It’s well known that our beloved monarch has a special love for amateur musicians and has been a strong supporter throughout her incredible 70-year reign.
So it’s inevitable that Union Flag-waving communities will come together to enjoy this great British tradition as ball-in-the-park fever sweeps across the county.
Brass bands date back to the early 19th century and the English Industrial Revolution.
With increasing urbanization, employers began funding work bands to diminish the political activity that the working classes seemed preoccupied with in their spare time.
Thus, the tradition of brass bands was founded.
There are currently around 17 marching bands in Lincolnshire – and many are hoping Jubilee will spark renewed interest in them after what has been described as a ‘tricky time’ in recent years due to the pandemic.
Lockdown one was a low note fanfare like no other.
“What became very clear, very quickly, was blowing as hard as possible through a length of metal pipe, releasing the vapors into the atmosphere,” said Norman Prime, Skegness’s secretary. Brass Band, which was founded as Skegness Boys’ Brigade Band. in 1908 and is now a registered charity.
“Lockdown #1 came just a week after we, along with many other Midlands bands, converged on an unsuspecting Bedworth with unprotected instruments and a blissful ignorance of social distancing.
“We were extremely lucky.”
In order to continue to form, groups like companies have adopted the Internet to maintain themselves. Zoom, Teams and Skype have become the essentials for communication, catch-up and coaching.
“Thanks to the hard work of our musical director Steve Walker and computer prodigy Jason Mountford (cornet), the band have managed to produce a version of ‘She’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ that we could be proud of,” said reminded Norman.
“Jason and Steve would later argue that putting together the soundtracks and individual videos was a ‘labor of love’ without knowing it was ‘recording from hell’ at home.”
A silver lining that emerged with the easing of restrictions was short-lived. “The carpeted floors and padded seats in our music room were unacceptable in terms of hygiene,” Norman said. “Yeah, we’re that kind of classy band!”
We had to find a new place, and quickly. Luckily the group chairman, Gordon Hawkins, owned a local caravan park and the pool was empty. “The room had no heating or lighting, but we jumped on it and in it anyway,” Norman recalls.
Now able to rehearse together, the Jubilees offer the opportunity to do what they love most: performing in public.
Visitors will enjoy seeing them perform on Sunday June 5 in Tower Gardens, Skegness, after the Royal British Legion parades through the park.
Norman said, “It’s impossible to describe how good it feels just to be together as a band; to make music that lifts our spirits and strengthens our souls.”
Alford Silver Band, which reformed in the 1960s and has gone from strength to strength ever since, is also embarking on the Jubilee.
Today, this popular band has a large following and a well-established training program for young people and adults who have returned to playing or decided to learn a brass instrument.
Like Skegness Silver Band, as funding for music in education continues to decline, Alford engages with local schools and has its own educational outreach program.
A number of young people who first learned to play in the Alford Silver Band have gone on to become professional musicians. This includes three current band members:
Josh Wilkinson grew up in Alford and first learned his music with the band through his training program, becoming the band’s main cornet (band leader).
At York University, he earned a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree before returning home to Alford. A gifted pianist and brass musician, Josh teaches piano and is also developing a wonderful career as a concert pianist.
He took over as the band’s musical director upon his return from college.
Andrew Taylor also grew up in Alford, learning his music through the band’s training program. He studied music at Huddersfield University, earning a Bachelor of Music degree before returning home to take over as principal cornet and bandleader. Until recently Andrew was employed as a traveling brass teacher to all schools in North East Lincolnshire, but is now a freelance teacher.
Charlotte Burton also learned her music with the Alford Silver Band before going to the University of Salford where she completed a first class degree in music. She began her teaching career at Morpeth in Northumberland, before becoming a music teacher first at King Edward VI Academy in Spilsby, then head of music at Skegness Grammar School. She is also now a freelance music teacher.
Alford Silver Band does not participate in marching band competitions; nor are we a marching band. Alford Silver Band is a simple concert band that likes to entertain people with good music.
The band have had many highlights over the years (including once playing as the Olympic torch paraded through Lincolnshire). Most recently they were asked by the county chairman of the Royal British Legion to perform for the county’s memorial service held at the International Bomber Command Center in Lincoln last September.
Mike Green of Alford Silver Band said: ‘We look forward to helping the region celebrate the magnificent achievement of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, and we are delighted to have been booked to perform twice in our hometown. , Alford (June 4). as in some of the surrounding villages and at the Kenwick Park Golf Club (June 2).
“Indeed, we had to decline some reservations because we can’t be in two places at the same time!