June this year was the driest on record, and as the days passed the weather grew warmer and warmer, staying hot and sunny as June faded into July. As I write, some places in south east England have had no rain for 7 weeks, and the forecasters see very little change on the horizon. So on Saturday 7th July we plastered on sun cream and dug out our summer hats ready for our annual visit to Fairford Leys Summer Fair. We play on the bandstand in Hampden square, which affords some of the band some shade, but not for everyone.
This year was a little different from normal, as the date coincided with the England / Sweden football match in the 2018 World Cup, due to begin at 3.00pm. Our second session was brought forward to finish then, as the organisers had organised a large screen TV in the community centre to show the match. To get into the spirit of things conductor Rob Wicks had added Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home) and Rule Britannia to the programme.
In other respects this was a normal fête. In the first session we played West Side Story, A Grand Day Out, a selection from South Pacific, Caravan and music from the film Frozen. The second half opened with Strike Up the Band, then Disney at the Movies, A Walk in the Black Forest, the Muppet theme, and a selection from My Fair Lady, as well as Three Lions and Rule Britannia already mentioned.
One week later, on 14th July, the band was asked to play for a street party in Kingsbrook, a very new housing estate being built to the south east of Aylesbury. The builders were putting this on for the first new residents, and although intended to be a street party, for whatever reason it was moved to the car park of the nearby pub The Dog House. The gravel car park wasn’t the ideal place for the event, but they had laid on a burger bar, free soft drinks and ice creams (the pub was open for anything stronger), and face painting and a balloon modeller to entertain the children. And Aylesbury Concert Band to provide music!
Again the day was hot and sunny, but we were sheltered by a wide gazebo. We played a very similar programme to Fairford Leys the week before. England were involved in a World Cup match again, but this time it was the third-place play-off against Belgium so there was considerably less excitement (unfortunately England lost as well, but at least something is normal this summer).
The organizers were impressed by the Band’s performance, and if it’s not too presumptuous to say so, it would have been a very dull event without us.
This was our last engagement before the Vale Park Proms on 26th August, now it’s time to start rehearsing for that.