A couple of recent comments and events have caused me to ponder the continued growth of our band. Last night several members were unable to attend due to major traffic issues on the M5. This has never occurred before, and actually goes to show how we have become much broader than just a local town ensemble…… people are happy to travel some distance to be a part of a growing, developing group. This is not just musically, but as an organisation, we have grown in confidence and overcome that initial shyness about being heard by other groups, instead we are welcomed and encouraged to be a part of the broader music community. Not everyone will embrace the ongoing developments all the time, which is fine unless it becomes a negative influence or destructive to the organisation, everyone is entitled to their opinion and to ask pertinent questions as they arise.

Musically, there will always be hurdles to surmount, and it’s an important part of our growth that we take on new challenges. Part of the challenge I see is the need for specific instrumentation as we move into more expansive arrangements. The desire to have a bassoon and an oboe on a regular basis is regularly on my mind as is the desire for a larger percussion section, we have the instruments available but rather than bring a player in for a special concert I would love to create the position for a regular member and  expand our membership that way. This is the case in point with the purchase of our eagerly awaited Eb clarinet, whilst I know some will harbour misgivings about the expense, this instrument gives us an expanded sound when it’s used properly in its place and I am sure given time you will appreciate the benefit it provides. It was also good to see a soprano sax used in Irish Tune for the first time, giving life to a melodic line we have never heard before.

I guess the real question on the table, is why grow, strive for improvement and continue to challenge ourselves? The answer is simple….. look back where we were….. now look at how well you play now…… that simply should not happen without effort…look at other bands around you that struggle to get regular membership at rehearsals, they might put on a great performance but it’s always done with borrowed players covering parts….our band does it on its own merits, whilst I am the Director of Music I will be striving to grow us in all areas, everytime, everyday and I am well aware that the vast majority of our members do exactly that as well…. we are a good team and should be deservedly proud of not only what we have achieved but what we will achieve next.