In the spotlight...
Playing with the NYBBGB at the BBC Proms...
In the photo L to R are Elizabeth Tonge, Georgie Evans and Hannah Labus...
In the photo L to R are Elizabeth Tonge, Georgie Evans and Hannah Labus...

Hannah Labus, 17, is a member of the National Youth Brass Band.

On the 2012 easter course of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, we were told about an exciting venue that we would be performing in at the end of the summer course. At this point we could not be told what this venue was, but many ideas went across back and forth throughout the band, one of which being the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall. A month or so later, this was confirmed.

Between the courses, many other concerts and performances took place as a result of our upcoming concert at the Proms. These included playing live on BBC Radio 3 as part of the 2012 Proms Review and playing in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. These performances in themselves were inspirational to be a part of.
When our summer course began at the beginning of August, quickly began learning the repertoire which consisted of Blitz, Altitude, Wildfire, Chorale and Variations and a world premiere of Gavin Bryars’ After the Underworlds. This new piece was commissioned by the BBC especially for this performance by us and was a great privilege. This was helped greatly by the music staff. They included; Helen Williams, Glyn Williams, Mark Wilkinson, Martin Armstrong, Chris Stearn and Phil Goodwin.
A week later and we arrived at the Albert Hall for a rehearsal. This for most of the band was our first experience of playing in the Royal Albert Hall. It was amazing and very surreal. It was quite strange getting used to the very unique acoustic of the hall as there is nothing quite like it. We then left and came back the next day to perform in Prom 40 with the National Youth Wind Orchestra.

Waiting backstage, we got a little nervous and very excited knowing we would shortly be playing at such a prestigious event that most aim at doing at the top of their career!
We all wanted to do so well for ourselves and to give something back to our inspirational conductor and artistic director Bramwell Tovey who put so much work into getting it right.
Once out on the stage we were overwhelmed and thrilled to be there and seeing so many people in the audience was amazing and we played our best.

For everyone in the 80-strong band, this will be an experience we will never forget and we all feel so privileged to have been asked to do it. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at the BBC, all the music and house staff at NYBBGB, everyone behind the scenes at NYBBGB and the Proms team and of course not forgetting our incredible conductor Bramwell Tovey. Also well done to the NYWO for their brilliant playing!

Hannah Labus

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Hannah Lebus, BBC Proms 2012
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