Pupil riffs with epic rockers Marillion

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British band Marillion made a rocker’s dream come true when an Arbroath musician was invited to play on stage with them in Holland.

Ross Holder (17) entered the ‘Swap the Band’ competition to jam with the international stars by sending a YouTube clip of him performing one of their songs.

He was plucked from thousands of entries and flew, with his family, to play live with the band during their Marillion Weekend in Port Zelande, Holland.

“About five months after entering the competition I had sort of forgotten about it, assuming they had picked someone else.

“I couldn’t believe it when I got the email. They are my Dad’s favourite band and I have been brought up listening to them.

“It is pretty much a dream come true.”

Despite playing the guitar since he was seven years old, Ross has not performed in front of an audience before.

He said: “I was nervous and excited just to be able to perform with the band and in front of that many people.

“I was eager to get out there and experience it and once I got onto the stage the nerves dropped away and I really got into it.”

Ross was ‘swapped in’ for guitarist Steve Rothery and performed ‘Splintering Heart’.

Marillion, known for hits such as ‘Kayleigh’ and ‘Ocean Cloud’ embraced their stage: “They were really supportive and really nice about it,” Ross said. “I had practised with them before the show and they said ‘you nailed it in rehearsal you’ll be fine’ which was a real confidence boost.”

Ross’ dad Gordon, also a fan of Marillion was overjoyed to watch his son on stage. He said: “We went as a family, my wife Evonne and Ross’ two sisters. It was definitely a proud father moment and a great experience for the whole family as we all have an interest in the band.”

A pupil at Arbroath High School, Ross also gives lessons to people in the area and hopes to one day make a career from music.