Hi all! Leighton (assistant to the Principal 3rd cornet) reporting (pint in hand) from Desford Colliery band room in Coalville where we have just finished our first day of rehearsal and uniform fitting with the full British Open band.
Today was the first time we have played with bass players Phil Johnston and John Mason who have been entertaining the crowds of Europe for the last 8 weeks so it's great to have them here with us. Matt Stein and Dori Raphael have also rejoined us. It's fair to say we didn't put our best foot forward a week and several thousand miles from our last rehearsal, but the maestro was patient(ish) and after blowing some serious cobwebs from the instruments we came back firing after lunch, and 2nd time lucky (what's a bar between friends Callum? Better now than on stage) had a great run through of Triumph. We will be spending the week rehearsing at the famous Desford band rooms - it's a real privilege to be amongst such history and success and we are extremely grateful to Peter Smith and the band for letting us put the polish on the test piece in their great band rooms, and for opening the bar for us to rehydrate at the end.
The new uniforms arrived for our final fitting today too. We have gone back to the more traditional style uniform and sadly (or delightfully) retiring our yellow ties from the contest stage. The uniforms look great (see photos) but I could have done without seeing so much of some of the members trying them on!
We are all looking forward to the band curry tonight (a Wellington Brass pre contest staple) on Birminghams famous Ladypool Road, deep in the heart of the balti triangle - and we are fizzing to have a table in the self proclaimed 6th best curry house in the United Kingdom - who knows, perhaps New Zealand's 4th best folk band will be the entertainment. Curry nights have come with some stress in the past as squeezing 50 odd brass banders often means seating is stretched. But we have organised a special seat for one more precious - I took a photo and attached so he knows which seat is his.
After having the last 2 days off and visiting castles, a bar that was opened in the 1300s, West End shows, canals and many other very English things its been great to get back into the band room and make some awesome music together again. As Phil said to the band after receiving his tie "it's just so great to be making music with this awesome bunch of people".