Christmas Carols round the streets

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by carbon selector, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. carbon selector

    carbon selector New Member

    Well I suppose it is a bit early for Christmas but this is a general thought following on from another thread.

    It seems that many bands these days don't want to trudge around the houses playing under a street light on a cold December evening and see such carol playing as a chore regardless of whether or not the band needs the extra funds. Personally I find carol playing around the streets each year to be an important social event in the community although I know bandsmen who feel they are above playing on the streets and even use the excuse that it is a form of begging.

    Although undoubtedly the atmosphere has changed in modern times as more and more people seem to be grumpy and get upset that the collector ringing the doorbell has interrupted their viewing of Coronation Street or whatever, the vast majority of the public, and especially those with children, look forward to the local brass band playing Christmas carols each year and many feel that it isn't Christmas without the band.

    Shopping centres of course are a different matter, but I wonder how many bands are playing less around the houses these days.
  2. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    Preston, UK
    We will be, and Christmas Eve and Boxing day Morning.

    Players do see it as beneath them though.
  3. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    we play more carols around the streets of burbage than buxton town centre itself. we don't ring peoples door bells they come to us. If you are not seen around the street of your village band, how can you expect the locals to support you the rest of the year?
  4. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    We at KSB havent done it for years and it's probably due to two reasons, firstly as a non-contesting band we don't need the money to fund coaches, entrance fees etc and secondly I find that I'm more likely to get a full/fuller band out for indoor concerts in December.

    We still make the money on the concerts bit perhaps not as much as if we tramped the streets and pubs every night.
  5. Sopman

    Sopman Member

    Richmond, North Yorkshire
    We play around the villages at the top end of Swaledale on Xmas Eve afternoon and evening and out again on Boxing day afternoon, not just walking round the streets (there aren't any in Swaledale), but driving round small villages and farms. We've done this for the last 112 years so reckon if we stopped now, we'd be in trouble!!

    For all we are non-contesting, its a great boost to the bands funds and for the members, an important part of our christmas, it just wouldn't feel like christmas without doing it!

    I guess some people may see it as "Old Fashioned", but I think its an important part of our heritage, and should be encouraged, not just for the money making side, but to help the feeling of community, something that can be lacking these days........
  6. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    Aye - we'll be out Christmas morning and Boxing day round the village as usual!!
  7. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Brighouse, Yorkshire
    I used to quite enjoy doing small, outdoor carolling gigs - particularly around christmas. Haworth main street was a favourite as it was properly old-world. Swap modern clothes for those around a hundred years ago, and things had barely changed from the photos in the pub.

    Plus when you've a small ensemble, everyone's part is really important as they're normally the only one on it, so it's good for encouraging shy players to play up a bit.

    Don't you need a public performance license to go busking on the street though? I know it's different from when you book a venue....
  8. Getzonica

    Getzonica Active Member

    Near portsmouth
    One of my bands spends one night each year playing outside some of the local care homes with a choir. I always look forward to the weeks leading up to Christmas because of caroling. Its one of my highlights of the brass banding year!
  9. flugelgal

    flugelgal Active Member

    I much prefer doing this to standing with a collecting tin somewhere in the town, without playing. It's a huge tradition over here for bands to have these flag days, and I don't agree with it - however it's the tradition, so I don't interfere. I think this is more like begging than playing carols. At least when carolling we're entertaining people!
  10. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    My first Town Band used to go round several estates in the town, and always had a warm response. Shrewton Silver always did this and I remember one household always brought out a lovely mulled wine and mince pies for us... Yummm! :biggrin:
    Crewe Co-op do lots in the local town centres - I'm the one wearing fairy wings and a halo..!
  11. KenIrvin

    KenIrvin Member

    Ashbourne, Derbyshire
    We'll be out in Ashbourne Saturday before and Christmas Eve as well as round the locality during the week in between. This is one of our biggest fund raising periods as we are always well supported by the locals.
  12. bbg

    bbg Member

    We don't go "round the houses" here, but have a busy programme of city centre / Tesco / Chuch and "switching on of lights" jobs from mid-November through to Christmas Eve. The bulk of these are "full band" jobs, playing selections / arrangements rather than carols. Most are fund raising but the most important thing is that the Band enjoy themselves; traditionally some of the younger players are "blooded" on principal parts at these type of jobs.
    Back in my younger days with my home SA band in particular, it was indeed "lamp post to lamp post", five or six times a week throughout December. I reckon that double glazing had a lot to do with the dying out of this tradition - with the heating on, TV turned up and an insulated house, lots of folks couldn't even hear a band never mind be persuaded to stand at their door for a few minutes and listen.
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Hadleigh, Essex
    We do very little street carolling these days, which is a pity in many ways. As we are very much in commuter territory, it would be quite difficult to do anything on weekday evenings, as many folk don't get back from work until 7.30-8pm.

    We also host an event in the local VIth form College (4 performances over one weekend) which is our main evangelistic outreach over the Christmas period, and which takes up considerable rehearsal time.

    We do two Saturdays in shopping centres, one at Sloane Square and one at Brentwood, splitting the band in two, each half doing two sessions each day.
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