.

The 47-minute programme was in three segments featuring the Children’s band, conducted by Alan Fernie, the Reserve band under the baton of SBBA (Scottish Brass Band Association) education officer John Boax, and the Senior band directed by Ian Porthouse.

Opening the Seniors’ spot was the inaugural performance of a ‘short and snappy’ piece called Ceòl(Gaelic for music), which SBBA had commissioned from Alan Fernie. 

For a rousing conclusion to the concert, the three bands joined forces for a rendition of the popular march Slaidburn, exuberantly conducted by the inimitable Richard Evans (see photograph).

Course organisers from SBBA had collaborated with tutors and conductors to engage the students in the preparation of the online concert for several weeks beforehand. To replace the traditional face-to-face tuition, a series of videos was prepared by the NYBBS conducting team for the SBBA YouTube channel, offering their encouragement, advice and musical expertise.

You can enjoy the full NYBBS concert at

For SBBA president Carrie Boax and the whole team of organisers, coordinators, tutors and conductors, the event was a moment of extreme pride. 

Carrie commented: “As a coordinator and as a NYBBS parent, I cannot stress enough how appreciative families and players are for the amount of work that has gone on behind the scenes into the preparation and execution of this achievement. The actual length of the concert itself does not really do it justice. 

“Everyone involved has been absolutely amazing, so positive and determined to get all of the NYBBS players connected and motivated into making music.

“I am so proud to see how far we have come since the planning stages in April. I do hope that the concert is appreciated in the way that it is meant – an opportunity to connect our youngsters and their families to ensure they remain motivated to continue on their musical journey.”                                                          … / …

She added: “I hope also that this can be the perfect tonic for some of our senior bands, a reminder of all that is great about brass banding, to allow them to see that there is hope of a future for our wonderful community and if we are patient, it will return.                                                                                             

“Finally, I would like to add a word of thanks to Creative Scotland and the Youth Music Initiative for their funding and ongoing support, without which this whole event would not have been possible.”

• Make a note in your diaries for next year. The NYBBS summer course is planned to take place on 1-7 August 2021.

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