Campbeltown Brass: Scottish champions

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By Hannah O’Hanlon

A Campbeltown Brass ensemble was crowned the best in the country at the Scottish Brass Band Association’s Besson solo and ensemble championships.

Junior Ensemble A players Hannah McCaig, Jack and Rona Campbell and Andrew and Jamie Colville took home the Kinneil Band trophy in the junior ensemble section at last weekend’s competition in Livingston.

The quintet, which includes two sets of twins, joined other members of Campbeltown Brass after qualifying for the finals at the West of Scotland competition in October, and were not the only ones who proved successful.

The youth ensembles category was closely fought and Campbeltown Brass duet Gavin Johnson and Owen Pickering prevailed, beating the band’s senior ensemble, which came second, to take home the Clydebank Burgh Band trophy.

Gavin was also triumphant in the youth solos section, becoming Scottish solo champion for his Eb bass performance and taking home the Scottish Co-op Band trophy, with Owen, on bass trombone, a close second.

The band’s musical director, Stephanie Mitchell, was herself a member for around 10 years and became principal cornet during that time.

After carrying out her undergraduate studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, she went on to do her masters with Professor Kristian Steenstrup at the Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus, in Denmark.

Now based in Glasgow, Miss Mitchell, 27, travels to Campbeltown weekly to teach the young musicians and conduct the senior band.

She told the Courier: ‘It’s a pleasure to teach them and see the hard work they have put in pay off – the results speak for themselves.

‘They are a true credit to their parents, schools and town.’

As well as those who took home silverware, there were many who just missed out.

In the junior solos, for those aged 12 and under, Jamie Colville, playing trombone, was awarded second overall, with Kyle Paterson, on euphonium, receiving a gold award and Scott Oman, on Eb bass, a silver.

In the intermediate solos section Amy Paterson came second overall and Andrew McMillan received a gold award, both for tenor horn performances.

The band’s Intermediate Ensemble A came second in the intermediate ensemble category, while the Intermediate B ensemble, nicknamed ‘the boys’ received a gold – a tremendous achievement for their first contest in the higher age category.

Band manager Katrina Barr commented: ‘Every player did amazingly well. The band is very proud of everyone who took part and once again Campbeltown has shown it is at the top of Scottish youth brass banding.’

Turn to page two for photos of Junior Ensemble A.