June and July are the season for summer fêtes when, in a triumph of hope over experience, the English set forth into the open air to set up stalls and entertainments to raise money for local causes. This is despite the fact that this is England, where even two or three days before the event the best you can predict about the weather is a 50-50 chance that it will rain. Each year the Band is asked to play at two or three such events, such as the one in Cublington on 15th June. This takes place in the garden of a large house in the village, and it can be a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon playing music on a nice day.
This year the forecast was showers, but the sun was shining as the band arrived, though there were some dark clouds in the distance. A gazebo had been erected to protect the band from rain, but it was too small and another was found from somewhere so that most, though not all of the chairs were protected. Both our conductors (Claire Lawrence and Robert Wicks) were there, and they took turns playing while the other conducted. The first session went well, playing several pieces including the march Semper Fidelis, Soul Bossa Nova, and selections from My Fair Lady and Pirates of the Caribbean. But before the second session could begin a torrential downpour started, causing mayhem as the band deperately tried to protect music and instruments, and themselves, from the rain. Soon there was nothing for it but to admit defeat and trudge soggily back to the car park.
It’s such a shame for the organisers, they work for weeks to prepare for the event, and then have their efforts spoiled by the weather. Let’s hope they have better luck next year, certainly the Band will be ready to play again if we’re asked.