Youthful injection for Virtuosi GUS

08 Apr 2015

Reproduced with the kind permission of Iwan Fox of

Fresh from their recent Midlands Regional Championship success, the Virtuosi GUS Band has announced the signing and further development of exciting young playing talent.

The moves come follows their victory at Bedworth, which marked a fond farewell for four long standing members; with percussionists Richard White and Clive Wearsm, third cornet player, Graham ‘Lofty’ Smith and second baritone Rob Mason leaving on a winning high.

Band Chairman, Nigel Love told 4BR: “Between them they have amassed over 60 years of service and we are very grateful for all their hard work and dedication. We wish them all well for the future.”

It has meant the band has been able to introduce a trio of new and exciting playing talent, with 16 year old Siobhan Bates coming in on first horn, having just reached the semi-finalist stage of the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Award.

Meanwhile, Bethan Brown joins on second baritone after gaining the principal baritone role at the Easter course of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, with Ben Smith joining the percussion section.

The signings certainly bring the average age of the band down, as they now join 18 year old Thomas Fountain, who has just followed in his brother’s footsteps to become principal cornet of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.

Thomas is also preparing to take up a scholarship to study trumpet at the Royal Academy of Music this September, whilst James is the featured soloist on this year’s course.

Also enjoying working under the baton of Bramwell Tovey in Harrogate at the moment is soprano cornet Jack Wilson, who made such an impression on judges and critics alike with his contribution to the band’s Area win.

Nigel Love added: “These are exciting times for the band. We said goodbye to some great friends and now welcome exciting new blood into our fold.

The progress our players are making on the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and further afield makes us all extremely proud.”