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Whitburn Band welcome four new signings

Whitburn Band has welcomed four new signings in time for its challenge at the Scottish Brass Band Championships.

Charlie Boax and Emma Close joined the band at the end of last year.

Charlie - the daughter of SBBA’s President Carrie Boax and John Boax, the respected conductor and brass teacher - has been appointed Principal Baritone.

The 16-year-old started playing at the age of three with Irvine and Dreghorn Youth Band in Ayrshire, performing alongside her mum and dad. By the age of ten, she was playing with the Irvine and Dreghorn Band.

Charlie is the current Principal Baritone of the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland, and has been a Scottish solo champion in the ‘under-12’ and ‘intermediate’ age categories.

Evelyn Bradley, the vastly experienced performer with Whitburn who has served for many years as Principal Euphonium and Principal Baritone, moves to second baritone to support Charlie.

Emma Close, an 18-year-old student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, joins Whitburn on second trombone.

Emma is a former player of Verwood Concert Brass, and has been a member of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

The daughter of Elaine Close, the former BBC Philharmonic trumpet player, Emma has just been appointed Principal Trombone of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.

Emma replaces Robyn Anderson, a fellow student at the Royal Conservatoire, who leaves Whitburn to concentrate on her final year of studies in Glasgow.

Ailish Gracie, who also studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, has joined Whitburn on the solo cornet team.

The 19-year-old comes from a brass band family. She started playing a decade ago under the tutelage of her grandad, the conductor Robert McDonald, and has always looked up to her uncle Paul McDonald – the Fodens solo cornet player.

Ailish is a former member of Arbroath Instrumental, Dundee Instrumental and Kirkintilloch Kelvin bands. One of the highlights of her playing career so far was performing in China in 2018 with Carnoustie High School’s brass band.

Reece Ward-Murray completes the quartet of signings, having joined Whitburn on third cornet.

The 23-year-old started at Peebles Burgh Silver Band and played for his local town band for ten years before joining Newtongrange. While at the Midlothian band, he worked his way up from the back row to the bumper-up chair under the guidance of the band’s principal cornet player, Angus Edmond.

One of the highlights of his playing career so far was winning the Scottish first section with Newtongrange in 2017. Reece has also performed with Kirkintilloch Band as bumper-up solo cornet.

Charlie Farren, Whitburn Band Chairman, said: “Everyone at Whitburn would like to welcome Charlie, Emma, Ailish and Reece to our band.

“They join Whitburn at an exciting time ahead of the Scottish championships and then our participation at the European Championships in Malmo, Sweden.

“I want to thank Robyn for her time with the band and wish her every success in the future, and thank Evelyn for her years of great service on Principal Baritone and Principal Euphonium before that.

“With such great experience, she continues to be such an invaluable player for our band.”

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