Joining the TfO Concert Band.

In March I joined the TfO Concert Band.

The rehearsal was at Little Whitley Village hall on a Saturday afternoon. Lucy was also new to the band and we came across each other on Twitter – each of us saying that, whilst we didn’t meet the performance grade required, could we still come along?

We were presented with the sheets of music and my heart dissappeared into my mouth. Am I out of my mind thinking I can play that? Lucy came across and expressed a similar concern so we spoke with Ed, our conductor.

If we sit out chunks that we find difficult is that a problem. Ed reassured us that we could and that he felt sure we would improve over time. So we did our best.

I sit in the clarinet scetion and Lucy with the brass on trumpet. There are three clarinet parts. First is always the most challenging and is usually played by experienced musicians and teachers.

Third is supposed to be the easiest part but, having looked at the two I concluded that it was not much harder to play 2nd so I took a second chair. After all, if you want to improve you have to keep stretching yourself. I kept expecting to be asked to move to a third but it never happened.

Then something really helpful happened; Alan, who is a semi pro clarinetist after many years playing, came along for some rehearsals and, with plenty of firsts he took the spare chair alongside me and, finding me in need, started to give me fingering tips and encouragement. I soon learned that this was the way much of the band worked with experienced musicians passing on more advanced skills to those of us who could benefit. As our founder, Jane Whittle says, we don’t have prima donnas. This is meant to be fun first and we build our skills on that.

Very soon we had our first performance in a beautiful large church in the centre of Worcester. Sitting in a large (about 40 strong) band felt both daunting and exhilarating.

Through the summer there were fêtes and on August Bank Holiday saturday we joined the TfO Orchestra to perform in concert at The Swan Theatre in Worcester – to a sell out audience.

For our band the final concert of the year was at Shrewsbury where we played at the start of the Film Festival. Ten of us ended the year, at Christmas, busking in the centre of Worcester.