Wednesday, 13 February 2013

What Goes Around Comes Around.....

Well, thank you Robert for the introduction.  As I'm blogging this at work and about to dash off to another dull meeting, I'll make this a quick one (you'll be glad to hear!).

A very short summary of my banding history (it's all in the title of this post really).....was a starter member of the re-formed Manea Silver Band wayyyy back in 1982 (baritone, then euphonium).  Had a couple or three years conducting the band between David Wilson and Peter Cain (around the very early 1990s).  At the same time, I started playing for Littleport Brass Band (whom I still play euphonium for).  And, as of Monday 11 February 2013, am now proud to be the MD of Manea Silver Band.  I'm a Manea lad through and through; and, despite living in various places around Cambridgeshire over the years, have always considered Manea as home.

Anyways, that 9am meeting is looming; so, look forward (?!?) to a slightly more 'bandy' blog post later.  And if you're really lucky, I may even add in some appropriate pics  And remember, practise little and often...makes a world of difference :-)

Monday, 11 February 2013

Christmas, new year, new MD

A belated happy new year to all followers of Manea Silver Band. It's all been a bit quiet on the blog since October, which is the opposite of what the band has been up to!

Oktoberfest, the Harvest Festival and Remembrance Sunday all went very well and we suspect we played our largest programme of Christmas events for some years.

I always enjoy Christmas in brass bands, even if everyone eventually gets sick of Silent Night and Co. and starts asking for all the obscure carols in the book that nobody knows!

We started particularly early this year with the rather fun Dickensian-themed Benwick Christmas Market in November, where some of us went for the full urchin look, playing a selection of Victorian carols and selections from Oliver. Throughout December, we played for two church services, a mini-concert in Chatteris and went carolling in Manea, March and Wisbech.

I had always been meaning to try some of the lesser-played pieces from the red Salvation Army carol book and although rehearsals showed why some of them aren't played very regularly, I was pleased to add the not-bad versions of The Christmas Song and Holst's arrangement of Personent Hodie to our Christmas music repertoire, in addition to a few others that (being a bit of a Christmas carol geek) I rather suspect only I really liked!

Particular highlights to note were Linda and Nigel's rather haunting duet version of "Who is He?", an American carol I must admit I didn't know at all, and was all the better for being a spontaneous interpretation. Joseph, one of our Junior Band stars, also had his solo debut with his performance of Mary's Boy Child. We were also lucky to have a full complement of trombones to play Philip Sparke's lovely arrangement of White Christmas that I've been wanting to try for years. We played this as our final piece at the Manea carol service at St Nicholas's church, which rounded the season off spendidly. We didn't get a white Christmas though.

During the Christmas break, we advertised for a new musical director and I'm very pleased to announce that Shaun Pope has been elected to this position at today's AGM. So, this is my last post as caretaker conductor and watch this space for Shaun's new MD blog...