Strange though it may seem, brass bands and government departments are similar in one respect: there’s quite a time gap between planning and delivery. Last December, when the theme of our Fringe concert was being discussed, “Just Add Water” seemed inspirational. Catchy title, loads of appropriate music … what more could we ask. Then came the worst floods in living memory.
Fortunately, they didn’t put a dampener on our performance, despite the sudden appearance of a small iceberg in the middle of the Titanic Suite. Unlike the liner, the band quickly recovered, and the rest of the afternoon was a disaster free zone. Even our homage to silent cinema went without a hitch, and Bambi survived both the Little April Showers and a raging storm, thanks to Chris’s IT skills and Peter’s precision conducting.
Rivers, of course, played an important role. Handel originally wrote his Water Music to be performed on barges floating down the Thames, boatmen must have belted out their song sailing down the Volga and we won’t be liable for false advertising in the title of the “Blue” (actually grey) Danube. Also, there don’t seem to be any rivers on the Moon, but it’s a beautiful song.
The sea and Royal Navy were well represented. Steve Packer, as usual, managed to fit more notes than would have seemed possible into his Rule Britannia solo, Chris Brockhouse showed us how melodic a tenor horn can be in the Japanese traditional Song of the Sea and Julie Dorey’s cornet in On Trevone Bay was as sweet toned and sensitive as always.
Styles of music varied too, from classical (Water Music and Ralph Vaughan William’s Sea Songs), popular melodies (Yellow Submarine and Carolyn‘s captivating solo in the wistful Rainy Days and Mondays) and full-on jazzy numbers (Down to the River and Wade in the Water). We even managed to fit in water in its solid state (Let it Go from Frozen).
A bouncy march (On the Quarter Deck) is always appreciated by a brass band audience – but what could surpass our encore? John Howarth’s arrangement of ‘Ol Man River has everything, including a couple of crazy drum breaks – and is played at torrential speed. It was a real test for everyone involved and the audience responded with rapturous applause.
Many thanks to our helpers – John Nicholson on cornet, Stephen Millar and Andrew Parkinson on trombone and Ryan Matulick on percussion. Thanks, also, to Kaylene and Rosanna who made sure that refreshments were available in the interval and to Sue, our always informative and entertaining compere.
A warm welcome to new members – Molly Sweeny on cornet, David Gaskin on trombone and Binh Le on bass trombone. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to two long serving, loyal band members – John Hewson and Bob Bastin. We will miss you, but hope to catch up at concerts and any time you feel like joining in a rehearsal.