As another year of banding comes to an end, the last job on the list is to reflect and give thanks. This year was our first full “normal” year back to brass banding since Covid struck in March 2020, so there is a lot to unpack!
We started this year with recording our programme for ‘In the Band Room’ with East Leeds FM, which was a great experience for everyone involved!
After our radio performance, we swiftly moved onto our preparation for the North West Areas, which had been
put on hold since 2020. Thanks to all the hard work of our players and our MD Ewan, the band scored 3rd place in the 3rd section, which gave us the points we needed for a promotion to the 2nd section. A special mention to George Pears, who also won best soprano player for the 3rd section.
June was another busy month for the band as we celebrated the Queens Jubilee and also had our first Whit Friday since 2019! It felt good to be back doing what many of our players consider to be the best job of the year!
In July the band celebrated the marriage of our very own E flat bass player, Sarah, to her husband Sean. The band had a fabulous time playing for the bride and groom on their special day, but it’s pretty safe to say the star of the show was Sammy on the karaoke.
August saw our friends from the Delta Music Makers come over and visit us for a joint concert, which was a huge success! The band also took part in the Chester Pride parade for the first time this year. The rainbow sashes were a colourful addition to our uniform.
By the end of August, our home on Bedward Row was finally open again to the band after 903 days! A huge thank you to all who were involved with the renovation of our band room, making it a brighter and better practice space for the band.
September saw the passing of our late Queen Elizabeth II, which struck sadness across the nation. As the country welcomed a new King, the band had the privilege of being asked to play for the proclamation of King Charles III in Chester.
November is when then band start to get busy again before the year end, starting with Remembrance Sunday. The band were honoured to be asked again to take part in Chester’s Remembrance parade. Another special mention to George, who took on the challenge of playing The Last Post this year and delivered it beautifully. He made the whole band very proud!
For the rest of the year, the band were super busy with Christmas! With 14 Christmas jobs in total this year, I think it’s safe to say we were all exhausted by the end of it. A very big thanks to our secretary Jon for another year of successfully organising all the jobs for us.
Other band news outside of jobs, our solo horn player Kirsty and percussionist Alex announced they were expecting their first child, who is arriving in January 2023! We wish Kirsty all the best with the last few weeks of her pregnancy and hope the birth goes as smoothly as possible. We can’t wait to meet Baby Bargh and bets are already on for which instrument they’ll be taking up in 8-10 years time!
The band saw players come and go this year too. In September the band welcomed Amelia who joined us after moving to Chester to study marine biology at the university. However, we also said goodbye to Callum in August, as his time at the university came to an end. The band are very thankful for the university and the wonderful players it brings to us.
Once again, the band would like to show their appreciation to Tony Blain, who retired from his role as Training & Junior Band coordinator after 20 years of service. We are extremely thankful for his hard work and dedication to all the players he has overseen and helped progress to the main band. He has made a huge impact to the future of Chester Brass Band. We wish him a happy and peaceful retirement.
Last, but certainly not least, the band would like to thank everyone who has supported us throughout 2022. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
We look forward to what 2023 has in store for the band!