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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 May, 2003, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
Tuba player is Euro champ
Gavin Saynor with tuba
Gavin's playing was described as "awesome"

A young tuba player from Wales has become the best brass soloist in Europe after winning the accolade at the European Championship in Norway.

Gavin Saynor, 26, from Bangor won the title and £2,100 at the 2003 European Brass Band Championships in Bergen last weekend.

On a night of double celebration, his band, the Yorkshire Building Society Brass Band, were also hailed winners of the championship for the fifth year running.

Gavin, who was first asked to join the band five years ago while studying at university in Manchester, makes the 270-mile round trip to rehearsals twice a week.

They faced stiff opposition from eleven other bands from nine different European countries.

Despite the pressure, he set his stall out and played to the best if his ability - everyone knew he could do it
Richard Hirst, band manager

Gavin's triumphant solo playing during the Yorkshire band's performance of Concerto Grosso was described as "simply awesome" and helped them win the top prize.

But it was back to normal this week for the peripatetic music teacher as he arrived at Menai Bridge Brass Band hall for rehearsals.

As well as his day-to-day job and own band rehearsals, Gavin also conducts the Menai Bridge and Llanrug brass bands.

"There were other great players there besides me," he says modestly.

"It is a great honour.

"The band that came second, the Cory band from south Wales had a fantastic soloist so it was quite a shock."

Tears

Gavin's band manager, Richard Hirst, lavished praise on the young player who was asked to rejoin the invitation-only band in January after an absence of two years.

"It's an absolutely fantastic achievement, especially for a tuba player as it is not usually considered a solo instrument.

"He had tears in his eyes when he won.

"Everyone in the band is absolutely made up for him.

"Despite the pressure, he set his stall out and played to the best if his ability - everyone knew he could do it," he said.

The Yorkshire Building Society Brass Band was founded at the turn of the last century and was originally attached to the area's textile mills.

He deserves the recognition. It was a popular decision and everyone is very proud of him
Chris Williams, friend

They have held the European Championship title for seven out of the last eight years.

Gavin first became involved while studying for a Band Musicianship degree at Salford University.

He now works for the Williams Matthias School Services which provides instrumental music services to Gwynedd, Môn and Denbigh councils.

His family are from Deiniolen, a village with a long history of producing brass and silver instrumentalists, where they are also active with the local band.

Gavin's friend and co-conductor at Menai Bridge, Chris Williams, said: "It is a big achievement.

"He is a good mate and a very good soloist.

"He deserves the recognition. It was a popular decision and everyone is very proud of him."




SEE ALSO:
Musician triumphs over adversity with award
04 Mar 03  |  Entertainment


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