Monday, January 09, 2006

Three cheers for brass bands!

Last autumn we made a wonderful musical discovery when a friend of Angel's joined the local brass band. Angel started playing the trumpet - a long time ambition - last January, and it was immediately obvious she had found her instrument. A kind brass teacher friend started her off, but since June she has just been playing under her own steam. Then we heard about the brass band. They have a junior section where they not only teach children an instrument free, they even lend them the instrument. In early November both Angel and Star went along to try it out. Star had ambitions to play the euphonium and was given a baritone horn, a slightly smaller and lighter instrument of which she is very proud. Angel was greeted with open arms when they realised that she was already playing very competently and they suggested she move straight into the senior band after Christmas. Brass bands traditionally use cornets rather than trumpets, so she was duly supplied with a cornet. (A player can easily transfer from one to the other as the fingering is identical and the feel of the instruments very similar.) Yesterday she and her friend - who has also been promoted - went along for their first full band practice. She was given a newer, better instrument, befitting her new status, a great deal of encouragement, and a space in the second cornet section. In February the band will be recording a CD of Christmas music, which will be great experience for her. They were, however, very apologetic that from now on she will be expected to pay a weekly subscription. Where else could you get the loan of a decent instrument and three hours of band practice and music tuition for the princely sum of 50 pence (less than $1) a week? I LOVE brass bands!

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