At the start of the year the band already had a number out performances planned, and, after the successful tour to Cremona in 2019, we were looking forward to visiting Jersey in late August to participate in commeration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Jersey following occupation during World War 2.
The best laid plans …
NHS Anniversary Performance
As the restrictions of the first national lockdown were gradually eased, groups of six socially players started to rehearse in band members’ gardens as permitted under the “rule of 6”. Several rehearsals per week with different combinations of players were coordinated by our musical director, and culminated in an outdoor performance, with band socially distanced beside Lymington bandstand for the NHS Anniversary on 5th. July 2020.
The event went very well, despite this being the first time that the whole band had played together since the beginning of lockdown.
During the summer the whole band was able to rehearse in a members’ field, thus permitting the observance of social distancing rules in the open air. We rehearsed in preparation for the planned trip to Jersey preparing three separate concert programmes. For one programme the band was reconfigured as a dance band, with several players changing instruments to produce the desired sound.
The neighbours enjoyed hearing us play, even complimenting us on Facebook, and the ponies seemed unworried too.
Unfortunately the tour to Jersey was cancelled.
Shakespeare in the Woods
After the cancellation of the tour, field rehearsals continued, preparing for the possibility of more outdoor performances, but again we were unable to perform. Some members of the band were involved in a production of two Shakespeare plays at Beaulieu, providing specially composed musical interludes. This was a very different challenge that was enjoyed by all involved.
Hard work by our usual rehearsal venue to be Covid compliant, completion of a risk assessment, and agreement of procedures to keep all players safe, allowed indoor rehearsals to resume in September. Unfortunately increments in the Covid restrictions leading to the November lockdown stopped rehearsals again. Activity was limited to planning for carol playing in December.
O Come All Ye Faithful
After November, groups of six outdoors in public places were permitted, and carols were played in various locations by different groups of five or six players from the band. The donation boxes were out and some useful funds to support the band were collected. It was very cold at times though.
We also managed some indoor rehearsals until the increasing Tier restrictions and subsequent lockdown stopped us again.