We’ve all seen many changes since April 2007 …

Muddy recently asked how long I’d been writing for The Yorkshire Post. My first column appeared exactly 10 years ago.  At the time I was signed to Sony and as part of a six-week album campaign, they asked the good people at the YP if I could write a few pieces and you’ve been stuck with me ever since, all 173,200 words of me to be precise!

We’ve all seen many changes since April 2007, and from a purely arts related point of view I’m gutted at the thought of schools cutting arts and in particular music from their curriculum due to lack of funding.  It’s going to have a devastating effect on the musical landscape, something must be done before it’s too late.

On Friday I had the pleasure of co-presenting Radio 2’s Young Brass Award with Frank Renton at the Royal Northern College of Music, or Royal College of Northern Music as I’ve heard it affectionately called.

The competition is open to brass players between 16 and 21. From those initial entries eight are selected for the semi finals, four of whom go on to perform at the final.

The standard of playing was jaw-droppingly good, and what a fantastic opportunity for any musician to be accompanied by the world famous Foden’s Band, under the baton of Michael Fowles.  Foden’s have been entertaining audiences for over a hundred years and a nicer bunch you’d struggle to find.

First up was Ellena Newton on trombone who will be taking up a place at RNCM in September. I’d have been quaking in my boots but she took to the stage with aplomb and delivered her 2 pieces brilliantly, as did all the finalists. Next on the block James Nash delighted us with a stunning Philip Nash work Moon Song Sun Dance on flugel horn.  Third to the stand was traditional brass band instrumentalist Siobhan Bates doing marvellous things with tenor horn and finally Isobel Daws took on a fantastic and difficult composition written by Gordon Langford for the great Don Lusher – Rhapsody for Trombone.  This unassuming young woman treated us to her phenomenal rendition with effortless skill, technique and beauty.  After much deliberation from the judges Isobel scooped the coveted Radio 2 Young Brass Award.  I felt as I drove home that the future of music was safe in the hands of these talented youngsters but for how long?