Band played to the nation

A CARNOUSTIE based brass band played to a slightly larger audience than they are used to on Christmas Eve.

Carnoustie and District Brass Band appeared on BBC Scotland’s broadcast of Midnight Mass from Paisley Abbey on Saturday night.

Musical director for the band, Michael Robertson said: “We got a phone call from a BBC producer, Jim Hunter, back in September, inviting the band to play at the Midnight Mass.

“I don’t want to sound big headed, but apparently they invite all the top groups in Scotland.

“We have no idea who gave them our number to get in touch with us about Midnight Mass, but I’m glad they did, it was a really great experience for the young musicians.”

The performance to a nationally televised audience capped what has been an amazing year for the band after their success in the 2011 British Youth Brass Band premier section.

Mr Robertson was able to reveal that what was seen on television was not quite how it happened, especially as it was recorded on December 14!

He said: “It was nothing like the finished article.

“Sometimes there were two or three takes, there was a lot of stop and start and it was all in a different order.

“It was particularly hard work for the young musicians. We left at one, started at five and finished round about nine. It was a really long day for them.”

The band had more good news, when in October they were told they had won the youth band category of the BBC Radio 2’s Young Brass Awards for 2011.

Mr Robertson said: “Terry Carter, another producer at Radio 2 got in touch with me to tell me that we had been chosen by a panel of judges to receive the award.

“At the same time we were told Ross Knight had won the under-21s category for brass soloist.”

Mr Robertson admitted that sometimes these awards could be quite mysterious.

He went on: “We don’t really know a great deal about some of them, or how they are awarded, but we do know they are very prestigious awards.”

The band travelled to Birmingham to receive their awards and will be returning south at the end of January to take part in the Festival of Music at the Royal northern College of Music.

The bandmaster explained: “We’re going down again, this time to Manchester on January 29 for Radio 2 and hopefully we’ll get to play again.

“We’ve heard that we might have the possibility of playing with the legendary Black Dyke Band, but we don’t know for certain.

“We’ll find out in the next couple of weeks when the BBC get back in touch.”

The concert will be broadcast on Frank Renton’s ‘Listen To The Band’ on Radio 2 sometime in March.

The winner of the competition will then be given the opportunity to play again on Radio 2.

In the spring, Carnoustie and District Brass Band will return to Manchester.

Mr Robertson said: “We’re going down to Manchester in April for the British Championships, and we hope to do well there again next year.

“I don’t want to sound negative, but it is very unusual for a band to retain the title, but obviously we are going to go down there and play our best.”

Mr Robertson had nothing but praise for his musicians and said: “It has just been a fantastic year for us, it really has been.

“Everyone has worked so hard to get here and the support has been brilliant.”