This year, we effectively provided the curtain raiser to the whole of the programme. We worked with the fantastic German band Beat n Blow for several days, then on Friday 2nd July at the Spennymoor Settlement we presented a joint concert.
The energy levels were high all night and some in the audience said it had been the best show in in town in 40 years! The band thank the staff at the Settlement who were so helpful and made us feel very much welcome.
Apart from the two bands there was also special appearances from John Chapman on Clarinet, Kiri Shepard on Northumbrian Pipes and, the stars of the night, the Delectable Durham Divas, belly dancers who brilliantly took the audience (and half the band) by surprise by appearing in the middle of In A Persion Market to perform with the band. Brass and Belly dancers together, now there's a crossover of cultures and surely a first.
On Saturday the Town Band took their traditional position leading the parade in the Spennymoor Gala. And what good weather it was. As special guests of Durham County Council Arts and Leisure Department, Beat and Blow brought up the rear in their most energenic manner. On completion of the parade as the Gala got underway the two band met up to perform their collaberation tunes to great recption of the crowds.
Sunday saw us all out again, this time in Durham City. As we were setting up in the Millenium Square in front of the Gala Theatre the rain that had threatened all afternoon arrived. We decamped into the Town Hall to give our first performance, when the sun came out so we were able to do our seccond spot in the Market Square and, after a couple of crowd rousing pieces, we really turned up the temperature when joined by our friends Beat and Blow to have everyone bouncing through to the end of the Durham Streets of Brass opening day.
At Durham Miners' Gala, our chosen entertainment piece was 'Sex Bomb' - as you can see in the video!
On Saturday 17th July we held a Return to Brass taster day at Byers Green Community Centre. All the band members attended to greet the public. Some were new to brass banding and were introduced to the instruments, history and culture. Others were returning players and only needing reassuring that they will be able to reclaim most of their previous abilities. We are pleased that first indications are that we have found two returning players and two new starters.
The Return to Brass is also a project promoted by the Arts Team of Durham County Council and we thank Emma Shankland for inviting us for all the help with this. We also thank Irene at Byers Green Community Centre for her assistance in hosting the event, I don't think it will be long before we will visiting here again.
Bigger, Better and Badder (sounds like our trombone section!)