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Pa! Na!’s, Sticky Valves, Grumpy Cows and Triangles- Banding Update

I know the title may make you think that I’ve finally lost it, but all shall become clear…and I lost it a long time ago so it’s not worth worrying about now.

I’m working on a couple of features and themed articles at the moment (watch this space) but seen as this week I didn’t have anything in particular planned to write about, I’d just thought I’d take the time to talk about banding life at the moment really. Just a little catch up like you do when you go and visit your Nan except I’ll avoid the conversations that involve me moaning about people, complaining about family or my current relationship status- you are welcome.

Grumpy Cow and Triangles

So I’ve been back in banding with the Eccles Borough Band for around two months now and I’m loving it. I’ve got one major contest under my belt, I’m working towards an exciting concert in two weeks, preparing for the Spring Festival and I get to play triangle in rehearsal- happy days!

I’ll be honest I’ve expected Rome to be built in a day regarding my playing. As soon as I sat back in that seat I expected the stamina, technicality and skill I had when I last sat there to all magically return, but when you’ve not played or even practised properly for over a year, that doesn’t just come back overnight. So I had a little rant about my frustrations to my Mother on the way home from band and after a deep and thorough discussion we came to the conclusion that I am stupid. I’m just being a negative Nelly- everybody has to be good at something and I am exceptionally good at being a grumpy cow, especially with myself.

The reality is (when I’ve not got steam coming out of my ears when I split a note) things are getting better with each rehearsal. In my last rehearsal I decided to take my own advice and make an effort to write on my parts the sections that need work and mentally pat myself on the back for the sections or pieces that went well and do you know what? I left rehearsal in a pleasant and productive mood and was no longer a grumpy cow…well until I had to get up for work the following morning, but you can’t have everything.

Spring Festival

As is the case with many bands at the moment we are looking towards the Spring Festival (one simply cannot have too many trips to Blackpool…). It feels bizarre working towards, what has always been, a spectator (read that as drinking) contest for me and all I’ve previously had to prepare is how I’m getting there and back, which bands I want to watch and remember to line my stomach…mind you that hasn’t really changed, I’ve just got the added preparation of learning the piece.

In terms of the piece, I really like it. Vinter has redeemed himself from Symphony of Marches…in my humble opinion…not that he would care for my opinion anyway. I’m not going to say too much on my thoughts about the piece as I’m currently in the middle of writing reviews for each of the Spring Festival pieces. Yes, I’m a geek, we are all aware of this fact. However I would avoid reading these reviews if you’re the type who enjoys serious musical analysis (I don’t know how you’ve ended up on my site if you are that type, you’re clearly new, but you have been warned). Put it this way, I’ve created a story line for Triumphant Rhapsody that involves Thomas the Tank Engine and a Disney Princess. If you’re looking for professionalism, other brass band websites are available…

Spring Concert

Question: What are you doing on the 6th April at 2:30pm?

Well if you have no plans, there is a FREE concert by the Eccles Borough Band at Eccles Town Hall…in Eccles, in case you’re unsure where that is.

But why should you attend? I’m glad you asked…

1) You can watch me attempt to play Children of Sanchez.

Will she manage to get every semi-quaver in the right place? God only knows.

Will she able to get through the entire piece without succumbing to the temptation of putting unnecessary grace notes, jazz lip bends or throwing all sorts of weird shapes whilst playing in order to look ‘artistic’ and ‘jazzy’? Absolutely not.

Will she trip on her way to the front of the band to play? Pretty much guaranteed.

2) A diverse programme of music.

One thing you are guaranteed with Eccles Borough is an interesting programme of music. We have Celtic singing, baritones playing various percussion instruments, classic brass band repertoire, there will literally be something on the programme for everyone.

3) Stunning solo contributions from our fabulous principal cornet and wonderfully talented Euphonium section.

I’ve heard them in rehearsal and you would have to be a looney to miss their performances- simply awesome playing.

4) My triangle playing debut.

A spectacle within itself and the point of the concert where my mother will probably walk out and deny that I am her child.

5) You will hear Copacabana as you’ve never heard it before.

The piece starts in an incredibly unique way, which you’ll have to watch to find out (if you’ve heard this arrangement before, our version still needs to be seen to be believed) but in a nutshell it includes myself and the horns having to shout the syllables Pa! and Na! and never again will you hear these syllables with such enthusiasm, we may enjoy this piece a little too much…

6) It’s on a Saturday Afternoon

So you’ve still got the evening to go clubbing, attend bingo, return to your knitting, catch up on corrie, walk the dog, ring your mother, practise… it’s a win win situation.

7) It’s FREE!

Need I say more?

So that’s pretty much it up to now. Coming up in the next month on It’s Not a Trumpet will be:

Spring Festival Previews

10 Questions With… a new top banding guest.

A new Young Star

and more banding antics!

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