West Lothian Brass hit right notes

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West Lothian based brass band musicians enjoyed impressive results at the recent 2012 Besson Scottish Solo and Ensemble Championships, dominating the competition.

The event, presented by the Scottish Brass Band Association, was held at the Howden Park Centre Livingston on February 4 and 5 and attracted competitors from across Scotland.

Members from the James Young High School, Williamston Primary School and the Whitburn Band all earned national titles with three first placings in The 2012 Besson Scottish: Intermediate Championships, Open Solo Champion and Open Slow Melody Champion. Members from the three bands also won four second placings and two third placings.

Students of James Young High School added to their list of impressive achievements by scooping first place in the Intermediate Ensemble section, claiming the title of ‘2012 Besson Scottish intermediate Ensemble Champions’ and picking up The Bo’ness and Carriden Band Trophy.

Other notable wins from competitors representing the West Lothian area include horn player Chris Hamilton (16) of the Kinneil Band, Bo’ness who was announced as the runner-up in the Intermediate Solo category.

Judging the competition were Brian Allen, former head of The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; professional tuba player Jonathan Gawn and Sistema Scotland tutor Iain Sandilans.

Judges remarked on the high standard of offerings from everyone who entered the competition with comments including: “Many of the competitors have selected very challenging pieces to perform and have done themselves proud with the results of all their hard work”. “To come and perform on this stage at all is a huge achievement, so really every soloist and ensemble is a winner”.

Current Scottish Youth champions, The West Lothian Schools Brass Band were also in attendance, and gave an enthralling performance at a gala concert held to conclude the first day of the Championships weekend event.