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Dundee City West MSP Joe FitzPatrick got the opportunity to try making music on a euphonium during the inaugural day of workshops, master classes, and music making organised by City of Discovery Brass Band in the Bell Street Music Centre, Dundee, on Saturday 18th August.

The MSP who had come to watch the workshops confessed to having played euphonium as a child. He was thoroughly delighted to be able to borrow an instrument and have a blow – “The last time I was in the Music Centre, many moons ago, I played in a competition and came fourth…. The standard of playing today has been wonderful, much better than I ever was!”

The concept of the day was to open up specialist brass workshops and master classes to all players within Tayside, culminating in an evening concert. Discovery Band are keen to encourage collaboration between musicians throughout the region, and to encourage youth and adult involvement in the brass band community. The main aim was to have a fun filled day of music.

The event was led by International Virtuoso and Workshop tutor Les Neish, starting off with a youth workshop. More than 50 youth players from Perthshire Youth Brass, Dundee Schools, and bands in surrounding areas came together in exercises looking at rhythm, breathing, warming up, and buzzing skills.

Les then went on to lead a Solo workshop, including demonstrations and working with pupils from Dundee Schools, as well as players from City of Discovery and Arbroath Instrumental Bands.

After a quick break for lunch, the majority of the younger players took part in a percussion workshop, led by Lynsey Paterson.  The youngsters were able to take part in rhythm and movement exercises, before being let loose on the African drums for a session of Samba (Lynsey is a specialist in samba drumming). At the same time, the seniors took part an open rehearsal. There was a chance for a cup of tea before regrouping and having a massed band (more than 50 players) rehearsal in advance of the evening concert and a quick run through of Les’ solo pieces with the adult bands.

The evening concert was well attended, with Stewart Murdoch – Director of Leisure and Communities for Dundee City Council – noting “what a wonderful success” the day had been.