|Name of walk||Winter Banding 2019|
|Date of walk||2019-12-26|
Nearly three years ago, when I retired from teaching, I decided that I needed a new challenge. I’d always thought that being able to play in a brass band would be both interesting and rewarding, but I’d never even held a brass instrument, let alone played one, and couldn’t even read music! Details! I have always enjoyed listening to trumpet players, so I decided to learn to play the cornet. I sourced a professional brass teacher (Thank you, Cyril Stoneham!), bought a cheap student cornet and took lessons. A couple of months later I joined Ulverston Training Band, under the guidance of Gill Benjamin and Jeff Blenkarn, by-passing an apprenticeship on 3rd and 2nd cornet and going straight to playing 1st cornet. Just over a year ago I started playing with the South Cumbria Brass Band as 3rd cornet. A steep learning curve! This Christmas I have played with five brass bands playing the second cornet parts for Christmas Carols. I’m actually not a lover of Carols, but they are at my current sight-reading level! So it’s all good practise! 🙂 The following photos cover all the band events from September onwards.
Playing with the South Cumbria Brass Band for 'Battle of Britain Day' at The Royal British Legion.
All set up waiting for the parade from the cenotaph to arrive when we would play 'Dam Busters' and the 'RAF March Past'.
View from my music stand.
Back row cornets, Clarry, Alan, Billy and me.
Banished from my house by son, Tom, to practice my cornet pieces in the summerhouse! He's obviously not a music lover!
My first gig with Dalton Town Band. It was quite appropriate that it was at St. James Church, where I'm a bell ringer. A more traditional uniform than the South Cumbria Brass Band! I love the bow tie! My friend Leigh from Virginia commented on Facebook that "If it weren't for that trumpet I'd think you were ready to park my car." Cheek!....Plus it's a CORNET!!!! ;-)
Ernie and me. I persuaded him to join the SCBB and he got his own back by persuading me to go to Dalton practices. Next minute I have a uniform!
The band setting up in the choir.
View from my music stand. I love easy Carols!
The South Cumbria Brass band played at Ulverston's Coronation Hall this morning, for the Sustainability Event. At the end Ian, our conductor, informed the audience "if you've liked what we played, we are the South Cumbria Brass Band. If you didn't we are Ulverston Town Band!" Ha! That'll teach them for referring to us as the 'Old Farts'!
View from behind my vacant seat.
Playing on a lovely sunny afternoon with the South Cumbria Brass Band at St. Mary's Church, Walney Island, for a concert in aid of the Lifeboats.
The service was taken by Rev Martin Williams.
The cornets warming up.
Bill looks like he's snoozing!
We were helped out by three members of Barrow Steelworks Band on 2nd and 3rd cornets.
The church begins to fill up.
Alf, our drummer, always quiet and unassuming, sat at the back. I always seem to miss him off the photos, or get him in, but tiny or half obscured. So he is well deserving of an individual portrait!
View from my 'Music' stand.
Brendan takes the rest of the photos on his mobile.
Dennis doing an obviously well practised impression of a drunken trombonist for the introduction to 'Fairytale of New York'.
The trombones and basses need plenty of room, so no pews for them.
You have to play sideways sitting in the pews. Poor Barry had to read the music looking over my shoulder!
Playing for a Carol Concert with Dalton Town Band tonight at St. Mary's Church, Dalton. Conductor, Mark Latimer took the photo.
The band set up in the side chapel.
Bought myself a 'mute stand' as an early Christmas pressie, and discovered how to put the 'fun' into my cornet playing! I can practise taking 'lip slurring' to a whole new level!
Playing with the South Cumbria Brass Band at Abbey Meadow Care Home, where George, 88 years young and the band`s euphonium player, now resides. He played with us too. Amazingly, all other band members managed to make their escape at the end!
View from my music stand.
I have no music for 'Keep Smiling Through', so I use this opportunity to take some photos of the band playing. Ian conducting. We played mostly Christmas Carols and some Glenn Miller stuff.
George on the end.
Oopps! A slight focusing problem! George and his euphonium.
Played for the Mayor's Concert on Friday night at St. Mary's, Dalton. Getting ready in the choir.
Barely controlled exuberance!
Nearly ready to start.
View from my music stand. Never seen the music to 'Delilah' before this moment. Thankfully it was in C, in 3/8 and not fast, so I managed.
Standing next to Dalton Town Band's Christmas tree entry for the Tree Festival, and a sousaphone. Photo taken by Ernie on his mobile.
The sousaphone. I don't think I'd like to play an instrument that's bigger than me!
The tree decorated by St. Mary's bell ringers.
There are 50 Christmas trees in the church, each one raising money for a different charity or worthy cause.
Playing with the South Cumbria Brass Band at the Coronation Hall, Ulverston, for their Christmas Craft Fair.
View from my music stand.
With the excuse of needing to take a few photos, I could conveniently avoid playing 'Savoy Christmas' with its 9 key changes! I'm not as stupid as I look! The cornet section taken from among the throng of people in the hall.
I found a bit of height for this one!
All the cornets, sans moi!
Baritone, basses and even Alf the drummer, has sneaked into shot.
The South Cumbria Brass Band's Christmas lunch, held at The Old Mill on the Coast Road.
Playing Carols in Asda on Friday evening with Dalton Town Band. 'Twas a bit nippy, as we were by the main doors. Gloves needed for next Friday night when we repeat this. Dalton also like to play some of the more obscure Carols, ones I've never even heard, let alone played! Derek took this photo.
I take my turn with the collecting tin.
The Ulverston Training Band played at 'Carols at the Coro'. Martin and me, the 1st cornets. The band is a mixture of adults and young players, which is why we had to drop the word 'Junior' from the name. It is still on our band sweat shirts though! Photos taken by Anneka's mum.
Gill conducts the Ulverston Training Band. I have no idea where Gill gets her unending patience, dealing with noisy kids armed with brass instruments, during band practices! We manage to get through all seven of our pieces.....minus a couple of top 'F's in the last two tunes....o'er no lip left! Jeff manages to seamlessly change from playing 2nd cornet to backing up the 1sts.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Ulverston on the right. Some of the youngsters have totally disappeared behind their music stands!
A packed Coronation Hall, and that goes for the upstairs Balcony too. (NWMail)
The Training Band join in to play with the Ulverston Town Band at the end of their first set. Martin and I get to sit with the front row cornets playing the 1st cornet part. Wow! I can actually see the conductor! Normally, as a back row cornet, I just see a disembodied head bobbing about, and the occasional flailing arm! (NWMail)
Sam's Mum captures this from the audience as we take our bow.
View from my music stand at St. George's Carol Service with Dalton Town Band. We'd more cornets than hot dinners!
Played in Morrison's Supermarket on Monday from 11-1pm with the Holborn Hill Royal Brass Band. I played with them twice last year and enjoyed it. They stick to the Traditional Carols. My Tower Captain at St. James, Andy Pollock (AP), was in the store and took a few of the photos, and Brendan took the others.
(AP) Left click to enlarge, click again to return.
View from my music stand.
I wore my Dalton uniform, it's a bit more Christmassy than the SCBB's. (AP)
Me and Anne the flugelhorn player. (AP)
Another 2hr session at Morrisons that evening, this time with Dalton Town Band. 4 hours in one day....I'm not addicted to playing Christmas Carols.....honest!
Playing on Christmas Eve with Dalton Town Band at the Market Place in Dalton. Now I remember why I don't play outside in winter, as even with gloves a metal instrument means freezing fingers! It is awkward manipulating valves in gloves too!
Unfortunately I also discovered my new music stand isn't very tall, and in order to see the music in the dark with my head torch I had to point my cornet towards the ground. Not a good playing position! Apologies for the bum notes! I need a lyre! Also, every time I looked up my head torch ended up blinding someone!
Fellow bell ringer, Sue Fryer, took this photo. Her husband Derek was the board manipulator for the Nativity scene. It was good to meet up with other fellow bell ringers Geoff, Karl and Rachel too!
My other band, the St. James' bell ringers, ringing for the Christmas Carol Service.
Myself and Santa wish you all a Merry Christmas! (Photo taken by Ernie.)
View from my music stand at a concert in January at Flookburgh Village Hall.
The South Cumbria Brass Band minus the back row cornets. This was our first concert with our new banners. Left click to enlarge, click again to return.
The usual suspects indulging.....but this time at least it's cake not beer! ;-)
Learning to play the cornet and read music, at my age, has involved a lot of hard work, and I still have a long way to go: deciphering syncopated and complex rhythms, remembering what Key I’m in, and attempting to compensate for the fact that I can’t move the tuning sliders on my cheap student cornet, so notes below the stave always sound out of tune…..never ideal for a 3rd cornet player! Apologies to Keith and Hugh, who sit in front of me in the SCBB, and have had to put up with all the bum notes and miss-pitching! Thanks to Billy and Helen the 2nd cornets, always willing to help me out, and to Ian, the conductor, for understanding that Rome wasn’t built in a day! To the rest of the band, thanks for your company, I’ve had a lot of fun! I just hope that Mark Latimer realises what he has let himself in for! 🙂
Onwards and upwards…..
P.S. I plan to invest in a brand new cornet in the New Year! A good one with slider triggers! 🙂 I can hear the sighs of relief from here! Then I just need to work out how to use them.