Published on January 26th, 2021 by gavin

Youth solo festival takes on a virtual format for 2021

The Scottish youth solo and ensemble festival will be taking on a different format for 2021 because of the current situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Preliminary qualifying rounds and the final itself are being staged as virtual events to ensure compliance with any restrictions on social gatherings which may still be in place.

Individual area qualifier competitions are being replaced by two online regional events, the first of which will be broadcast on the Scottish Brass Band Association (SBBA) YouTube channel and Facebook page on Saturday 27 February for entries from Fife, East and Northern Counties associations, with the second the next day, Sunday 28 February, for entries from the West, South West and Borders.

As usual, there will be three age categories: 12 & under, 16 & under and 21 & under. Four qualifiers from each association in each of these three age categories will progress to the final on Saturday 13 March.

Mentors will provide soloists with an assessment of their performance. For the first qualifying event, the mentors will be Jamie McVicar and Sandy Coffin. For the second qualifier, Charles (Chick) Keenan and Craig Anderson will provide the feeedback.

Entrants are requested to submit video recordings of their solos, with or without accompaniment, to education officer John Boax at [email protected] by 14 February 2021. The assessors will review the entries over a two-week period after that date and the finalists will be confirmed on the day of their regional competition. The final will be broadcast on the SBBA YouTube channel and Facebook page on the Saturday 13 March.

Soloists with accompaniments and ensembles must ensure that social distancing remains in place at all times during their recordings.

SBBA vice president Ann Murray, who is co-organising the championships with John Boax, commented: “While it is not ideal holding these events as virtual experiences, it does give those entrants who would normally have difficulty travelling to their area competitions and the final the opportunity to take part.”

There will be no cost of entry to encourage as wide a participation as possible. The event is being made possible with the continued support of Creative Scotland.Entry forms for the solo and ensemble competitions can be downloaded via the Scottish Brass Band Association website at

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