As many of you are aware, the Band travels to Ypres in Belgium every October for an intensive rehearsal and social weekend. Due to Covid uncertainties earlier in the year it was felt a trip abroad could not go ahead. Rather than miss out on a trip for a second year it was decided that a UK based alternative would be explored.
Bright and early on Friday 29th October the Band departed Long Melford with Kings Coaches heading north, bound for Harrogate, North Yorkshire. With a refreshment stop at Grantham on the way up we arrived at our hotel for the weekend, The Cairn at about 2.30pm and got straight down to playing!
All of the music for the weekend was new to us and included musical selections from ‘Chicago’ and ‘Cabaret’, ‘Valdres March’, ‘Breezin Down Broadway’ and ‘Campus Intrada’. We hadn’t been in the Hotel for half an hour and already the Band had striked up much to the delight of passing guests who had stopped in the corridor to listen to us.
We are joined on our weekends away by a loyal group of supporters, partners and guests, without whom the trip would be unable to happen so a massive thank you from the Band to them. Friday afternoon gave them a chance to settle into the Hotel and explore Harrogate while the Band was busy getting to grips with the varied and challenging set of music chosen by our MD Nigel. We all enjoyed a meal together in the Hotel on Friday evening.
Saturday morning saw a break from rehearsals with the majority of the Band and supported boarding the coach once again for a trip into York. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t in our favour and it rained all morning but it didn’t dampen spirits with many choosing to explore the city and local attractions. Some of the Band chose to stay in Harrogate and explore the town.
The Band returned to the Hotel around lunchtime on Saturday for another intensive rehearsal in the afternoon while some of the supporters stayed in York for the day. By Saturday afternoon the Band had got to grips with the new music and had made a vast improvement from Friday evening! We all enjoyed another meal together in the Hotel on Saturday evening.
Several presentations were made prior to Saturday nights meal, gifts were presented to Martin Gore to give thanks for his many years of work as Band Secretary and to Mike Murkin for doing such a wonderful job of organising the whole trip. Harry Copsey was voted ‘Bandsperson of the Year’ and Sally Rowe was awarded ‘Young Person of the Year’ for her continued improvement in her playing.
Sunday morning saw another rehearsal for the Band while guests and supporters had some free time to walk into Harrogate. Prior to leaving for our journey home the Band laid on a mini concert for partners, guests and supporters of some of the pieces rehearsed over the weekend. We then loaded up the coach and set off for the journey south back to Long Melford!
Our thanks again go to Mike Murkin for organising the weekend, a bigger task this year than normal with Mike researching and contacting numerous hotels across England in the lead up to the trip and organising what turned out to be a very successful and enjoyable weekend.
Thanks also go to Kings Coaches and our driver Steve who got the Band, guests and all the instruments up to Harrogate and back!
Lastly thanks go to our loyal supporters, partners and guests. As mentioned previously without them the trip wouldn’t be viable, we hope you enjoyed the weekend as much as we did!
The Band has numerous engagements booked in the run up to Christmas and we hope you can join us to hear some of the music rehearsed in Harrogate. Our popular Christmas Concert will return again this year, we hope to see many of you there at Long Melford Village hall on SATURDAY 18TH DECEMBER 2021 7.30PM (doors open 7pm). Information regarding ticket sales will be published nearer the time.