Unusual Band Engagements

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Al, Jan 1, 2003.

  1. Al

    Al Member

    I wonder what engagements bands do that are special to them, such as to celebrate local traditions etc. or just unusual concerts.

    For example, I know of a countryside band that plays a carol concert in a tiny little remote chapel that still celebrates Old Christmas Day (6th of January) according to the Julian Calendar. Everywhere else of course eventually changed their dates but this remote spot just never did!

    I understand its a great little concert and a good excuse for a get together and a tea party after all the "normal" Christmas/New Year festivities.

    It would be great to hear what other bands do throughout the year.
  2. Fishsta

    Fishsta Active Member

    My old band, Standish, did a "Dickensian Day" in December every year, where they had a Charles Dickens' style market, with all the trimmings... outfits, bell-ringers, and the band all kitted out for winter...

    Definitely one of the more unusual events. We once got Va'aiga Tuigamala (Inga the Winger, Wigan Rugby League several years ago) to conduct.
  3. cornetgirl

    cornetgirl Active Member

    One band I played for used to play for the opening of every Santa's Grotto in the stores in the local area owned by our sponsor. This tended to start earlier every year and the all time classic was one November when Santa appeared in the Batmobile with Batman! The top line of Jingle Bells disappeared as we cornets were the first to see him arriving and promptly dissolved in hysterics!

    The other unusual engagement I've done as a soloist involved being a work of art and wearing a drapy thing and occasionally playing cornet in a small room while people looked through the window!!!!!! Sounds a lot dodgier than it actually was and I got decent cash for it!! :D
  4. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    the weirdest jobs I have done are playing colonel bogey up and down a canal towpath on my own to signal the start of a duck race!!!........... and I have also played for an Indian wedding where we marched from the grooms house, he was on a big white horse and his relatives threw money in front of us!........ when we saw the video, they had dubbed the band with Indian music, it looked really stange!
  5. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    doesn't sound dodgy at all! :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
  6. stephen2001

    stephen2001 Member

    Playing at the Millennium Done, although not with a Brass Band was an experience and a half!

    Again, not brass banding, playing at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham to a sell out was cool.

    I think the weirdest concert venue I've played in a brass band is at Peashome Park, Scarborough. The bandstand is in the middle of a lake, about 40m from the audience, and the only way to get to it is by boat! Boy the logistics for that one are fun!!
  7. Heather

    Heather Member

    I remember when I played for Eagley Band in Bolton we had to do a recording for a play staged at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.
    Our music was background music, the only problem being we had to play badly!!!
    The theatre staff had a problem with us because we sounded too good!
    I can't remember how many times we recorded it because it just wasn't bad enough!
    We all got free tickets for the play and you can imagine us all trying to stifle our laughter when we heard ourselves play!
  8. Fishsta

    Fishsta Active Member

    Yeah, I heard about that park... my parents heard Stape Silver there when they went on holiday earlier this year. They said it was one of the oddest locations for a bandstand they'd ever seen!

    You'tr a bit knackered if you suddenly need the bathroom, though? :D
  9. cornetgirl

    cornetgirl Active Member

    I did Peashome Park too.... interesting venue but I don't like water overmuch so I spent most of the afternoon trying not to shake too much! My mother gave the gig a complete miss - she possesses a very dodgy bladder and the sight of too much water and no way out was too much for her!!! :lol:
  10. Another local band were short of a solo cornet for a job which was meant to be on a float following the carnival through the town, when the 'float' turned up it was actually a pick-up truck, I'm not the most agile of people in the world so I ended up being manhandled to get on and off the truck by two of the band members, luckily for me I wasn't the only one, it was a really good day actually and we all had a laugh about it, I'd do it again if the opportunity ever arises!!!
  11. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Not so much an unusual job, but the mention of carnival processions reminded me of taking part in Coventry Carnival with the then Coventry Festival Band. It was a blistering hot day, so we took the (very welcome!) decision to march in shirt-sleeve order, and enjoyed a pleasant afternoon, all in all. Perhaps the best part was seeing the Life Guards band sweltering in helmets and riding boots, even if they did only have to do half the march, joining when the procession reached the city centre.

    Amongst the oddest jobs I have done were providing a marching display and interval music at a speedway competition at Wembley Stadium, and taking part in a cultural exchange visit to Caens in a party consisting of a brass band, a team of morris dancers and a basketball team - at least they didn't want us to present any massed items!
  12. Di B

    Di B Member

    One of the best yet most unusual jobs I have done was a recent Christmas Concert. We were actually booked to play in a lit Cavern in the evening to play a carol concert to 400+ people!

    Although cold, it was quite amazing to play in a cavern.... and the audience was fab too!

    Oh yeah, the cavern has also recently reverted to its original name. The Devil's Arse...... well..... between me and you I never thought I would see a whole brass band up the Arse! :shock:

    If you don't believe me there is a link to the Devils Arse via our website www.matlockband.co.uk :lol:
  13. twigglet

    twigglet Member

    We played at a Shrewsbury Town Vs Manchester United football match before the match, in the middle of the pitch and got on Sky television hurrah!

    We also play in the square in Shrewsbury at Christmas with real camels, donkeys, a man dressed as an angel, fake snow, a seven foot towncrier who recently appeared on the Weakest link,Shifali from BBC Midlands Today, Pantomime Dames, a Bagpiper.... and it is all broadcast live on radio..........hmmmmmmmm :shock:

  14. Boneman

    Boneman Member

    Our Band once played 'Oh I do like to be beside the seaside' at about 6:30 am in a street in Teflord the middle of Winter !!!

    It was for the Big Breakfast (remember when they used to knock on peoples doors etc - in the days of Chris Evans)
  15. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Mention of unseasonable or inappropriate music reminds me of the occasion when we were standing in the forecourt at Windsor Castle on an Easter Monday (in a year when Easter fell quite late on). We were playing a George Gershwin selection and, just as we started to play "Summertime" the snow began to fall.

    We were also playing for the World Premiere of the film "Moses, the Lawgiver", which was made at around the same time as "The Battle of Britain". It was rather unfortunate that one of the first pieces our musical director chose for us to play was the Luftwaffe March (now more commonly titled Aces High), and this with most of the prominent members of the jewish community in London in the audience.

    We had another close call when it was discovered a couple of days before the arrival of an African head of state, that the music we had received for the anthem was in fact that of their previous, and much-despised regime, which would not have gone down very well, and could have led to a major set-back in diplomatic relations!
  16. bigcol

    bigcol Member


    Five Rivers Brass played at an Indian Wedding a few years back - had to march through Gateshead Civic Centre (inventing a new marching formation to cope with the doors - the herring bone formation!).

    Then we played a couple of numbers before they got married.

    There was 1000's there!!

    We also got fed with curry and chapatis and naans. What a fantastic job.
  17. Owen

    Owen Member

    Strange could include playing whilst the Holly Queen was crowned in Howarth, West Yorkshire. No idea what the event was all about, but I seem to recall it involved playing Hail Smiling Morn over and over again in subzero temperatures!

    We recently played for the installing of the new Bishop of Bradford - cathedral was ankle deep in clergy from the UK and abroad.

    I am certain there must be more! I seem to have played in any number of places where a brassband seemed completely inappropriate!

  18. Portsmouth City Band usuall jobs consist of littlehamptin bonfire festival - thats quite interesting a little march then a long one -which i had the miss fortune 2 do in my wheelchair this year - had to watch out for bumps in the road - didn't do the lip alot of good :?

    And another usuall is Portsmouth Beerex - thats was great last year - the guildhall stage to our selves - hootanany - tom jones collection - it was great 8)

    the training band - which i am also a part of - their jobs mainly consist of old ppl homes at the mo - and half the time they cant hear us or fall asleep ne way- but they keep inviting us back :wink:
  19. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Mention of elderly listeners falling asleep reminds me of one of the first engagements I was involved in with Coventry Festival Band, when we were invited to present a concert at Coventry Deaf Centre. They did assure us that the audience would not all be deaf - at least not before we played, anyway!
  20. Yorkie

    Yorkie Member

    The most unusual job I ever did was with York Railway Institute Band playing on Radio 1 in about 1991/92 on the Simon Bates show as part of a live broadcast that was taking place on the Edinburgh to London train. The Band were booked to be picked up at York around 9.00am and would feature with amongst others, and performing live, Lulu.

    The train pulled in and there is Simon Bates charging down the platform shouting "where's the band, where's the band ...I bet they are in the pub!" this was all going out live on Radio 1. After Simon's terrible attempts at humour we all got on. There was one carriage which had been gutted of seats with all the braodcast equipment in it and set up as a studio. Well I don't know about you but if you have ever tried playing standing up on a fast moving train and in a small space with the acoustic qualities of a well padded prison cell it is an absolute nightmare.

    The piece we had chosen to play was Intercity (possibly Goff Richards?) who were at one time our sponsors. We manged to have a few bars blow through and then we were straight in LIVE! on Radio 1 ...split, splat, splot we bounced along making probably the worst ever brass band sound to feature on national radio but this was our moment of glory. Simon Bates loved it as did the producer ...clearly no aficianado's of what a good band should sound like but never mind. As for Lulu she was really sweet and said we were brilliant...I have been a fan ever since!

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