Christmas has become the busiest time of the year for the Band, and this year was no exception, as we had no less than 5 separate engagements plus our own Christmas concert. Responsibility for conducting most of these fell upon Robert Wicks, as our conductor Claire Lawrence was herself very busy playing with RAF Central Band.
The season started on 3rd December with the annual Carol Service at Fairford Leys, a district of Aylesbury. On a typical dark and damp December evening the band set up under an arcade at one side of Hampden Square to accompany the carols. Then the following afternoon we went to the Plant Center at Waddesdon Manor where they were holding a Christmas market. This was held in one of the Plant Centre buildings, so we were reasonably warm and dry. Robert Wicks conducted the Band in a mix of Christmas music, such as White Christmas, Mary’s Boy Child, Sleigh Ride and Christmas Festival, the latter two both by Leroy Anderson.
The next weekend, on Sunday 11th December, the Band played at the annual Mayor’s Carol Service in St Mary’s Church, Aylesbury. Again conducted by Robert Wicks, we played several pieces of Christmas music to entertain the congregation before the arrival of the Mayor’s procession from the town, and then shared the accompaniment of Christmas carols with the organist.
The following weekend we had been invited to play in Wendover twice. The first occasion was in the evening of Friday 17th December, when we accompanied carol singing on the Manor Waste in Wendover High Street. The weather wasn’t anywhere near as cold as last year, instead it rained gently for a lot of the time. The band was sheltered by a gazebo, but the chairs put out for us were soaking wet, so we played standing instead. A good sized crowd of hardy souls stood out in the rain and sang Christmas carols for nearly an hour accompanied by the band. The following day we returned to the same spot to play carols alongside the Saturday Christmas market, and add atmosphere to the occasion. The day was a little chilly, but at least it was dry, with some glimpses of blue sky and some sunshine to cheer everyone up.
The busy weekend wasn’t over though, because the next day we held our own Christmas concert, but I’ll save that for another post.