It’s all about that brass for Ballycarry woman Hannah

Hannah Copes performing with the European Youth Brass Band in France.  Pic by Ian Clowes.  INLT 20-650-CON
Hannah Copes performing with the European Youth Brass Band in France. Pic by Ian Clowes. INLT 20-650-CON

A Ballycarry woman has spoken of her pride after she was selected to be NI’s sole representative in the 2016 European Youth Brass Band.

Hannah Copes was one of 36 talented young musicians from across Europe who were chosen to represent 12 different countries at a residential seminar in Lille, France, as part of the European Festival of Brass 2016.

This was the 14th formation of the band, which is created from Europe’s young talented brass and percussion players, coming together as representatives of their home countries.

The residential seminar involves rehearsals, training and public performances at high profile events, including the opening ceremony in Lille Opera House.

Hannah, who is currently studying for her final year as a music student at Queen’s University Belfast, told the Times she was “thrilled” to be selected for the prestigious ensemble.

“I was the only person from the island of Ireland to be chosen this year, which made it even more special,” she added.

“It was an amazing experience, one which I will remember for the rest of my life. We even got a standing ovation at one of our performances, which was an incredible feeling.”

Hannah has every intention of continuing her passion for music once she has completed her university course, and hopes to teach piano and brass peripatetically after she graduates.

The 21-year-old is principal cornet player in Downshire Brass Band, one of the leading bands of its kind in the province.

She added: “The band put my name forward for the European Youth Brass Band, but I never in a million years expected to be selected. It was a huge honour and a fantastic opportunity.”

Founded by the European Brass Band Association in 2000, the aims of the band are to bring together talented young musicians from all the EBBA member countries.

The residential seminar enables the sharing of experiences and ideas, the forging of international friendships, mentoring and guidance by high-profile guest conductors and performance opportunities at key events as part of the European Brass Band Championship series of events.