So after thunderstorms and heavy rain on Saturday, I was worried that we may not have a good turnout for our summer concert today, but the sun was shining for us and the village hall was …(almost?) full. Everyone seemed in good spirits as I arrived, having gone to pick up “Big H”, that’s Henry, who plays for Michelmersh Silver Band and was kindly helping us out in the bass section.
With the stage set and a few other deps helping out we got up on stage. As usual it’s hot up there, especially with the stage lighting. We did have a little more room today though as unfortunately we were without our percussionists.
It was a nice surprise to see Paul Kennett depping for us on 1st baritone as I played in the Hampshire Youth County Bands with him from age 9-18 & my Bach Stradivarius trumpet I got for my 10th Christmas present was from his Dad’s music shop in Alton (many years ago!) Poor Fred (usually on 1st baritone) has had to duck out as his son has appendicitis and is recovering from surgery. We all wish him a speedy recovery.
The concert began with Intrada on Regent Square and The Magic Flute followed. Melvin seemed pleasantly surprised with our standard of playing and concentration.
The first half of the concert continued and included 2 wonderful solos. The first from our principal cornet player, Sonja who played a beautiful rendition of Morricone’s Cinema Paradiso, and Amelia who played Eyes of a Child, the beautiful solo she played at the SCABA contest recently – winning the prize for Best Soloist! Both solos captivated the audience. I was thinking if I can do half as good I’ll be pleased (my solo was coming up in the 2nd half)!
We finished the first half with highlights from Frozen … unfortunately for Melvin his young daughter wasn’t there to sing along “Let it Go! Let it Go!”. There are some tricky little bits in this piece but I think we played and listened really well today. I’m pleased to say that chatting to the audience during the interval – between cups of tea and delicious looking cakes (included in the ticket price) – the audience seemed to agree with me. They loved the programme so far and especially enjoyed the solos.
After the tea and cake were consumed and our kind volunteers had helped in the kitchen and with the raffle draw, we were set for the second half. My solo was up after the first piece and I was determined not to let the nerves get the better of me!
We couldn’t really hear what Melvin was saying and I got quite relaxed in my chair, when suddenly it was my turn to stand up. As I took the stand from Jeremy, our dep soprano player, the music flew off the stand and down onto the village hall floor. A kind member of the audience retrieved my music and the band began. A lovely introduction to my solo, An Untold Story. I stood at the edge of the stage (don’t look down!) and I wanted to play well on my quite new, still very shiny, Yamaha Neo tenor horn (a lovely gift from my husband for our forthcoming silver wedding anniversary). I was lucky enough to take part in a workshop recently with Arfon Owen, (ex-Black Dyke Solo Horn player and very talented musician) organised by Basingstoke Silver Band. During the break he allowed me to try his Yamaha Neo, and the rest is history, as they say! Up until a few years ago I was always a trumpet/cornet player, but I’m really enjoying the tenor horn and hope I continue to improve (and strengthen those lungs!). I had only been given this solo a few weeks’ prior to the concert and had never seen or heard it, so have been listening to it on YouTube a lot over the past few weeks.
Getting back to the concert, we then played The Wizard of Oz which I love as it’s a family tradition to watch this film every Christmas Day (it’s not Christmas without Dorothy & those munchkins!). This was followed by the entertaining Ian with Eb bass solo Teddy Bears’ Picnic.
Remember the film Beaches? Well, our final solo was destined to be superb. Nick played The Wind Beneath my Wings on trombone. Nick always makes his playing look effortless. He is a great new addition to the band and I look forward to many more of his solos!
Unfortunately due to no percussion we had to make a few adjustments to the programme, but our audience were very understanding and enjoyed the addition of Yesterday.
All in all, despite a few regular players missing (for good reasons: One player on honeymoon – congratulations from us all – and our 1st horn player Dawn was racing a car at speeds of 120mph+ at Thruxton!) the atmosphere was great, and we are very grateful and thankful to all the deps that played today: Mark on soprano cornet, Elizabeth on 1st horn, Paul on 1st baritone and Henry on Bb bass.
Also thanks go to band members who brought along helpers to ensure everything ran smoothly and of course to those helpers and to the Otterbourne community for their support.
If you enjoyed the concert today, please tell your friends and bring them along to the next concert!
Article by Berni Ralph