Flowers and Music
At this point, I think that the kind people of Freckleton are just used to us turning up and playing some tunes in random places around the village!
Once again, Freckleton Band have started small group rehearsals outside and we're really enjoying it!
I will admit that I was a little apprehensive at first, as I currently feel like I have the social skills of a caveman that needs to be reintroduced slowly into society.
I also worried that my playing wouldn't be quite up to scratch, although that is a work in progress, which you'll know about if you checked out my latest launch - InstruMental.
However, it felt like no time had passed, as I settled back into banding life with the other members of Team Freck - it was really lovely.
Thursday - Amazing Grace under a blossom tree
I'll tell you something, having a laugh and playing music whilst surrounded by flowers and nature in a park does wonders for your serotonin levels.
We situated ourselves under a cluster of blossom trees and it was all very beautiful, until the midges came out and I feared I was going to become an all-you-can-eat bug buffet.
Furthermore, when we started playing the 'Floral Dance' , ironically, it became clear that I had forgotten to take my hayfever tablet, which resulted in me looking as if the jaunty concert favourite had moved me to tears.
Did I mind?
Not a smidge - I was having too much fun!
There was a moment that did actually nearly move me to tears and that was when our group played 'Amazing Grace'.
As the only Bb Cornet, I opened with a little solo rendition of the tune, which echoed around the tranquil par before the group joined me.
Piece by piece, we rose into this glorious forte chord that made my stomach flip with excitement and I had to blink quickly to prevent any more mascara from falling down my face.
After being deprived of playing with other musicians, you can the imagine the soaring feeling I had as our sounds blended together during this beautiful hymn in such lovely surroundings - music is magic, especially when shared with friends.
It was all going wonderfully until we realised that the back row cornets were supposed to take over the tune...and none of us had the part, so we were treated to a lovely, yet unintentional solo performance of the countermelody from the baritone for a little bit, which was lovely but rather funny.
Did I play perfectly?
Nope, there were some notes played that made me sound like I was playing a jazz interpretation, stamina practice is very much in order and there are areas of my technique that need work.
However, I cannot express how happy that first rehearsal made me feel and it provided that incredibly overdue dose of music that I have been craving.
Conveniently, our return to band happened shortly after the pubs were allowed to open, so a few of us ventured to the local for a post-rehearsal pint.
I sat there in the beer garden with a few of my bandmates, my first proper pint of 2021 in my hand, a full heart and an uplifted soul after an enjoyable evening of laughter and music.
I'd like to say I'm done with the cheesy, soppiness but I'm not - apologies!
Monday - First Solo and duet performance of 2021
I enjoyed that first rehearsal back, so I wasted no time signing up for another slot on Monday evening.
Once again, our group collected our chairs, music pads and stands and headed off to the park.
After settling ourselves under the blossom trees again, we started with a few marches to dust the cobwebs off, including one of my all-time favourites, 'Army of the Nile'.
I'm lucky that I get to go to band with my other half ( who plays Soprano) and there happened to be an arrangement of the 'Flower Duet' for Bb and Soprano cornet - so we decided to give that a bash, which was fun!
There seems to be a floral theme going on doesn't there?
I suppose it is fitting considering Freckleton is the village of music and flowers - we just made it literal by playing floral-themed pieces of music in a park full of flowers.
We had a copy of 'Londonderry Air' sitting in the pads, which was arranged as a cornet solo, so it was suggested that I give it a go - my first solo performance of 2021.
This was a moment where my eyes were a little bit sweaty and it wasn't just due to hayfever.
As I played, the panic that I initially felt about the top A's and whether I could provide vibrato without dropping off the notes or being out of tune, subsided and I just enjoyed being in the moment.
For a brief, glorious instant, it was like the pandemic didn't exist - I wasn't worrying about statistics, lockdowns or what may happen next, I was just living from note to note, from phrase to phrase.
The time passed too quickly and before we knew it, it was the end of the rehearsal and once again, my serotonin tank was filled.
Don't get me wrong, I still get wobbly when I am around a group of people, even though I enjoy spending time with them - I think my social anxiety will be here to stay for a bit until I get used to our new found freedom.
However, two-ish hours playing in a little park with some of my musical friends has given me so much confidence and motivation.
I just truly hope that we are on the path to normal rehearsals, because if this is how the small group rehearsals make me feel, I cannot wait to get back to full band rehearsals!
A big thank you
I am so incredibly lucky to have been given both doses of the vaccine.
Without this, I would have been far too nervous to go to band rehearsals, even though they are outside.
I would just like to say thank you to all the members of our banding community who work for the NHS, you are amazing and I am so grateful for you.
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