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How You Know It’s Christmas in the Banding World.

Carol Jobs

Labour clubs, churches, town centres, parades, freezing your knackers off in the foyer of a Sainsbury’s on your twelfth rendition of Rudolph- it’s definitely Christmas.

Mince Pies during the interval of EVERY gig.

By December 20th, you’re sick of the sight of them!

Not all versions of Jingle Bells are created Equal.

There’s the concert version, which is basically the festive version of the floral dance, which no cornet section can get in time at the beginning. I’ve played it in third, first and championship section and all have struggled…maybe it’s just because I was playing in those bands, we’ll never know.

Then there is the carol book version- the only piece in which you don’t want to play the tune. If I’m on the backrow part, you will hear it from Lapland- bloody love it! You know the part. You’re singing it in your head right now. Sorry about that…

Concert version

(they do get it in time at the beginning…but we can’t all be Foden’s)

Jingle Bells with infamous counter-melody


Watching everybody’s fingers when the key changes to a million accidentals- miming, miming everywhere. I’m allowed to joke, I am one of those people who panics at the key change. Also, anybody else feel like they’ve pulled a muscle in their hand after all those tremolos? Are they really necessary?

Supermarket Carolling- choosing pieces out of the carol book that nobody knows.

We blast out Joy to the World and it sounds confident and professional. Then some muppet suggests we sight-read something we haven’t played before, like Winter Wonderland (which doesn’t start the same as the one played on the radio) and suddenly everybody starts dropping off, you’ve got missing notes, wrong notes, people coming in wrong, people getting the giggles (usually me) and you have to sack it off halfway through the rendition or just play it through once before reverting back to Rudolph, Jingle Bells and Away in a Manger- the ol’ reliables.

This might just be me, but when I have to play at carol services, I do lose it a few times when listening to the audience. From not being sure when to come in, trying to pitch their voices with the band, singing out of time with the band or when the gentlemen realise they’ve started too high and have to change octave mid- verse, I’m just in a permanent state of the giggles. It’s even worse when members of the band decide to join in, obviously in a totally professional and in no way silly manner…

Raffles are common in the brass band world. We love a raffle. But at Christmas, they’re everywhere. You can take part in one every weekend. If you’re short of a few gifts for acquaintances or people you’re not that fond of, go to loads of brass band concerts at Christmas, there are enough raffles to pick up gifts for the entire family.

You start thinking of all-week rehearsals and sectionals…*wraps tinsel around head and sticks fingers in ears, whilst yelling ‘fa la la la faaarrr too early!!!

And you start singing your part to the brass band version…this isn’t just me right?

Tis the season we infiltrate on the outside world. Tesco’s, town squares, shopping centres, nowhere is safe! It does warm my heart a little to walk around a supermarket whilst there is a brass band playing…partly because I’m walking around in the warm instead of in the foyer, but mostly because it’s great to see our movement dotted about in normal everyday life. I think it equates to what Dumbledore feels when he sees other wizards wandering around in the muggle world.

Out and about this christmas?

Use the hashtag #itsnotatrumpetchristmas with your christmassy band photos to get featured on the blog’s social media!

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