We are back!
The last 18 months have been tough for so many people in so many ways. In the music community, it has meant that musicians have been unable to rehearse or perform together. For professional musicians that’s meant little or no income, while amateur performance organisations have also lost the valuable income that they need to function.
For the GUS Band, COVID has meant the cancellation of many concerts and contest appearances, much to the disappointment of both our players and supporters. The last time the band performed together was at the Midlands Area National Championship qualifiers in Bedworth way back in March 2020. We came off stage that day having played a winning performance but with no idea that this was to be the last time that we would play together as a band for another 15 months!
We’ve enjoyed putting together some online performances throughout our time away from the bandroom, including the Cory Online Entertainment Contests and the Foden’s Online Whit Friday contest. Although lots of fun to do, recording your part at home on your own is certainly not the same as rehearsing together, so the news that the band would be starting up again on Monday 21st June 2021 was met with a wealth of excitement and anticipation!
It’s taken a near-military operation and a lot of hard work to get our rehearsals back up and running; with risk assessments, COVID policies, a new seating plan in the bandroom, bubbles and even one section sat up in the bandroom’s viewing gallery. Like many bands, our rehearsal space is only adequate to accommodate 30 players plus instruments and a full percussion section; it certainly doesn’t lend itself to social distancing and it has taken a lot of thought, rearrangement of equipment, and the prodigious use of a tape measure to seat all the players so that they are adequately distanced in order to keep everyone safe.
We meet in the car park and then each section of the band, who are grouped together in bubbles take it in turns to enter the bandroom with their instruments, so that we can safely enter the building in an orderly fashion. Finally, with our MD, Chris, safely positioned behind plastic screens, windows and doors all open, (luckily the band doesn’t practise in a residential area) all players seated, deep breath in and off we go…
It was fantastic to be playing together again and although surreal at first, a couple of notes into the first hymn tune, it was like we’d never been away. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us throughout this difficult time and to those who have worked tirelessly to get our rehearsals started up again. Now we are really looking forward to getting back onto the stage and entertaining our audiences around the country again, which is after all, what the GUS Band is all about.
We hope to see you all very soon!