Back in February the Band’s development weekend at Knuston Hall was cancelled at the last minute because of bad weather, much to everyone’s disappointment. As a consolation we organised a Development Day on 4th July at Ellesborough village hall, Butler’s Cross. Once again we were honoured to welcome Rob Wiffin as guest conductor, assisted by Music Director Duncan Stubbs. The day provided an opportunity for some intensive work on music harder and more advanced than our usual repertoire, including Invictus by Philip Sparke, and Armenian Dances by Alfred Reed. The point of the day was to stretch the Band, and Rob Wiffin certainly did that, setting off at the marked tempo whether we could play it or not – nothing like being chucked in the deep end! However, with Rob and Duncan’s expert instruction we came close to a passable performance when we played a concert to ourselves at the end of the day. The whole day was quite exhilarating, and undoubtedly achieved the aim of helping the Band improve.
The following Saturday, 11th July, dawned grey and showery, but brightened up in the afternoon in time for Fairford Leys Summer Fair. Members of the Band squeezed onto the bandstand to provide music for the occasion, in between the children’s fancy dress competition and sessions of entertainment for the children. The proceedings were enlivened this year by the pigeons nesting in the roof, who expressed their opinion of the band in the way only pigeons can, much to the chagrin of the 3rd clarinets and saxophones underneath! Fortunately most of their efforts succeeded only in hitting the music on the stand, maybe they just wanted to add extra notes?
That was our last performance of the season, summer holidays mean that a lot of the Band members are away during late July and August. The next engagement is the Vale Park Proms on 5th September.