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Ten Banding Horrors

It may have been Halloween on Saturday, but if you're still looking for your spooky fix then this post should help to satisfy your creepy craving! There are many wonderful things about banding, but there are many aspects that can keep us up at night. Light your candles and maybe sit in a ring of salt for protection, as we delve into this list of 10 banding horrors...


Petrifying Practise of Christmas Music in October

2020 is the only year I will not be annoyed with people for starting Christmas ridiculously early. However, in normal circumstances, it is rather irritating playing Ding Dong Merrily on High in the middle of October. I'm all for efficiency and being prepared and believe me as soon as we approach the end of November, Slade and Michael Buble will be played pretty much every day, but October is for Ghosts and Ghouls not Rudolph and Jingle Bells.


Creepy Key Signatures

Five words: Malcolm Arnold's 'Four Scottish Dances'. That key change in the second movement jumps at you like Pennywise in IT. You're happily playing along when you're suddenly hit with a melody in the key of a million sharp major. Nothing makes sense, you're seating and you can hear alarm bells everywhere. I'd rather put up with the creepy clown than that terrifying key signature.


Woeful Weight Gain

I'm not looking forward to this terrifying experience after Covid has passed. I've not been in a proper band uniform since February, so I am slightly dreading trying to squeeze myself into my band trousers and shirt. I'll have to make sure I try my uniform on before my next band engagement, lest a button pings off my shirt and blinds somebody in the audience.


Spooky Sightreading

There have been times when I have experienced that eerie feeling that you're in the completely wrong place when sightreading a piece. Even more terrifying when you're sightreading during a gig and the band is approaching the end of the piece whilst you're in completely the wrong place. An entire page behind kind of wrong place.


Morbid Miscommunication

Speaking of dep gigs. There is nothing more terrifying than signing up to do a gig on a specific seat only to find out you're sitting somewhere completely different. Especially when you think you have one rehearsal to learn a second cornet part, which sounds fine, only to discover that the seat you're actually sitting on is 'second man down' (assistant principal) and you have 2 hours to figure out what you have to do - *SCREAMS*.


Frightening Forgotten Music

You definitely put all the music you need for the concert in your music pad. You absolutely, definitely placed it all on the stand on stage. It's the end of the concert and the conductor is smiling whilst telling the band to get the encore ready. Encore? It's at this point you realise that you certainly, absolutely, definitely forgot about the encore and are now going to have to busk your part for the Floral Dance and hope nobody notices.


Gruesome Gunk

Cleaning your instrument has been on your to-do list for longer than Dracula has been walking the earth. When you finally get round to it, the disgusting sludge that is pushed from the inner catacombs of your instrument looks like something you would scrape from the bottom of a putrid, rotten coffin. The germ build-up is enough to give Covid-19 nightmares.


Horrific Hangovers

One of the most horrendous banding ailments. As you chug that last jager bomb in the Galleon Bar at the Blackpool Winter Gardens, you start to think that you should have booked the Monday off work. You stumble your way back to the band bus, looking like a zombie with vertigo, blissfully unaware of the horror that is going to befall you (and most likely a bucket or the toilet bowl) in the morning.


Mortifying Mute Drops

There are many sounds that can shock the human soul. The wail of a banshee, the howl of a werewolf or a witch's cackle are enough to make anyone scream. However, for a bander, I think that few sounds can evoke as much terror as that of a mute dropped on the middle of a quiet part...whilst someone else is playing a solo. Just the thought of it is making my heart pound.


Villanous Viruses

Plagues are a common occurrence in scary stories, but who anticipated it actually coming true?! This year has not turned out the way any of us would have imagined. An organism that is so small it cannot be seen without a microscope, yet it has the power to take over the world! Its tyrannous reign has attempted to quash our music, but it has not succeeded. We may not be able to perform live yet, but we have been innovative and kept our music alive. There is no doubt we are living in scary times and it may feel like we are characters in a horror movie, but we will triumph over this viral menace!

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