The countrywide search for the a title-holder may not have ended in Midlothian, but Ben Keay was ‘thrilled and grateful’ to have been in the running for the 2017 recent Rotary Britain and Ireland (RIBI) Young Musician of the Year nomination.
“Of course I was disappointed not to be selected, but I could never have gone so far without the sponsorship and support of Rotary. I thank it most sincerely for that. It was a wonderful experience,” said Ben.
The journey for the St David’s High School student started in January in the show for gifted teens run annually by the Rotary Club of Dalkeith in a partnership with the education service and local restaurateur Tony Crolla.
Judges on his initial appearance loved Ben’s rendering of the first movement pf the Vaughn Williams Tuba Concerto, to which he added the second movement of Edward Gregson’s Tuba Concerto in his final presentation. The accompanist was Mathew Brown.
Of the easy-going six footer, a brass player since he was 11 and also keen on athletics, Rotary president Albert Jaster, who led a party of well-wishers from Scotland, quipped, tongue in cheek: “To us, he was head and shoulders above the others!”
Congratulating him on a personal triumph and for helping to keep Midlothian on the musical map, Mr Jaster added: “Ben’s achievement demonstrates only too clearly what a vast reservoir of talent is out there and for which we should be truly proud.”
The son of Lorna and David who have two other children, Josh (15) and Beth (9), Ben has received and accepted the offer of an unconditional scholarship to the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow, starting in September. – Alistair McNeill