Banding together for        craft and company

August 24th, 2020Banding together for craft and company

YOU might think a brass band which can’t play together, thus no longer a band, would give their instruments a miss during a global pandemic, but you would be wrong.

My Baby Just Cares For Me from Daylesford Community Brass Band on Vimeo.

The Daylesford Community Brass Band has probably never been busier – and is using social media to spread their music throughout the local community and overseas.
Acting musical director Mark Lyall said when the coronavirus first hit Australia, the band started to think how it could stay together but with smaller rehearsals. But then the lockdowns happened and it was time to change tack.
Mark, who has a sound engineering background, said he watched an iso recording done overseas quite early in the piece and decided the band could keep going.
They are now up to their fifth recording with the first four on their Facebook and web pages – gaining plenty of likes.
“We wanted to do two things. We have always rehearsed every Monday night which brings us together to further our craft, our music, and also we very much enjoy each other’s company – so it was important that during this time we could keep both of those aspects of engagement going.
“So, we now meet in Zoom every Monday night which helps with the social aspect of keeping connecting, and we are doing recordings which means we are also picking up those instruments every day and practicing and connecting with our craft.”
Over the past months the band members have chosen five pieces with each one taking about a month to create. It must be done individually because internet speed means even singing Happy Birthday on a Zoom meeting is almost impossible.
The pieces start with Mark putting together a click track, using the same methodology as film and television composers record scores in time with images. The clicking at the back of the track is much like listening to a metronome, he says.
Once that is done, they are circulated to members with all their parts and they all spend a few weeks rehearsing and then recording it, along with video. That is all returned to Mark who then puts it all together into one recording, producing both music-only and video pieces. Band member Stuart Gunn is responsible for most of the video recordings.
The first iso piece was The Floral Dance, and it just happened to be released one week before The Furry Dance, a festival held in Helston, Cornwall with the piece an English song describing the festival. It was posted to a British website giving the band international exposure and likes.
Next up is The Teddy Bears’ Picnic, with two band members having their teddy bears featured in the video and all members able to find at least one teddy for their videos.
A slower piece, Down by the Salley Gardens was the third piece with the poem recited by band member Val Goodwin, and the fourth was My Baby Just Cares For Me, a swing band number, pictured above.
“There are four quite different genres represented – I really wanted to take band members to somewhere different with each piece, a different journey each time.
“The next piece is a march and we are in the process of looking through our photographic archives so we can assemble a history of the band for the video.”
Mark said both he and the band members were happy with the results although they were all very much looking forward to rehearsing again when it was safe to do so.
“This is not a replacement, it is a very different process to rehearsing in our band room where you get instant feedback – smiles, frowns, get told off by the conductor, get congratulated by the conductor. But it has been a good motivator during this time when some members perhaps would not be thinking about practising. It’s kept people engaged.”
Mark said he had joined the band 10 years ago after moving to Daylesford. He watched them playing Christmas carols and when they finished asked if he could attend rehearsals. Cornet is his main instrument but he spent a number of years playing the euphonium. “When I turned up with my cornet they said ‘that’s great but we need one of these’.”
And 2020 Christmas carols are now on the mind of band members who are hoping they will be able to play at least some concerts and perhaps stream them for those who can’t attend.
“Our band room is a bit small at the moment but we will find a way for the band to have a presence at Christmas. And when we do go back to the band room it will be one in, all in. We go back when we can all go back.”
To listen to the band’s recordings so far head to www.daylesfordbrassband.org or their Facebook page. And if you’ve got kids, or not, watch The Teddy Bear’s Picnic – it’s a lot of fun.
Check out the Vimeo link on The Local’s website – www.tlnews.com.au

Words: Donna Kelly | Image: Facebook screenshot

How is your community group keeping in touch? Let us know.
Email donna@tlnews.com.au

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