Ailsa is a European champ

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A CARNOUSTIE tenor horn player, Ailsa Russell (21), a former pupil of Mike Robertson, has once again become a European Champion.

She is a member of the Cory Band from the Rhondda Valley in Wales which was crowned 2013 European Brass Band Champions at the annual championships which took place in Oslo, Norway, on Friday and Saturday.

This is the fifth time that the band has won the European Championships.

As well as Cory, 10 other bands from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland took part in the competion which involved them playing a test piece on Friday and an own choice piece on Saturday.

It was a very close contest with Cory and the second placed band, Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag from Norway gaining the same mark of 191.

However, the local player’s band pipped them to take first place because they had gained the most points in the test piece.

In third place was the Black Dyke Brass Band under the baton of Dr Nicholas Childs who assists the Carnoustie and District Youth Brass Band.

The Cory Band, which is currently ranked number one in the world, is off to Holland in July to take part in the World Brass Band Championships. This is an invitation only event which is held every four years and Cory are the current holders.

In August, the band heads off to Australia to undertake an 11-concert tour where they will be playing in a variety of locations including Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney.

Ailsa is the daughter of Valerie and Neil Russell and attended Carlogie Primary and then Carnoustie High School. She played in the Arbroath Instrumental Band and the Carnoustie and District Youth Band before beginning a course at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Ailsa was Angus Youth Ambassador of the Year in 2011. She explained that she first took tenor horn lessons with Michael Robertson, one of Angus Council’s peripatetic music teachers, when she was nine years old. Ailsa joined Arbroath Instrumental Junior Band when she was 10 years old, only to be moved to the senior band a year later.

At the age of 12 she was accepted as a member of the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland.

She was also a founding member of Brass Bandits, a local brass quintet, and regularly won awards at music festivals across Scotland.

Ailsa now lives in Cardiff and hopes to settle there once she graduates in July.

Her other hobbies include tennis and cycling.