BAND Hits The Right Notes With Online Solo Contest

20 April, 2021 | Local

Lucy McAlees and Mark Gammon with their awards.
Trombonist Hannah Martin won the junior class. Image by Craig Martin.

MEMBERS of Inverclyde-based Riverside Youth Band have continued to flourish with their latest lockdown project.

The band, which rehearses in Port Glasgow in normal times, hasn’t been able to meet for more than a year because of the pandemic, but recently held its fourth annual solo competition, which saw 27 performances from players as they showcased their skills.

The event took place online, with members recording their performances, playing along to recorded piano accompaniments and backing tracks produced for the occasion.

Providing further inspiration was tuba star Les Neish who listened carefully to the performances before coming to a decision on the award winners.

Les, an internationally-renowned performer, offered useful hints and tips before chatting to members about his own musical journey.

Riverside Youth Band’s musical director Mark Good said: “Playing a solo takes some grit and determination. Recording a solo — and getting it just right — takes even more resilience so I’m extremely proud of Riverside Youth Band members for rising to the challenge, as they have done throughout these challenging times.

“Whether they go on to study music or pursue a completely different career path, these experiences will play a huge role in shaping the confident young adults they will become.”

Mark continued: “It was a pleasure to welcome Les Neish to adjudicate. Les is a world-class performer and educator and Riverside Youth Band members learned so much hearing what he had to say about the art of performance and Les’s own musical journey from his local band to the very top.”

The competition was split into three classes, catering for different levels of experience. The junior section was won by trombonist Hannah Martin (Dumbarton Academy), ahead of Andrew Smith (Inverclyde Academy) in second and Amy Boyle (St Francis’s Primary) in third.

In the intermediate class, cornet player Lucy McAlees (Port Glasgow High School) came first ahead of Hannah McInnes in second and Rachel O’Connor in third (both Inverclyde Academy).

The winner of the senior section was bass trombonist Mark Gammon (Port Glasgow High School) ahead of Ewan Galloway (Trinity High, Renfrew) in second and Scott Crumlish (Inverclyde Academy) in third.

Duncan Galbraith, chairman of Riverside Youth Band, said: “While we cannot wait for the day in-person musical activities are able to resume, we have sought to ensure our young people are able to continue progressing at a time when it would be easy to lose motivation.

“Our 2021 solo competition is the latest in a series of activities undertaken during lockdown, including weekly online rehearsals and performances, as well as an awards night and one-to-one masterclasses with leading performers and educators.

“We’re grateful to Inverclyde Council’s Grants for Voluntary Organisations Fund for its support in bringing many of these ideas to fruition.”

Full solo competition results.

Junior Section: first: Hannah Martin, gold; second: Andrew Smith, gold; third: Amy Boyle, gold; Catherine Darroch, silver; Kyle Baxter, silver; Tai Bao, silver.

Intermediate Section: first: Lucy McAlees, gold; second: Hannah McInnnes, gold; third: Rachel O’Connor, gold; Angus Paton, gold; Adam Lawrence, gold; Scott Smith, silver; Struan Hewitt, silver; Karis Kitchen, silver; Brodie Stone, bronze; Katie Livingstone, bronze; Megan Taylor, bronze; Reilly Cassidy, bronze.

Senior Section: first: Mark Gammon, gold; second: Ewan Galloway, gold; third: Scott Crumlish, gold; Matthew Deegan, gold; Alex Jamieson, gold; Andrea Crumlish, silver; Rachel O’Connor, silver; Siobhan Crumlish, silver; Gregor Hewitt, silver.

Riverside Youth Band continues to welcome brass and percussion players, regardless of their level of experience. Email

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