Carnoustie and District
Youth Brass Band

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2011 National Youth Band Championships of Great Britain - RNCM Theatre retrospective


Michael Robertson and Eion Tonner

Carnoustie - National Champion and Best Instrumentalist winners


Premier Section:


At the conclusion of the marathon Intermediate contest, the climax to a long day in the RNCM Theatre came with the ‘Blue Riband’ Premier Section.


Worth the wait


It proved to be well worth the wait, despite there only being three bands presenting their 25 minute programmes, the focal point of each being Gavin Higgins' set work, 'Fanfares and Love Songs'.


Originally written for the National Children's Band of Great Britain, it proved to be a challenging test for the bands – and would have certainly sorted out the best bands in a First Section contest.


Asked questions


From the teasing opening fanfares through the lyrical love songs and bravura finish it asked pertinent questions of three very competent bands and their MDs – which all three just about answered.

Adjudicators James Scott and Lynda Nicholson enjoyed their brief contesting sojourn with Lynda taking the opportunity to praise all three contenders.

Carnoustie Celebrate
All in a line to celebrate for Carnoustie


Clear cut


The result though was clear cut and very straight forward.

There was no doubting that Carnoustie and District Youth under Michael Robertson was a most worthy winner with Gold Award performance of the highest 24 carat quality.

Twelve months ago they won the Advanced Section, and following further successes (including the Scottish Youth title in November) they demonstrated their musical attributes with a truly stunning display.




Playing first, they opened with a superb rendition of the set work. It was a performance full of ensemble detail, musicality and fine soloists; none more so than principal cornet, Eoin Tonner who took the Instrumentalist prize - although if it had gone to brother Callum on soprano, only the siblings may have disagreed.

The following hymn tune, 'Our God Our Help in Ages Past' (St Anne) from Alan Fernie's ' A Scots Miscellany’ was played with balanced tonality, warmth and cultured phrasing, before they wrapped up with a thumping account of 'Dundonnell' from 'Hymn of the Highlands'.

It was playing that fully deserved its plaudits and prizes.

Fine performance

Northamptonshire County Youth under Brad Turnball claimed the runner up prize and a Silver Award courtesy of a fine performance of the set work and a well chosen contrast in music from the pen of Salvationist composer Steven Ponsford and his, 'Cristo Redentor'.

This challenging composition, which has been revised for the Youth band, takes its inspiration from the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer that stands above Rio de Janeiro.

It incorporates the melodies, ‘Lord, I lift your name on high', ‘Ochills' and ‘There is a Redeemer’ – and it was delivered with a sense of brio and understating.


West Lothian Schools under Nigel Boddice MBE won't have enjoyed being beaten by their Scottish rivals once again.

However, they will surely have taken home with them a great deal of satisfaction that they are once again emerging as a real force at this level after a period of rebuilding.

The set work didn't quite have the ensemble clarity and security of the other two contenders, whilst Peter Graham's 'Shine as the Light' sounded a touch ‘old hat’ although it was very well delivered.

No doubting the quality

The contest may have been short and sweet compared to others during the day, but there was no doubting the quality on display – especially from the winners.

Carnoustie and District Youth is some band.

On the evidence of their performance here, they could dominate this event for some time to come.

Malcolm Wood

National Champions 2011

National Champions 2011

(Premier Section)

Scottish Champions 2010

Scottish Champions 2010

(Premier Section)
© Carnoustie and District Youth Brass Band 2010 - 2014