GBBA supports local horn players in National Youth Bands

Updated: Sep 29, 2019

We have always aimed to help the Youth of the Association further their playing careers by awarding grants for courses. This summer two such awards were made to Jack Lythaby (Lydbrook Band) and Samantha Ford (Lydney Town Band). Read more below. If you would like to apply please send a letter to karin@gbba-online.org.uk

The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britian, a perspective.

Hi! I’m Jack Lythaby, Solo Horn of Lydbrook Band. The GBBA has recently awarded me a bursary to help towards the cost of my National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain (NYBBGB) course fees so I wanted to share with you my experience of the band to hopefully give younger players some insight of what is involved and hopefully inspire you to join. Entry into NYBBGB is by audition and consists of playing a set piece, some sight reading and scales. The auditions are conducted in a number of locations across the UK in the autumn including Salford and Cornwall (see www.nybbgb.com for more information). The courses are run twice a year at various locations around the UK, usually at Easter and the beginning of August. Each course is a week long and culminates with two end-of-course concerts. In the four courses I have attended, we have held concerts in Morley, Darlington, Beccles, Cheltenham, Salford, Wells and Regent Hall in London. The band’s resident conductor is Bramwell Tovey, and the section tutors are normally players from some of the country’s top bands (i.e. Glyn Williams, Cory; Sheona White, Brighouse and Rastrick; Mark Wilkinson, Fodens). Repertoire for the week is chosen prior to the course starting and includes pieces that will challenge the band. Last year we played “Of Distant Memories” which has since become one of my favourite pieces. On the first day of the course seating place auditions are held with the section tutor, where every player can choose their own music to play. This year I chose to play Capriccio Brilliante. It’s always a good idea to choose a piece that shows off your technical ability. The seating audition also includes scales and sight reading so it’s a good idea to brush up before you go! At this summer’s course I was awarded 4th Solo Horn. In the Horn section there are 4 players on each part so 16 of us all together including Flugel. A typical day on the course starts with breakfast at 8:30am followed by assembly (there’s normally a bit of hymn singing involved here). Sectionals and full band rehearsals fill the rest of the day with lunch at 1pm. We all head to Bar Raymond at 9pm for fun and relaxation. Bed is around 11pm. Tuesday is the open day where we welcome budding members to join us in sectionals and full band to really experience what is like to be a member of the band. I attended this a few years ago in Taunton and it was very useful to gain an understanding of what is involved. On the Easter course a solo competition is held on the Wednesday afternoon where everyone gets a chance to perform and show off their musical talent. Feedback is provided by the adjudicators and the winners of each section progress through to the final, the “Harry Mortimer Prize” which is held during the summer course. Prizes for this are awarded to the finalists, i.e. the Harry Mortimer Cup. During the week we normally form our own ensembles for the informal concert evening which is also a chance for any budding composer/arrangers to show off their work. On this year’s summer course we were lucky to work with Philip Smith, the former Principal Trumpet of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. He was our guest soloist and led a master class. He was also the guest conductor and an inspiration to work with. It is a very full week; you (and your lip) have to work hard, but it is a lot of fun and you will make friends from all across the country. Go for it …. maybe I’ll see you there next year (oh, and if you’re not old enough for the NYBBGB, take a look at The National Children’s Brass Band of Great Britain …. this is where I started http://nybbgb.com/ncbbgb.html).

Jack Lythaby (right) with friends from The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain

Jack Lythaby (right) with friends from The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain

National Youth Brass Band of Wales residential course 2016 Haberdashers Monmouth School for Girls written by Samantha Ford, Solo Tenor Horn for Lydney Town Band

Accompanying the Welsh country backdrop, the National Youth Brass Band of Wales (NYBBW) residential course 2016 took place at the Haberdashers Monmouth School for Girls (HMSG). With the conductor Tom Davoren, the band practiced a Welsh-composed programme. This included some of Davoren's own compositions; namely, Divinity of Hell and Windy City Heartbreak, which featured the band's guest soloist 2016, the world-renowned euphonium player, Glenn Van Looy. In addition, a premiere of Paul Mealor's Fantasia on a Theme by Henry Purcell enabled the band members to experience new and original repertoire. During the many rehearsal hours scheduled throughout the course, Davoren, Van Looy, the sectional tutors, and Mealor himself offered their knowledge and experience to perfect the programme's performance. The week was not only a test for musical talent and concentration, which the band has in abundance, but also an opportunity to socialise, make friends for life, and participate in a unique experience. The course culminated in performances at the Aberystwyth Music Festival and the HMSG. Davoren's final comment about the band was that the players have grown from being tutees to colleagues during the week, and indeed the NYBBW is both a friendly and talented ensemble, from which a brass band player can benefit immensely, as I have done. REPERTOIRE Gareth Glyn - DOLBADARN Tom Davoren - DIVINITY OF HELL (premiere) Peter Meechan - EUPHONIUM CONCERTO "Requiem Paraphrases" Mervyn Burtch - PAEAN Tom Davoren - WINDY CITY HEARTBREAK (premiere) Paul Mealor - FANTASIA ON A THEME BY HENRY PURCELL (premiere)

From left to right Tom Davoren, Samantha Ford and Glenn Van Looy.

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