NORTH Ayrshire’s young musicians hit the right notes this weekend, securing gold awards all round at the National Concert Band Festival (NCBF).

The region was represented by two bands at the national finale in Manchester – the Schools’ Junior and Senior Concert Bands.

This follows their success in gaining either a gold or platinum award at the regional heats in January.

First up was the Junior Band on Saturday which, after giving a show-stopping performance to renowned adjudicators, secured the first gold award of the weekend.

This was the first time the Junior Band had entered the NCBF. The talented team – comprising 54 pupils from 20 primary and secondary schools across North Ayrshire – performed three spectacular competition pieces: Tales of the River Wye by Philip Sparke; Camden Crossing by Michael Oare; and Quest for the Mountain Top by Richard Saucedo.

Next up was the Senior Band on Sunday afternoon. The already successful band was eager to hold onto the top spot, having secured platinum in 2017.

And while they narrowly missed out on the platinum award this time around, they did secure the second gold of the weekend for North Ayrshire following three great performances of: The Shining Sword by Rob Wiffin; Lux Aurumque by Eric Whitacre; and the extremely challenging Blue Shades by Frank Ticheli.

The Schools’ Senior Band has a long history of success at the national heat of the NCBF – winning platinum in 2015, gold in 2016 and platinum in 2017 – and this weekend’s gold accolade will be a welcomed edition to their list of achievements.

Mae Murray, Music Service Manager, said: “I can’t express how proud I am of our talented groups of young musicians.

“Each and every one of them has put in a great amount of effort to prepare for this competition and they did not disappoint when they got on that stage at the weekend.

“Their performances perfectly showcased their talents and coming home with not one but two gold awards is the cherry on top.”

As well as the Council’s Music Service, the band get special tuition from Musical Director, Matthew Chinn, of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and Instrumental Instructor, Aileen Muir.

Speaking about the bands’ success, Councillor John Bell, Cabinet Member for Education and Youth Employment, said: “Once again these outstanding young musicians have set a clear reminder of just how talented they really are.

“Their achievements this weekend follows months of hard work, dedicated and commitment which is mirrored by the staff and musical instructors who work alongside them. This tremendous team work is what has helped recognise our young musicians among some of the best in the UK.

“They are a credit to North Ayrshire and a true inspiration to us all.”