When there are restrictions on your favourite pastime due to government Covid guidelines, it makes it doubly hard to cope with lockdown rules. There is no doubt that our weekly rehearsals and summer concerts contributed to a healthy mind and soul, helping many of us to unwind after a hard week of work.
While a number of the band were able to meet up and play in small outdoor 5 piece groups, for many of us there was nothing to do but look back on previous concerts and practice at home (or not) whilst wistfully looking forward to the day we could get back to banding.
I am pleased to say that day finally arrived after a period of over 8 months, Cranbrook Town Band were able to get back to making music thanks to the kind support of Fr Rodney Dreyer and St. Laurence Church.
Following the slight relaxation of Lockdown rules and carefully following latest government and Brass Band England guidelines for rehearsals, the band led by conductor Ian Lanceley were able to meet the requirements for social distancing (no small order for a band of 30 players) by making use of the South Wing of the church, approximately 1 mile away from their normal rehearsal venue at Hawkhurst Primary School.
The band were graciously welcomed by Father Rodney on their first rehearsal and it wasn’t long before the familiar sound of an English brass band filled the church and surrounding area.
While we were delighted to be back together again, we sadly missed two regulars who had been with the band for more than 30 years. The retirement of Robin Traves and Dave Pettifer during the lockdown period meant we didn’t get to say a proper goodbye.
Robin played Baritone and Bass during his time with the band and had conducted the training band from its inception in the mid 1990’s until the lockdown, and Dave who had been a stalwart on the backrow playing Repiano Cornet will both be sadly missed. We hope to catch up with them at some future concert.
On a happier note we welcome two new players, Olau and Imogen who join us in the Euphonium and Baritone sections.
Hopefully with regular rehearsals up and running again, it wont be too long before lips are back to full resilience and we are able to perform outdoor concerts. We have some fantastic solos and new pieces on which we are working very hard. We hope to perfect them over the next few weeks ready for a potential public concert at Tonbridge Castle in July (Or as soon as restrictions are eased enough to make the logistics of putting on a concert possible).
To celebrate our return, here are a few snippets from the last couple of rehearsals.