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The junior band have been crowned "Scottish Champions" after competing at the Scottish Youth Brass Band Championships in Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall, on Sunday 30th November. Competing in the under-16 class, the band fended off stiff competition from bands from as far afield as Campbeltown and Perthshire.

The band's winning programme included some of the players' favourite numbers: The Muppet Show, a selection from The Lion King, The Eye of the Tiger and The Best of ABBA. For their efforts, the band received a huge trophy and a commemorative banner. The trophy was collected on stage by the band's youngest member, Katy Sutherland.
The victory at Glasgow is the band's second triumph this year, having also taken the top spot at the Brass in the Park competition at Newtongrange in August. The hard work of players, supporters and conductor Cameron Mabon over the past three years has paid off. With more players than ever before, and even more waiting in the wings to join up, the junior band is going from strength to strength.

The senior band took first place in the third section at the Borders Entertainment Contest, held in Innerleithen's Memorial Hall on Saturday 15th November. The victory at Innerleithen is the band's third win in as many attempts in the third section this year.

The Borders contest attracted a strong field of 2nd, 3rd and 4th section bands from across Southern Scotland and the north of England. Each band played a programme of 20 minutes, each one including a piece of film music. The contest was won by the St. Ronan's Silver Band, spurred on by their home crowd.

 Jedforest's programme consisted of: "Down by the Riverside" (arr. Fernie), "On with the Motley" (Leoncavallo, arr. Farr; soprano cornet soloist, David Lightbody), "Explosions Polka" (J. Strauss, arr. Newsome), "Speak Softly Love" (from The Godfather, Rota, arr. Fernie) and Macarthur Park (Jim Webb, arr. Fernie). Adjudicators Archie Hutchinson and Denis Taylor praised the band's rich sound and the musical interpretation of professional conductor, Alan Fernie. The band was placed third overall in the contest - an excellent result against some of the best lower section bands in Scotland.

The full results were as follows:
1. St. Ronan's Silver Band (2)
2. Barrhead Burgh (2)
3. Jedforest Instrumental Band (3)
4. Lochgelly (2)
5. Campbeltown (3)
6. Selkirk (2)
7. Clydebank (2)
8. Tullis Russel (3)
9. Newlands Concert (4)
9. MacTaggart Scott Loanhead (3)
9. Dumfries (3)
12. Hawick Saxhorn (4)
13. Shotts St. Patrick (2)
14. Flimby (2)
15. Peebles (3)
Most entertaining band: St. Ronans Silver Band
Best soloist: Xylophone Player, Hawick Saxhorn  

Band takes top place at Whitburn Contest

The band took top honours in the third section at this year's entertainment contest at Whitburn, held in Whitburn Academy on Saturday 1st November. Conducted for the first time on the contest platform by bandmaster Cameron Mabon, the band's performance had a bit of everything: from Leoncavallo's classic operatic aria, "On with the Motley" to the Queen hit, "Don't Stop Me Now".

The standard of the competing bands was extremely high. Nine out of the fourteen bands were from the first or Championship section. The victory at Whitburn is the band's first at the contest, and the band is hoping to build on that success by putting in a good show at the Borders Entertainment Contest in Innerleithen on Saturday 15th November.  

Jedforest Competitors perform well at Borders Slow Melody Competition

Players from Jedforest Instrumental Band took many of the prizes at the Borders Slow Melody Competition, held in Selkirk High School on Sunday 28th September. Leigh-Anne Stewart took top prize in the 12 and under category, with Patrick Fraser picking up first prize in the 10 and under section. 

September Concert a Roaring Success

The band's autumn concert, held in Jedburgh Town Hall on Saturday 20th September, was a great success. The band was on good form, following its recent success at the Brass in the Park Competition (see below), and entertained a capacity audience with a programme that ranged from Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo a la Turk" to The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine". Professional conductor, Alan Fernie, picked up his trombone to join the band in two excellent solos. In the first half, he romped through J.A. Greenwood's "The Acrobat", which brought the house down. In the second half, the mood changed completely with a moving performance of "Annie Laurie", in a wonderful arrangement by Adrian Drover.

The junior band was also on fine form. It performed the programme that won first place at the recent Brass in the Park competition, with some fine solo playing from Leigh-Anne Stewart (tenor horn), Clare Younger (cornet) and Robert Fraser (trombone). 

Double Whammy at "Brass in the Park" (August 2003)

The band scored a double success at the Brass in the Park competition on Saturday 30th August. The senior band took top honours in the 3rd Section, fending off stiff competition from some of the country's best 3rd section bands and beating a number of 2nd and first section bands into the bargain! At the same time, the junior band took first place in the Development Section, winning a trophy and £250. The victory for the senior band is the second in two years. At last year's competition, the band picked up the 4th Section trophy and the award for the best soloist (David Lightbody, soprano cornet). This year's programme included the march, The Australasian, by W. Rimmer, an arrangement of the hymn tune "Slane", by the band's musical director, Alan Fernie, and "Share My Yoke" (featuring Tamir Karp on cornet). The junior band performed a fifteen minute programme, opening with the rousing theme to the film, Rocky, and concluding with a lively version of the Bee Gees hit, Tragedy! The junior band members are now looking forward to competing at the Scottish Youth Championships in Glasgow on Sunday 30th November.  

Mile of Coins to raise funds for Junior Band (August 2003)

An exciting project has been launched to raise funds for the Jedforest Junior Band. We are asking people to contribute any small change, in order to collect a mile of coins. Coins of all denominations will be accepted: 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p and even £1 and £2 coins, if people are generous enough to offer them! The coins will be laid out in the band hall at the end of December, after the band's Christmas concert on Saturday 20th December.  

Jedforest Players involved at the NYBBS (August 2003)

Seven players from the Jedforest Instrumental Band joined the National Youth Band of Scotland for its annual Summer Course in St. Andrews. Playing for the main band were Stuart Black (2nd cornet), Katy Young (Repiano) and Tamir Karp (Repiano). Meanwhile, Clare Younger (2nd cornet), Robert Fraser (1st trombone), Patrick Fraser (baritone) and Allie Young (principal percussionist) all joined the ranks of the reserve band. It is hoped that the band will have even more players in the NYBBS next year.  

First place at Fancy Dress Parade (July 2003)

The band once again took first place at the Jedburgh Fancy Dress Parade on Friday 11th July. The theme for this year was science fiction, and band members dressed as characters from Star Wars, Star Trek, etc. Many of the junior band players joined the senior band for the event, which marked the end of the Jedburgh Festival week.  

Adam Smith takes B Band trophy (June 2003)

Junior Band Bass phenomenon, Adam Smith (alias Mr. Big), has won the coveted "Most Improved Player" Award for 2003. Adam has played in the junior band for about eighteen months, and is now playing for the senior band whenever possible. Adam practices diligently and rarely misses practices, and has made great progress on his bass this year, despite the fact that it is bigger than he is! Previous winners: Robert Fraser (trombone), Leigh-Anne Stewart (horn), Paul Robertson (soprano).  

Strong showing at the "Scottish"... (March 2003)
Competing in the third section for the first time in more than thirty years, the band put in a solid and very musical performance at the Scottish Championships in Falkirk on Sunday 9th March. Adjudicators Roger Webster and John berryman awarded the band fourth place - an encouraging result given that this was our first contest in the third section. The band's performance of the set test-piece, "Northern Landscapes", by Peter Graham, included polished solos from Principal Cornet, David Sutherland, and flugel, Tamir Karp. As ever, Jo Stark gave a flawless account of the euphonium part that was highly praised by the two men in the box. The band's overall sound was very good, and the performance spoiled only by odd lapses in intonation and some untidiness here and there. Nevertheless, the band came away from Falkirk delighted with such a strong showing in the 3rd Section. The 3rd section contest was won by the Lochgelly band. Taking second place was the St. Ronan's Silver Band from Innerleithen. For the full results, see "4 Bars Rest".

Paul Robertson takes Junior Band trophy (December 2003)

The "most improved player" award for 2002-3 was won by the Junior Band's soprano cornet player, Paul Robertson. Paul started his playing career as a Bb cornet player, but found it difficult not to play top Cs (a problem which many of the cornet players in the senior band would like to suffer from)! He moved to soprano a year ago, and has made excellent progress. He was awarded the trophy not just for his playing, but for his commitment to the band and the effort he makes to attend very practice. Previous winners: Robert Fraser and Leigh-Anne Stuart.  

Borders Contest a Big Success (December 2002)

In December 2002, Jedburgh played host to the Borders Entertainment Contest, in its second year. Having won the prize for the "most entertaining band" in the inaugural contest, the band was keen to put in another strong performance. Our programme included a memorable euphonium solo ("The Rowan Tree", arr. Fernie") and concluded with Peter Graham's "Gaelforce" - a tour de force for the whole band! In the end, our performance was awarded fourth place overall. The contest was won by Newmilns and Galston band, conducted by Craig Anderson. The contest was a big success - with a capacity audience filling the Town Hall all day (an unusual sight at a contest these days!) and a touch of class added by compere Alasdair Hutton (the voice of the Edinburgh Tattoo). The 2003 Borders Contest will take place in October, and the band will be hoping to put in another strong performance. 

CD proves popular (Christmas 2002)

 The band made its first recording since 1979 on 2nd November last year. The recording was made in the band hall, and produced in time for the band's Christmas Concert. The CD, called "Joy!" after the opening track, features some of the numbers that have proved popular with audiences over the last few years. Notably, it includes some premiere recordings of music specially commissioned by the band: Alan Fernie's march "The Reivers" and "Jedburgh Overture". Other favourites include the spirited gospel number "Joy!", "The Great Escape" and "Breezin' Down Broadway". Three soloists are featured: David Lightbody gives a stunning rendition of "On with the Motley", David Sutherland (cornet) gives an authentic performance of "Georgia on my Mind" whilst Jo Stark whizzes through Remington's "Carnival of Venice" on euphonium. (NB: As of January 2003, there are no more copies of the CD on sale).   Hair-raising experience at Torquay, in more ways than one... (September 2002) The Band travelled to Torquay on 21st September 2002 to compete in the British Championship Finals (4th Section). After weeks of preparation, the band felt well placed to pull off a good result. Unfortunately, the occasion got the better of us to some extent and our performance on stage was a trifle nervous. Nevertheless, the band put in a solid performance that earned us 13th place overall. Our initial dissapointment was tempered by the fact that the standard of the competition was extremely high, and that this was the band's first visit to the National Finals in more than thirty years. For many of the band's players, the trip to Torquay was their first experience of the National Finals. Despite our under-par performance on the day, the whole weekend was great fun and enjoyed by everyone. Even the long coach journey to and from Torquay (10 hours in each direction) did not dispell the team spirit that has done so much to fuel the band's recent success. Furthermore, the band did much to earn a name for itself away from the contest platform. Getting into the festival spirit of the National Finals, every member of the band died their hair blue for the day of the contest, and bass trombonist Billy Lidell excelled himself with an electric blue mohecan haircut (picture to follow, if you haven't already seen it on the 6 o'clock news)! And the crowd went wild...

Another Triumph at "Brass in the Park" (August 2002)

Jedforest Instrumental Band recorded yet another victory on Saturday 31st August in the Brass in the Park Competition, held in Newtongrange Park, Newtongrange. Playing the march Knight Templar, by George Allan, and an arrangement of the hymn tune Repton by the band's principal cornet, Cameron Mabon, Jedforest topped the fourth section by 5 clear points. The victory is the band's 8th first place in ten contests. In a memorable day for the band, David Lightbody (soprano cornet) picked up the award for the best soloist with his stunning performance of Leoncavallo's aria On with the Motley. In so doing, David beat soloists from across Scotland. Compere Alan McLaren commented that it was no surprise that David won the award, as his blistering performance had "raised the roof"! The award is David's second in as many contests. He won the award for the best instrumentalist at the Carnegie Contest in April.
The Jedforest Junior Band also performed well, playing Alan Fernie's well loved arrangement of Deep Harmony and Rimmer's famous march, Slaidburn. Although disappointed not to retain the title they won last year in the "non-contesting band" division, the junior players nevertheless enjoyed their day out, and were able to listen to many of the other band's performances.  

Jungle Book a hit at Fancy Dress Parade (July 2002)
The band impressed the crowds at the Jethart Callant's Festival Parade on Friday 12th July. The band marched behind a banner illustrated with characters from the film, and all the players dressed as jungle creatures. As the band marched along, we played the "Bare Necessities" and "Colonel Hathi's March", to great applause from the crowds. The B Band members joined the senior band for this special occasion, and our efforts were rewarded with first prize in the fancy dress competition!

Jedforest players excel at NYBBS (July 2002)

Several young players from Jedforest Instrumental Band have been enjoying playing for the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland. The NYBBS reserve band course took place in St. Andrews from 8th to 14th July. From Jedforest, Katy Young played principal cornet and Stuart Black was second man down on the front row. Robert Fraser led the 2nd baritone section, and Ali Young was the principal percussionist. For all four, it was the first time they had attended the NYBBS. Meanwhile, Tamir Karp joined the senior National Youth Band for their tour of Bavaria (14th to 20th July). Tamir, one of the youngest in the NYBBS, played Repiano cornet. It was a great privilege for him to play under the baton of banding legend, Richard Evans.
Band pay their respects to John Lindsay (June 2002)

The band turned out in full to play at the funeral of John Lindsay, for two years a percussionist with the band, and a well loved and respected musician in the Borders and further afield. The band played music specially requested by John, including an arrangement of the funeral march from Chopin's Piano Sonata Op. 35. 

Leigh-Anne takes B Band trophy! (June 2002)

Leigh-Anne Stewart has been declared the B Band's most improved player for 2001-02. Leigh-Anne was presented with a cup at the band's Summer Concert. Leigh-Anne is a diligent attender and doea a lot of work at home to improve her playing. If she continues to improve at her current rate, she will be giving the senior band horn players a run for their money in no time. The inaugural recipient of the trophy was Robert Fraser (awarded the cup in December 2001), the B Band's 1st baritone player. The cup will next be awarded at the band's Christmas Concert in December. To be in with a chance of winning, get practising!  

Triumph at Carnegie Contest (April 2002)

The Jedforest Instrumental Band continued its winning ways by finishing first at the Carnegie Contest in Dunfermline on Saturday 20th April. Playing Bryan Kelly's Divertimento, the band produced a musical performance to fend off stiff competition from the best of the rest, winning by a margin of three points over the current Scottish Champions! Adjudicators Duncan Beckley and David Read said that there were Jedforest were clear winners, and praised the band's good sound and the interpretation of conductor, Alan Fernie. David Lightbody, the band's star soprano player, lifted the prize for the best instrumentalist, which came as no surprise to anyone in the hall after his blistering performance. Divertimento is a piece that really tests the soprano player, with many lyrical solos and some dazzling high range work. David truly stamped his authority on the part, and thoroughly deserved the praise of the adjudicators. The victory at Dunfermline continues the band's recent run of contest success. In fact, the band has finished first or second at every contest it has entered in the last eighteen months. Players are now looking forward to preparing for the National Finals in Torquay in September. 
National Finals Beckon! (March 2002)

Jedforest Instrumental Band took second place at the Scottish Championships in Motherwell on Saturday 9th March, with a polished performance of the set test-piece, Suite in B Flat (Gordon Jacob). The result is the band's highest placing at the Scottish Championships for more than thirty years. Along with first-placed Lochgelly, Jedforest will represent Scotland at the British Championships in Torquay in September (playing A Cambrian Suite by Michael Ball) - a weekend to look forward to! Adjudicator Markus Bach, President of the European Brass Band Association, praised the band's fine sound and the musical leadership of conductor, Alan Fernie.