Tuesday 24th November 2009 by C. Freeman
Sixth Former Oliver Newton has played a concert at the Royal Albert Hall for the second time in two years. Oliver, who is part of the Youth Brass 2000 band, has had a busy year. The band was invited to perform at the Royal Albert Hall after playing in the National Festival of Music for Youth at Birmingham's Symphony Hall. They then embarked on a tour in Italy playing at venues around Florence and, on the final evening they were told that they had been invited to play once again at the Royal Albert Hall.
At the School Proms event in November the band got a longer-than-usual time slot and played for 12 minutes at the prestigious venue, performing three movements from the Call of the Cossacks by Peter Graham. Oliver said: ' We've been playing the Call of the Cossacks for about a year now and it was the piece that really started our streak of winning competitions. It's one of my favourite pieces and I played the orchestral bass drum. The performance at the Royal Albert Hall went really well. Again, like last year, we were the last act of the first half and closed it before the interval. I'm probably biased but they were saying it was the best act there. As we had played there before we were able to plan more and knew what was going to happen. To have the opportunity to play at the Royal Albert Hall in front of so many people can't really be beaten. It's always a great experience when you do it.'
The band now has a string of concerts and competitions coming up and it has been given the opportunity of being only the second brass band in the world to play a piece that was commissioned by the Black Dyke Band, considered to be the leading adult brass band in the UK. The piece, entitled 'Cat's Tales,' by Peter Graham was first performed at Birmingham and it is unprecedented in the brass banding world that a youth band has been invited to stage its second performance.
Youth Brass 2000 rehearse each week at Wilbarston village hall and they are now looking for new members. The upper age limit is 19 years old and there is no lower age limit although obviously members must be able to read and play music. Rehearsal sessions cost £3 and run from 1700 to 2000hrs every Sunday.