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Published 20 November 2015

Musical pupils in West Dunbartonshire’s Instrumental Music Service Senior Wind Band are celebrating their second year of Gold award success.

The band ‒ managed by Libraries and Cultural Services, and which is made up of more than 40 pupils from all five West Dunbartonshire high schools ‒ received the accolade for the second year running when its members performed as part of the National Concert Band Festival.

The Scottish regional heat of the competition, held in Edinburgh, requires entrants to perform three pieces of original music ‒ one of which is from a set list of challenging music set by the festival organisers.

Once all of the regional events are complete the band will find out if they have qualified for the National Final, to be held at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester in April.

Brass instructor Chris Mitchell, who conducts the band, said: “The band played very well at the festival and worked incredibly hard for their performance ‒ including extra rehearsals the week before the competition.

“It is a credit to all the hard work of the instrumental music service and the pupils that West Dunbartonshire has a first-class music ensemble that can obtain a Gold award against the very best young bands in Scotland.”

Flautist Jasmine Sharp, 17, an S6 pupil at Clydebank High School, said the camaraderie among the musicians is great in the run-up to a competition.

She said: “We have all been playing since we were younger so you meet people you knew in primary school. When the older players leave the younger ones step in.

“We have competed every year since I joined the band in first year, and it’s good because it makes everyone really determined to do well and practice hard.”

Trumpet player Daniel Connolly, also 17, from Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School added: “Gold is a really good achievement, so achieving it over a couple of years now is great.”

Councillor Michelle McGinty, Convener of West Dunbartonshire Council’s Educational Services Committee, said: “It is fantastic that so many of our young people are continuing to be involved in music, and to be at this level is a huge achievement.

“Congratulations to everyone involved for all their hard work and for representing West Dunbartonshire to such a high standard.”

Councillor John Mooney, Vice-Convener of the committee, added: “As a Council we are committed to improving life chances for young people and a well-rounded school experience is a big part of that.

“I am delighted that these pupils are not only taking up the option of learning an instrument, but thriving at it. I wish them the best of luck in the remainder of the festival.”

Pictured: Members of West Dunbartonshire’s Senior Wind Band celebrate their Gold Award success with instructor Chris Mitchell and Councillor John Mooney, Vice-Convener of West Dunbartonshire Council’s Educational Services Committee.