BAND NEWS

 BAND NEWS

A little bit of Disney comes to Heathfield

It was lovely to see so many families enjoying our Disney Concert in the state hall in Heathfield. The audience surpassed our expectations and we found ourselves putting out extra chairs to accommodate everyone. There was a quiz and colouring competition for everyone, although the younger members of the audience clearly had the upper hand in both. I'm not sure if the audience were aware of Minnie Mouse playing the drums but would certainly have heard her giving it all she had in the Lion King. Minnie had two very enthusiastic apprentices on percussion utilising all the bells and whistles.


We even had our very first audience participation in the Bear Necessities with children queuing up  to help our percussion section. Bear Necessities was a brilliant solo by our Eb Bass player James despite everyone else in the band wanting a part of his limelight. Our sop player Simon was so bored he started reading a newspaper and when that didn't help he took to the washboard with a gusto. It was our first engagement of the year and has set the bar extremely high for the rest of the year.   

Well as 2021 draws to an end and we all look forward to 2022 The music folders were emptied and replaced by the music for our Disney Spectacular on the 6th of March. A task that was made easier by the extensive buffet lunch provided by Sian.

Crowborough Rugby Club 19th December.

After a year away we were pleased to be invited back to the Rugby Club to play for their annual Champagne Cheese and carols get together. Normally its very crowded and very loud. Well this year with Covid still on everyone's mind changes were needed to keep everyone safe. Everyone was asked to take a test before attending and a track and trace system was in place. To make sure the band was safe we were in a well ventilated position in the marquee. We were also more distant from the revellers. Despite all the measures that were in place everyone seemed to have a good time. Let's hope next year things will be more relaxed and the Rugby Club, and the band will be wound back up to the max.  

WINTER WONDERLAND COMES TO TOWN

We had a busy weekend with our Winter Wonderland trailer. Although Friday evening in the Horam Village Hall car park was a bit isolated those that did wander up to see us enjoyed the music and certainly gave generously towards our chosen charity. The Co-op car park gave Martin a chance to entertain the young and old alike with his bubble and snow machine. It was then on to Herstmonceux Village Hall where a small but enthusiastic crowed was waiting for the trailers arrival. All to soon it was time to move on again, this time to Tesco in Hailsham. It was now raining so the audience remained at a distance either in their cars or under the Tesco entrance canopy. Everyone still supported the band and were very generous with their comments and donations. We must give special thanks to Lilly and Penny who, with their collecting buckets endured all weathers while the band remain under the shelter of their trailer. We will be doing it all again next week starting outside the Merrie Harriers pub in Cowbeech at 7pm, so have a look at our schedule and come along and see us.  

Waitrose Supermarket, Heathfield.

Thanks to all the staff and customers of Waitrose Supermarket in Heathfield for their kind generosity while we played carols this morning, 11th December. We must also thank Waitrose for ensuring that we could play in a well ventilated location allowing sensible distancing between customers and the band.

Merrie Harriers in Cowbeech on the 9th December

Our first carolling job. There is always a dilemma when carolling at Christmas, do I wear two layers or three? Is it going to be cold and wet or is it going to be mild and dry? Well a few turned up with thermals and multiple layers ready for the cold........but..........they weren't prepared for being invited into the pub due to the wet weather. With a packed pub and roaring log fire it wasn't long before there was regret over that third layer of protection. We were joined by the Southdown Singers who were in good voice. We will be back on the17th with the Winter Wonderland Trailer so come along and enjoy the music.

2021 CHRISTMAS CONCERT on the 5th December

We would like to thank everyone for coming along to our Christmas concert in Herstmonceux on Sunday. Normally we would present a concert of two halves but this year we were all about Christmas throughout. Sian has produced some more robust hymn booklets for the audience to sing from. Let's hope they do many years of service. Our B band gave a lovely rendition of three pieces of music they have been working on. For those that noticed Martin sitting with the B band don't worry he hasn't been demoted he offered to bolster the numbers after so many were unable to attend due to self isolation. The main band wasn't immune to the reach of Covid they also had five players self isolating. We were lucky we were able to call on friends of the band to come along at short notice to fill the empty chairs. We were also missing Jean, she is suffering from bronchitis and was therefore unable to join us. We all hope you get better soon Jean. Sian sadly had to ask that band members wore masks when not playing to reduce any risk to themselves and our audience. Just as we all thought we were getting back to normal we find ourselves with the need to take responsible precautions. It's all about carolling now so plenty of fresh air and Christmas cheer with our Warbleton winter wonderland trailer.

REMEMBRANCE CONCERT 13th November 2021

Our Remembrance concert was a great success despite only having 10 weeks practice after such a long break. This was the first concert to be held indoors for almost 2 years and sounded great in such a spacious hall. There is still hesitancy to attend concerts due to the covid situation and were touched by the number of lovely messages received from those who wished the band well. We must also thank those that couldn't attend for their kind donation to the Royal British Legion. We will see you all next year. We now look forward to a very busy Christmas starting with our Christmas Concert on the 5th December in the Herstmonceux Village hall. Our Winter Wonderland trailer will be out and about including, Heathfield, Horam, Hailsham, Bodle Street, Punnetts Town, Herstmonceux, Cowbeech and Rushlake Green. We will also be playing carols in Waitrose and the Co-op Supermarkets in Heathfield.  Check out our Engagement page for a full list of places and times.

After almost 2 years the band were back playing on the green.



The Rushlake Green Flower show on Saturday 9th and our own concert in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support on Sunday 10th.


The Flower Show was well supported as everyone was keen to enjoy a bit of normality, a feeling shared by the band.  On Sunday it was lovely to see so many people turn out to support such an incredible charity. The concept of allowing the audience to chose what they would like the band to play from a list (for a donation of course) is always going to be fraught with risk. Risk that the audience are going to choose every fast and upbeat piece on the list, giving the band little time to catch their breath. Fortunately there were enough "slower" pieces chosen to avoid the band running out of puff.  Despite the full band only being back in the Dunn Hall for a few weeks the music flowed like they had not been away. We even had a guest conductor for our final piece "Sussex by the Sea". The Macmillan Concert would normally be held in the Dunn Hall but due to Covid restrictions we needed to hire the marquee on the green. Despite all the extra covid associated costs we still raised £500 for Macmillan Cancer Support. We would like to thank everyone who so generously supported this event.      

EASTBOURNE BANDSTAND

Sunday 29th August 3pm

It was an incredible experience to be back on the bandstand after a surreal and bleak 18 months wondering when we would be able to perform again. The programme had a real feel good factor including a superb rendition of Spanish eyes by Martin Buss. The bands performance of Sweet Caroline was a great hit, prompting so many to stop and add their voice to the chorus. We must also thank everyone for all the encouraging messages received following Sundays performance. To put it in the words of one of those messages "roll on 2022"


23rd July 2021. The day we have all looked forward to. After more than 16 Months the first full band rehearsal in our own Dunn Village Hall. We still need to take precautions but this time we are in control. Sian has asked that members should take a test prior to practice and that a one way system, masks and hand sanitisation remainin place......but we are back.


OUR TEMPORARY HOME

Herstmonceux Village Hall is our temporary home until we are able to return to our own Dunn Village Hall in Rushlake Green. It has been necessary to find a hall large enough to take a full band and accommodate the covid restrictions. The band was split into two groups in Dunn Hall but when it became clear the restrictions were going to last longer than first anticipated it become essential to look for other premises. Let's hope it won't be too long before we are back in Rushlake Green.  

BACK IN DUNN VILLAGE HALL

21st May 2021 we are back home but due to the present covid rules we can only fit half our band in our hall. It's lovely to see that so many bands across the country have enjoyed the benefit of a larger hall and therefore been able to enjoy their first full practice for a long time. If everything goes to plan we will have our first full practice for nearly 16 months on the 4th of June. We have enjoyed the hospitality of our Bass player peter who has kindly made his farm available for group practice throughout. Peter felt that moving indoors might feel strange so provided the comforting support of some animals to make everyone feel they were back in the farmyard.

BACK TO GROUPS OF SIX

April 2021, and the band can meet again as a group of 6 outside. We are very fortunate to have a member who has an open sided barn/stable, so we are protected from the rain if not the cold. With a full band that are keen to get back to playing but only six chairs, Sian and Martin needed to implement a schedule that will allow everyone the chance to enjoy an hour's playing before the seats are cleaned and the area made ready for when the next group arrive. Everyone brings their own stand and music and understands the strict social distancing and cleaning rules. Our first audience of the year were 2 horses and 3 young lambs and I'm sure they were impressed with the high standard of the ever changing musical ensemble. I don't think the band can thank Sian and Martin enough for all the hard work they have put in to achieve this balanced schedule while complying with all the current guidelines.

A SAD MILESTONE

16th March 2021, our band reached a sad milestone. It is one year on from the devastating events that forced us to close our doors. There is now good news on the horizon. With the roll out of the vaccine program and the governments roadmap to lifting restrictions there is real optimism that we will be able to resume playing this summer. As the restrictions are lifted we will have the opportunity to begin a staged return, playing initially in small groups of 6 outside, and if everything goes to plan we hope to see the small group expand to the full band as restrictions are lifted further. Despite this good news it must be emphasised that strict hygiene and social distancing rules still apply. Of course we all look forward to the reopening of the Dunn Village Hall and a return to our long-established home.  We are aware that we have been here before and have had that hope snatched from us at the last minute, but this time there is genuine reason to believe it will happen.

WARBLETON BRASS BAND WINTER WONDERLAND TOUR

Warbleton Brass Band - Bringing the music to you!

 

Collecting on behalf of RNLI and Warbleton Brass Band.


Members of the band played carols on our newly decorated Winter Wonderland Trailer. We visited many areas over the weekend of 19th & 20th December. There were lights, music, a giant Snowman plus some smoke & snow effects!! We must say a big thank you to Peter, his family and friends for all the hard work they put into making the weekend a great success. Our  weekend extravaganza started in Heathfield High Street,  moving on to Punnetts Town, Rushlake Green, Windmill Hill and finishing outside the Merrie Harriers in Cowbeech. Sunday afternoon began at Chilley Farm in Hailsham moving on to Hilliers in Stone Cross, KFC/Tesco in Hailsham, Rushlake Green and finishing in Bodle Street. It was a busy weekend but worth it to bring a little bit of Christmas cheer in these difficult times. It was lovely to see so many that came along to support the band. An amazing £782.80 was collected for the band and RNLI, this year's chosen charity. We especially appreciate the wearing of face masks and all the effort that was taken to maintain social distancing. Next year will be bigger and better!! The Warbleton Brass Band wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a return to better times in 2021.   

5th December 2020 'Warbleton Winter Wonderland' trailer is near completion  

We are booked to travel round over the weekend of 19th/20th December, visiting as many places as we can fit in.  Socially distanced on the trailer, lights, snow machines etc, we hope to bring some music to our listeners.  Look out on our Facebook and Website pages for details of where we plan to visit.  The Musical Director Sian Buss would like to give a huge thanks to all the members of the band who have worked so hard to keep, whenever possible, the players together through the lockdown.  So many safety measures were put in place to enable us to continue as much as possible.  Music had to be sorted for the different sized groups each time we were allowed to play.  PPE organised and Risk Assessments for every eventuality were compiled.  Thanks to everyone concerned.  We don't know what the future holds with regards to the music and arts sector but we have done our best to keep everyone together, whether it be playing or just conversation via phone or email.  Warbleton Band is a family and we stick together no matter what is thrown at us.  Happy Christmas to everyone who has supported us over the years and we promise we will be back as strong as ever as soon as we can.

And the band played on

With the announcement of the tier system it's now clear we will not be back in the Dunn Village Hall to practice until 2021. Christmas is a special time for our band. It's probably the busiest time of the year. We would look forward to our Christmas concert that's always free, a way of giving back to all those that have supported us throughout the year. Carols by Candlelight in Warbleton parish church is also a favourite family occasion. We would be found entertaining shoppers in Heathfield, local schools and supporting our friends the Southdown Singers, as well as all the local villages. Under normal circumstances money raised over the Christmas period is always donated to charity. Unfortunately Christmas is going to be different for everybody this year, and we have had to cancel all our traditional events. However despite all the difficulties facing us the We are booked to travel round over the weekend of 19th/20th December, visiting as many places as we can fit in.  Socially distanced on the trailer, lights, snow machines etc, we hope to bring some music to our listeners.  Look out on our Facebook and Website pages for details of where we plan to visit.  The Musical Director Sian Buss would like to give a huge thanks to all the members of the band who have worked so hard to keep, whenever possible, the players together through the lockdown.  So many safety measures were put in place to enable us to continue as much as possible.  Music had to be sorted for the different sized groups each time we were allowed to play.  PPE organised and Risk Assessments for every eventuality were compiled.  Thanks to everyone concerned.  We don't know what the future holds with regards to the music and arts sector but we have done our best to keep everyone together, whether it be playing or just conversation via phone or email.  Warbleton Band is a family and we stick together no matter what is thrown at us.  Happy Christmas to everyone who has supported us over the years and we promise we will be back as strong as ever as soon as we can.

CLOSED AGAIN

Sadly our light at the end of the tunnel just became a little dimmer. With the announcement of England going into a new lockdown at 00.01 on the 5th November the Dunn Village Hall closed its doors again. With the restrictions being put in place the band will not be able to meet even in small groups outside. This all seems a bit like déjà vu? We will now have to wait until 2nd December to find out how the restrictions will be lifted. Let's hope we can at least revert back to the guidelines being followed prior to the latest lockdown. To give everyone the opportunity to stay in touch the band will be back on zoom on Friday evenings testing their knowledge with a band quiz. Fingers crossed for Christmas.      

TWO BANDS IN ONE

We have now settled into our new banding routine, alternating weeks with our Stone house and Marklye groups. It's not ideal but unfortunately it's a necessary constraint of the times we are living in at the moment. I'm sure we are all looking forward to when we will all be back together. Of course there will be rivalry between the groups and we hope that when we are all together again Stone House will want to sit next to Marklye or vice versa? There may be one way, consolidate the names? Perhaps the "Eleanore musky tosh Group"?

2nd October 2020   Our first time back in Dunn Hall since March.


It is great to be back playing indoors after such a long time. There were 14 players in our Stonehouse group. Martin and Sian arrived early to make sure the hall was marked out for social distancing. All players must bring their own stand and cleaning equipment. All personal items including cases and coats are to remain within each designated area. Temperatures are to be checked on arrival and hands to be sanitised. All cornets and trombones must have cloth covers over their bells. Finally face masks must be worn when not playing. After practice all surfaces were thoroughly cleaned and sanitised. A lot of extra efort but worth it to get our band back together again, albeit in two halves. Looking forward to the first rehearsal with Markle group next Friday.

26th September 2020

Due to new Guidelines we can now get back to full rehearsals. Unfortunately there are several downsides to this good news. Dunn hall is now open so we are able to practice in our customary home, but, the hall is not big enough for the whole band when socially distanced. Rather than go through the rigmarole of booking another larger hall we have decided to divide the band into two groups of 12.  The Stonehouse group and the Markle group. So unless Boris changes his mind again Friday 2nd October will be the first meeting of the Stonehouse Group in the Dunn Hall.

9th September 2020

Boris Jonson has just announced that as from Monday 14th September no groups larger than 6 can meet. This means from Monday we will be back playing in groups of 6 in the open. We could still legally meet this Friday, but, after consultation with the band we have decided to cancel the practice. We are all aware of the prime ministers reasons so for the safety of our members thought this to be the best course of action. Let's hope it won't be long before we can try again.

Brass Band England say guidelines now allow us to practice as a full band.


8th September 2020. We have now been given the green light to start practicing as a full band. We are looking forward to our first full rehearsal this Friday 11th September. To comply with the strict guidelines we have booked a larger hall, seating plans made, risk assessments done. All players have their guidelines re attending. The risk assessment covers arriving and leaving practice, a time when the band would normally socialise and catch up with their friends. Unfortunately the new guidelines mean this cannot happen but its a small price to pay for the opportunity to play together again. Small group rehearsals have kept everyone playing through the lockdown when guidelines permitted but nothing beats all playing together.

Still playing despite the rain

28th June 2020. Had another great session of playing by the outbuildings of one of our member’s Farm. With so many bands struggling we are very lucky to have such an enthusiastic band wishing to get back playing in these difficult times. Unfortunately we can still only have groups of 6 so we have formed five small groups spread out over the afternoon. Sadly it still means we cannot socialise as we would like, and cleaning and social distancing is paramount. We may not have an audience but we think the horse was very appreciative of the music.

Jeans personal concert

28th June 2020

We ended the day with six of us playing for our longest serving member, Jean, who was surprised and a bit tearful to see us.

Brass Band England have advised us of changes to their guidelines.

14th June 2020. Well the time has come, we can practice again. Unfortunately there are some very strict guidelines to follow. If you have a field or large garden then you can practice as long as there are fewer than 6 and there is a 3 metre distance between you! The band were fortunate to have a member who offered his field so the band could take those first tentative steps of what is likely to be a long journey back to normality. With a lot of effort given to make sure the correct cleaning and distancing protocols were followed the first practice went well. I'm sure everyone was worried that with Martin having been locked down for 12 weeks it was probably best to raise him up in a cage for health and safety reasons!


A sad start to what was going to be another busy and sucsesfull year for both the band and the charities we support.

The Warbleton Brass Band has followed the Government guidelines on social distancing and self isolation and therefore will be closing its doors for the duration of the pandemic. It is a sad day in the bands history as the only times the band has seen its doors closed in its 125 year history was during the first and second world wars. Let's all hope it won't be too long before we are back playing again.

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL YEAR
We would like to thank everyone who came along and supported us throughout the year and especially the Christmas period. We enjoyed entertaining everyone and raised a lot of money for Charity. The band is proud of its Support for different Charities throughout the year. The three main Charities this year were MacMillan Cancer Support, The British Legion and The Children's Respite Trust. Warbleton Brass Band are a community band that believes in bringing music to the whole community, whether that's playing round Rushlake Green or in Heathfield High Street the aim is the same. We would like to wish everyone a happy new year and hope to see you all in 2020.

Heathfield Fun Day and Our Christmas Concert 30th November and 1st December.

We enjoyed a busy weekend playing carols for the Opening of the Heathfield Christmas Fun Day on Saturday and our Christmas concert on Sunday. We must thank John Abbott from the Heathfield Chamber of Commerce for inviting us to play at the Fun Day and the late night shopping. It was a pleasure to be a part of the festivities. We must also thank all those that gave so generously towards The Children's Respite Trust. Our Christmas concert was another great success. It's always a delight to play to such an enthusiastic audience. This year we not only had the audience singing but participating. We played the popular German folk song Schneewalzer where the audience traditionally sway from side to side with the occasional gentle rise from their seat. It's been such a positive start to our Christmas season and you can follow us at all our upcoming festive appearances throughout December.

Remembrance Concert 9th November 2019

It is always good to play for such a great cause and at a time when everyone's minds are focused on remembering those that have died for their country. The Royal British Legion rely on the generosity of everyone to help those service men and women in need. The concert started with a march on by 7 members of the band playing The British Legion March. Although the Theme of the concert was remembrance with many old wartime favourites there was a lighter element with hits such as Those magnificent men in their flying machines. It was unfortunate that many were unable to attend due to the bad weather. Let's hope this becomes an annual event to support the Royal British Legion.


Macmillan Coffee Evening 27th September 2019

Fantastic evening of fun. Over 20 pieces played all chosen by the audience. The list of music to choose from was long and varied in genres and speed. Unfortunately for the band the audience were in high spirits and upbeat. This resulted in upbeat (fast) music being chosen. When Sussex by the Sea was chosen Sian took the opportunity to hand over the stick to one of the youngest in the audience to conduct the band, and a brilliant job he did. Lots of money was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support and we all had cake!!! Thanks to all our supporters, friends and family who made it possible.

Massed Band at Tonbridge Castle 15th September 2019

Warbleton Brass Band were proud to have taken part in the massed band performance organised by the Cranbrook Town Band. The performance was in aid of McMillan Cancer Support. Warbleton were just one of many local bands invited to join Cranbrook at Tonbridge Castle on a lovely sunny afternoon to raise money for this very worthy charity. Other local brass bands invited to play included Wadhurst, LGB, Battle and Uckfield who all wore their own uniforms and dressed their stands with their own banners.

Crowborough Fayre 14th September 2019

It was great to be invited back to Crowborough to join in their afternoon carnival celebrations. We were just a small part of the extensive entertainment including dancing, juggling and fire eating. During our last session the audience were invited to show their skills with a hula-hoop. I'm sure the music allowed them to swing to the rhythm.

Le Marche Heathfield September 26th 2019

From the reaction of the crowds and the online responses, this year's Le Marche performance was the best yet. This year Sian allowed a brief moment between pieces to allow the audience to show their appreciation.
Eric Kemp who does such a great job organising the music for the event showed his great dexterity in finding the smallest of break in the free flowing music to announce to the ever growing crowds the extensive line up for the rest of the day. Eric has always insisted that music on the stage must be upbeat and popular, we hope our performance ticked all his boxes. Despite the high temperatures we managed 19 pieces in the allotted hour.

27th, 28th and 29th July 2019

It has been a busy weekend for the band with two engagements and the memorial service for our President Judith.

Saturday was the annual Rushlake Green Flower Show. After a wet morning we were fortunate to enjoy a dry but overcast afternoon. The band is always an important part of this event. Sunday evening was our Proms on the Green. Our Musical Director was on site early to assess the weather. Are we going to be inside or out? A difficult call to make as once the decision is made and the band have set up it would be difficult to move. So after Sian had taken many metrological readings, she felt the risk of the band's music disappearing in the wind and the associated problems that would follow was too high. Therefore with great regret we played in the Marquee. We were joined this year by the Southdown Singers, a choir we have formed a close association over the years. The choirs contribution was appreciated by both the band and the audience. Make sure you all put the 26th July 2020 at 6pm in your diary for next year's Proms on the Green.

Monday was the memorial service for our much loved President who sadly lost her fight with cancer. Judith was the life and soul of many of our concerts and was a very hands on President. We were honoured to play at the service, concluding with a very emotional rendition of Sussex by the Sea. 

Rushlake Green Big Lunch 2nd June 2019
We couldn't have wished for better weather for the 6th annual Rushlake Green Big Lunch. Although we played some traditional summer favourites such as Strawberry Fair and the Floral Dance we started with the upbeat Brassed up Funk and finished with Glen Millers American Patrol. We also played The Happy Bandleader but many noticed our very own happy bandleader Sian was missing from the front of the band. She was there, instead of where's Wally it was where's Sian? You would have had to ventured round the back of the band to find her. She traded her little baton for an Eb Bass, and apparently she did very well back there. As a word of caution the back of the band is not for the faint hearted!!!

Our very own Angel in Blue received a highly commended award for her outstanding performance entertaining her fellow scarecrows outside the Horse and Groom Public House.

Eastbourne Bandstand 12th May 2019


The Band made its annual trip to the seaside to play on the Eastbourne Bandstand. It's always a pleasure to play in these beautiful surroundings. The band gave and entertaining and well received performance to a very appreciative and large audience who were able to enjoy the lovely atmosphere as well as the music. As usual we played various styles of music from the traditional to the present day popular music, including favourites from stage and screen.

Warbleton Brass Band Spring Concert 5th May 2019

Warbleton Brass Band would like to thank everyone who attended our Spring Concert and for such warm and appreciative support. This is an annual concert and just one of the many that are given by the band during the course of the year. A big thank you to everyone who dug deep and gave so generously to the retiring collection. We have always believed that as a community band our local concerts should be free. By having a retiring collection we allow the audience to give as little or as much as they are able. We are fortunate to have a B band that incorporates all ages and abilities with the more advanced helping those that are just embarking on their musical journey. The B band performed a selection of Beatles classics to show how well they have progressed as a group.

West Hoathly Church Concert

28th April 2019

St Margaret's Church in West Hoathly was the venue for our first concert of the year. This beautiful 15th century church provided fantastic acoustics for such a wide range of musical genres. Anyone's expectations that the music would be subdued and behind the times was soon dispelled with the sound of ABBA's greatest hits, Elton John and even AC/DC. It wasn't all rock and pop as the program also included popular music from Les Miserable and Schindlers List. We finished with the Sussex anthem to remind everyone that Sussex was once a united County and is of course.........by the sea.

The band would like to wish everyone a happy and successful 2019.
Warbleton Brass Band has enjoyed a busy 2018 with 24 public and 3 private engagements. The band prides itself on the money it donates to worthy charities throughout the year and wish to thank everyone who supported the band to make 2018 a great success. We hope to see you all in 2019.
2018 has also seen the training band grow significantly with many now regularly playing in the main band and hope this progression will continue into 2019. January is a perfect time for any budding musicians to take the first step to learning a lifelong skill. We welcome everybody regardless of ability, even if you have never played before. We are fortunate to have a professional music teacher to guide you through the learning process, with the help of experienced musicians and the loan of an instrument we will show you that with practice and determination you will soon be playing with confidence.
We offer this experience free of charge.
you can either ring Sian on 01273 493469 or message through our contact page.

COPING WITH COVID

A bands eye view


13th March 2020 We were all looking forward to practice when an Email arrived saying:

 

"Just to let you know we have cancelled tonight’s rehearsal in light of the current situation. We have quite a few vulnerable people either in or connected to the band so we don’t want to run the risk of anything being passed on. Our ‘closeness’ is lovely most of the time but doesn’t suit the requirements at the moment. Keep an eye out for weekly updates.

Take care everyone and keep practicing!!

Sian"

 

This was not an easy last minute decision but with little time to discuss the fast moving situation safety had to take priority. Over the weekend the committee was able to take stock of the situation, and with the ever changing advice from Brass Band England and the Government the committee concluded we could practice, but with exceptions and precautions, so at 11.35am on Monday 16th an email was sent to everyone:

 

"I am sure you have all been watching the news and are all aware that the current COVID-19 outbreak guidance is changing frequently. The band committee have been discussing the situation in great detail and have been taking advice from those in the know. 

 

It has been agreed to continue with rehearsals until the Dunn Village Hall closes its doors or the guidelines change with regard to public gatherings. We are, however, requesting those with any underlying or long term illness not to attend. This should also include anyone over 70 as the new guidelines will soon be requesting self isolation for those in this category.

 

The Spring concert has been cancelled so there is no pressure for anyone to attend rehearsals, we will be just 'having a blow' to keep the continuity of rehearsals going so we cannot stress enough that attendance is 100% voluntary. It has been suggested that we should also consider putting our own stand up and then being responsible for taking it home and keeping it as our personal stand until such a time we can go back to normal ways. The other option, of course, is for everyone to bring their own stand. Players could also choose to bring wipes to clean the stands.

 

Looking ahead at the planned concerts, we do have a social responsibility not only to our members but their families and the public we engage with. Given that the situation we currently face is only going to escalate over the coming weeks and we do not know if we will be able to continue meeting to rehearse, along with cancelling the Spring Concert we will not attend the VE Day event. Perhaps by the end of May, things might be different regarding outside events and public gatherings...? We are not sure what the Eastbourne Bandstand will choose to do at this time.

 

We, as a committee on behalf of the band, propose WBB takes the following action -

Main band only continues to rehearse, but attendance is 100% voluntary. We will start at 7.45pm but finish 9.30pm to allow time for cleaning.

B band members who normally stay on are welcome for the first section as normal.

Under 18's must be supervised with regard to ensuring hand washing etc 

 

As a band, we ensure that anyone in the above category requests and receives any support they require especially with food shopping, prescription collection etc.

 

A disinfectant gel is provided immediately as you go through the 2nd door into the hall.

We try to spread the chairs out if possible to minimise 'bodily contact'. 

 All the above will be reviewed on a weekly basis to incorporate and assure adherence to the latest policy and advice

Hopefully this is all acceptable to you and look forward to seeing some of you on Friday.

It is a very frustrating time for everyone but health comes first.  If we are all sensible we can continue with the things we like to do.

Take care

Sian"

 

At that time no one could have realised just how quickly the situation would change. Social media was alive with advice from every quarter. The Government, Brass Band England and Facebook pages such as 4barsrest.com were all trying to grapple with a situation that was clearly evolving at a pace. As the day progressed, bands across the country were taking the decision to cancel rehearsals until it was felt safe to return. It was at this point and with great sadness the band received a second email at 21.52 16th March 2020:  

  

"It is with great sadness we have to cancel all rehearsals with immediate effect.  If you read the following article https://www.bbe.org.uk/news/ 15032020-0022/bbe-statement- the-covid-19-pandemic.  It will explain everything.  Bands are cancelling by the dozen as we speak.  Please do keep looking at your music, or other music if you left your folder in the hall.  As soon as the situation changes we will be up and running faster than you can imagine.

 

Take care and keep in contact so we don't forget each other.

Sian"

 

We didn't realise just how long this journey would be. We all knew how serious the situation was when the country started to close down and that included our precious Dunn Hall. The whole country was in shock as many were now either furloughed or working from home. There were several key workers in our band and despite the national lockdown they carried on working.

 

It wasn't long before Facebook pages such as Bored Bandsman appeared with jokes quizzes and stories to keep everyone entertained. Facebook was the go to place for information. Then came the saviour of the banding world ZOOM. I'm sure many had never heard of zoom before the shutdown but our band saw zoom as a way of keeping everyone in touch.  Zoom was very new to us all so we started testing its limits. It was decided that we would all play our parts at home hoping it would replicate the sound of the rehearsal room!  It was at this point we encountered a few problems, and when I say a few I mean a lot!  With some on their PC others on tablets or phones the differing quality of camera, microphone and wifi speed, we realised we had breached Zooms capability. But as a band we gave it a go. It was at this point we decided we would replace our Friday night rehearsal with a Zoom quiz and a natter. Each member in turn would set the questions for our quiz so topics were extremely varied as our youngest member being 12 and our eldest being in their 80's. Sian also set a Theory Quiz to test everyone's knowledge of that side of music?

 

Several bands across the country realised that with the correct software, patience and an expert editor you could create very good online music with everyone playing in their own homes. This of course produced some very inventive and amusing participants. Let's hope Warbleton will soon be in their ranks.

 

The one repeated message to the band was:

 

"Keep in touch everyone and if anyone needs anything especially if you are confined to barracks then shout, there is always someone willing to help."

 

June saw the lockdown begin to ease, so there was hope that the band could once again meet in the flesh. It was agreed across the banding community that following the guidelines set out by Brass Band England that bands could meet to play, but only in groups of 6 and only outside. With this information the band was asked if they would like to take part. The response was overwhelming. With 15 players wanting to be involved Sian and Martin decided to see if playing would be possible.

 

"This is purely an experiment and if it is successful then we know we can hopefully have a blow together on a regular basis."

 

We are very lucky to have a member with a farm so on Sunday 14th June the band were playing together again albeit only groups of 6, socially  distanced in the middle of a field.

 

The logistics of 3 different groups over an afternoon while still adhering to strict social distancing and cleaning protocols was difficult but achievable, so a date was set for our next meeting.

 

Sian and Martin sorted everyone into groups of 5/6 and given strict allotted times. Music was sent electronically and on Sunday  28th June we held our second practice. It maybe baby steps but at least we can now see a light at the end of the tunnel. It's probably a good time to mention, several of our members are still isolating and are unable to be a part of our small groups. One of these members is Jean our longest serving member. It was decided that following our practice a group of 6 would play for Jean in her garden taking great care to remain socially distanced. It was very emotional for Jean who has been self isolating since March.

 

"At this time, unfortunately the B band  is having to wait a little longer, as it will take a bit more organising, but rest assured the B band has not been forgotten. You are a fundamental part of our band and it's been great you have been able to join the regular zoom chat each Friday. We look forward to playing as an ensemble again as soon as we can safely organise a venue. In the meantime take care and keep practicing. Sian."

 

From the 17th July It was decided that we would alternate weekly playing on the farm and our weekly quiz and natter. There are still members who are isolating and so we thought it important to allow these members an opportunity to stay in touch through our Friday Zoom.

 

29th August 2020, good news at last the government have lifted some of their restrictions and Brass Band England have given the green light to practice indoors again.

 

"At the moment this will only affect the main band.  The B band will be restarted once regular rehearsals are put in place.

 

As most of you will know by now, the government has relaxed the rules with regard to bands getting back together.  We can now play indoors or outdoors, any number as long as we are socially distanced and tight restrictions are put in place with safety in mind.

 

Our usual hall is, at the moment, closed for redecoration and intends to open early October.  We are not sure how many players we can fit in there so it needs to be measured/paced out once we know how much space we need.  We are going to go to Herstmonceux Village Hall as we know this is big enough to space out adequately.  We cannot stress enough that this is totally voluntary and no one is being pressured to attend.  There will be rules with regard to spacing out chairs, using your own stands, not sharing music, wiping down your equipment etc

 

We are going to take it slowly with regards to getting back together regularly so we propose trying Friday 11th September as a trial evening.  Measuring out the space and seeing if it is feasible to do.  We ask all players to bring their own stands (there will be some spares available), bringing a cloth/towel for the floor area around you, bring wipes/sanitizer for your own use.  YOU are responsible for your own health and safety.

 

The band has done a risk assessment and the hall will have been thoroughly cleaned  before we arrive.

 

The small group playing has been fantastic.  A huge thanks to Peter for use of his field/barn, we couldn't have done it without him. It has kept most members playing and has been great to see people 'in the flesh'.  A great morale booster. These will continue until the weather says otherwise.  We will perhaps alternate them with Friday night full band rehearsals. We don't have any concerts/engagements lined up for this year so we can just get together and have a blow.

 

Thanks to everyone for their input over these last six months, it has been a very interesting time but I think we have all coped very well and hopefully we can return to some normality soon.  We hope we have not lost anyone from the band, I know a lot of bands have suffered greatly, some even closing down permanently.  Thanks to those who helped run the zoom sessions, quiz nights and the ensembles.

 

I hope I have covered everything but if there are any questions, suggestions, complaints(!) etc please don't hesitate to shout .....at me!

See you soon

Sian"

 

The response to the news was overwhelming and a heart-warming reflection on all the efforts Sian, Martin and the committee has put in to keeping the band together, either through Zoom or small group playing.  Apart from a few vulnerable members the whole band was keen to get back together.

 

Well that was shot lived. 9th September 2020

Following a surge of covid-19 cases across the country Prime Minister Boris Johnson came to the podium to announce the country was back to groups of 6 again. One saving grace was this time it's not restricted to outdoors, prompting Sian to Email:

 


"As you might be aware there was an update by the PM today with regard to gatherings.  We are back down to groups of 6 from Monday.  With this in mind, what is your feeling with regard to rehearsing this Friday?  Legally we are allowed to get together as the new rulings don't come into force until 14th.  Please let me know your feelings asap so we can decide whether we are going to go ahead or not.

Thanks Sian"

 

The response was mixed but safety had to be the priority when making any decision.

 

10th September 2020 

"I have had several emails plus a few discussions and it is generally felt that the sensible decision would be to cancel Friday night.  I know we were all excited about getting back together as a large group again but the new guidelines, although not effective until Monday, do highlight the increase in the infection rate so we should not continue with such a large group. Rest assured we will return to the small groups again in the field or barn?  I promise I will sort some different music for the folders!! I will provisionally book the Saturday 19th for the next get together on the farm. I will be in touch.

Take care

Sian"

 

As no one is sure when the restrictions will last it was decided to provisionally book the larger hall in Herstmonceux for the 25th September. But no sooner had that decision been made when the guidelines were changed again, so reluctantly Sian sent us all the following Email:

 

23rd September 2020 

"With so much 'can we, can't we' going on at the moment, following the latest restrictions, it was agreed to cancel this Friday's rehearsal at Herstmonceux.  As it looks like these guidelines/rules will be in place for the long term, we will be having a committee meeting to discuss/plan where we go from here.  

Rest assured we will do everything we can to ensure we continue playing in some kind of capacity, after all, we are one of the few bands who seem to have done anything at all since March!!

Our own hall is opening next week so the weather won't need to be a deciding factor.

Sorry for all the uncertainty but we need to do what is right, legally and morally, as the band's reputation depends on it.

 

Watch this space Sian"

 

26th September 2020 We all want to say good news at last, but we've already been there and been disappointed. Sian has divided the band into two groups. Stone House Group and Marklye Group. 13 players in each group. With the reopening of Dunn Hall and with smaller groups we can now return to our own hall. With all that in mind Sian sent the following Email:

   

"Following the latest guidelines it is now possible to hold full band rehearsals BUT we have decided to keep the risk down as much as possible.  After much discussion we are going to trial the following.

 

Two bands of 12 brass plus percussion.  One band per Friday night i.e. each group fortnightly.

Everyone has their own music and does not share with any other person.

There will be a long list of do's and don'ts coming out soon but firstly I need to know who is definitely up for attending.

 

Please let me know asap if you are/are not up for fortnightly rehearsals in our hall, with all safety measures in place etc Friday evenings. 

 

We are aiming to start next Friday 2nd October but this will depend on how long it takes to prepare everything i.e. music, player positions, COVID safety measures etc

 

As we have said before, we cannot stress enough that there is absolutely no pressure for you to attend and you are responsible for yourself at all rehearsals even though all safety protocols, where possible, will be followed.

 

This is purely a trial for a few weeks to see how things go and of course it could all be shut down at any time should the guidelines/rules be changed.

 

+++B BAND+++

You have not been forgotten.  As soon as we have sorted the main band out on a regular basis, we will discuss what can be done to start the B Band up again.  Please keep practicing and shout if you need any more copies of tunes to play.

 

Thanks Sian"

 

2nd October 2020 Stone House Group enjoyed their first full rehearsal, and Marklye on the 9th October.


Both groups are hoping to record a festive tune or two and will be posted on our Website and Facebook page in time for Christmas. Provided the restrictions don't change there is a chance some small groups will be out and about playing festive music nearer to Christmas.


4th November 2020 Closed again

Well after 5 weeks of playing we thought we were on our way to a normal practice with a full band, but, 2020 had yet another sting in its tail. On Friday 2nd October the Government announced that from midnight on the 4th November England will be in a second lockdown. The lockdown is for 1 month, but I'm sure we will all be waiting to see if our restrictions will be lifted in December.

The new guidance means the Dunn Village Hall would close and the band will not meet again until, fingers crossed Friday 4th December.


17th November 2020, despite all our hopes, we have been served yet another blow. We are now moving into a tier system. As from the 3rd December we are back to groups of six and only outdoors. The only ray of light is we will still be able to play carols, but only in groups of 6 and comply with the strict social distancing. Everyone is now resigned to the fact we will not be back to practice even in our newly formed groups until 2021.


The 3rd of December arrives and with Christmas fast approaching the band has been forced to cancel any plans to be out and about playing carols. Sian is determined the band will be heard so we all wait to see her Christmas plans.


8th December the announcement to the band that Warbleton Brass Band are going mobile! A member of the band and his family have kindly offered to supply a trailer to allow a small group to play carols. The trailer is to be decorated to bring a bit of Christmas cheer to the surrounding towns and villages. It's been announced that it will be on the 19th and 20th of December. We now await location and route?


14th December we now have a list of places we will be visiting........ SATURDAY 19 December, 2pm Heathfield High Street, 3.30pm Punnetts Town Recreation Ground, 4.30pm Rushlake Green, 5.30pm. Windmill Hill , 6.30pm Merrie Harriers, Cowbeech. SUNDAY 20 December, 12pm Chilley Farm, Hailsham, 1.30pm Hilliers, Stone Cross, 3pm KFC/Tesco area, Hailsham, 4.30pm Rushlake Green, 6pm Bodle Street Green. Anyone wishing to enjoy the festive music has been advised that face masks must be worn and social distancing observed.


Well you would have thought by now we would have learnt that that chink of light at the end of the tunnel is only a mirage put there to torment. Friday 18th December we wait with baited breath to hear the governments new announcement on their new tier 4. If Sussex is moved to tier 4 as is widely predicted all the efforts to bring Winter Wonderland to an audience will have been for nothing.


Good news we remain in tier 2 so it's all go for our Winter Wonderland trailer.


The 19th and 20th of December was a great success, everyone who came out to see us wore masks and followed the social distancing guidelines.

With the new variant of Covid-19 becoming more prevalent and a normal Christmas cancelled we all now wait to see what 2021 brings us?


26th December 2020. Tier 4. Any chance of getting back together has now gone, well at least until covid is back under control. The one consolation of us not moving to Tier 4 until Boxing Day was we were able to play carols on our mobile Winter Wonderland Trailer. This was the first time since March we played in front of an audience. Sadly the audience was greatly diminished, socially distanced and wearing face coverings.........very surreal.

 

England went into full lockdown on Tuesday, January 5 2021. The nationwide order replaced the four-tier system of restrictions which was in place across England. I'm sure Sian and Martin were already aware the tier system meant there would be no playing of any kind.......but encase they may have felt that little glimmer at the end of the tunnel gave everyone hope the lockdown has switched that little light off.

 

16th March 2021, our band reached a sad milestone. It is one year on from the devastating events that forced us to close our doors. Sadly we are still closed, however, With the roll out of the vaccine program and the governments roadmap to lifting restrictions there is real hope that we will be able to resume playing this summer?  As the restrictions are lifted we will have the opportunity to begin a staged return, playing initially in small groups of 6 outside, and everything goes to plan we hope to see the small group expand to the full band as the restrictions are lifted further.


4th April 2021, the band can meet again. Unfortunately only as a group of 6 and outside. Sian now has a problem? She has almost a full band that are keen to get back to playing. As usual Sian and martin have created a clever schedule that will allow everyone to enjoy an hour's playing before the seats are cleaned ready for when the next group arrive. Everyone brings their own stand and music and understands the strict social distancing and cleaning rules. I don't think the band can thank Sian and Martin enough for all the hard work they have put in to achieve a balanced schedule while complying with all the current guidelines.


14th May 2021, this will hopefully be our last practice in a barn?!! Now we have some good news. Sian has informed the band that the practice on the 4th June will be a full band rehearsal in Herstmonceux Village Hall. Friday the 21st and 28th of May will be in the Dunn Hall........but due to the size of the hall and social distancing still being in force the band will be split in two, Stone House Group and Marklye Group. It is anticipated that by the end of June we can resume normal practice in our own Dunn Village Hall by the end of June.....Fingers Crossed.


14th June 2021. Boris gives us the sad news that the last lifting of restrictions is now postponed until the 19th July 2021. Well I suppose we should be used to everything not going to plan by now but it still comes as a blow!!! It looks like we won't be returning to the Dunn Village Hall as a full band  until the end of July? Fortunately we are able the continue practicing in the Herstmonceux Village Hall albeit still following those strict covid Guidelines.


16th July 2021. It looks like we are one step closer to the Dunn Village Hall. Today we are playing in Peters field. Let's hope the next time we play here it will be during better times as a social event without government restrictions.

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23rd July 2021. The day we have all looked forward to. After more than 16 Months, the first full band rehearsal in our own Dunn Village Hall. We still need to take precautions but this time we are in control. Sian has asked that members should take a test prior to practice and a one way system, masks and hand sanitisation are still in place......but we are back.

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27th August 2021. With our first public engagement on the Eastbourne Bandstand on the 29th and our B band are back practicing we are looking forward with optimism that things in the band are now back to a new normal.


5th December 2021. We all thought our 2021 Christmas concert was going to be free of all covid restrictions, but with the emergence of the omicron variant of Covid 19 we have found ourselves taking a few steps backwards. Sian asked everyone to wear masks when not playing and that the tables were sufficiently spread to allow for social distancing. At least our carolling will be outside...cold but less risk.

 

All our thanks go to Our MD Sian and Our Principle Cornet Martin for all their hard work over the last 22 months. It is because of their dedication and hard work the band remained positive and active throughout some very difficult times. Thanks must also go to our very active committee who have had to try and make sense of the very fast moving guidelines that seemed to change daily at times.

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