Daily Prompt: The Outsiders
Tel us about the experience of being outside, looking in — however you’d like to interpret that.
The night was a cool Autumn evening. September 2012 to be precise.
I had been appointed as the new conductor at Todmorden Community Band and I was due to take up my post in a week’s time but to get a feel for the band and the people there I decided to a week early while the leaving conductor was still there.
My husband and my son were with me for moral support, but I still felt like I was an outsider. For one I am not a local – I am from Manchester (about 25 miles away and in Lancashire….Todmorden is in Yorkshire), and another I didn’t know anyone in the band. Usually, when people move between bands it is because of a request from someone they know, or because they have gone along to “help out” previously but this was different. I was appointed because I knew someone who knew someone who knew I wasn’t playing at the time and who had seen me conduct another band, so this was a brand new endeavour with brand new people.
We pulled up outside the bandroom (once we’d found it with the help of a lad who happened to be walking down the street carrying a cornet case and we’d picked him up – yes, Todmorden is that safe even a stranger can offer a lift and it isn’t questioned!) and it was with a great deal of trepidation I approached the door.
Now, I have been in bands pretty much all my life and I must have been in more rehearsal venues than I can count both as a player and as a dep, so this shouldn’t have been so daunting. But blimey I was nervous!
I could hear sounds of warming up and some percussion being bashed about, and there was someone stood on the top step smoking a pipe. He had a long white beard and looked not unlike Gandalf’s younger brother. I was very relieved to realise that I recognised him as David, a teacher I knew and played with in the music centre brass band back in the 1980’s. Phew!
We went in through the door and it was a bit like when the stranger walks into the saloon in the wild west. Everything stopped…and everyone looked…. gulp.
And then there was an explosion of smiles and greetings and welcomes and hellos, which was wonderful.
I can honestly say that I was an “outsider” for all of about 5 seconds, but ever since I have felt one of the family at Todmorden Band. They are a great bunch of people and they have welcomed me and my family into their collective bosom with open arms.
I’m so glad I didn’t let the feeling of being an outsider stop me from going through that bandroom door on that first day because we have had a great time and had some great laughs along the way (usually at my ineptitude with the stick or my wandering left eye) and we are looking forward to a very exciting 2014. We have got some fascinating engagements lined up, including playing when the Tour de France has its Grande Depart on 5th July and a special anniversary parade with the Lancashire Fusiliers later on.
We re-start rehearsals tomorrow night after our Christmas break and I can’t wait!!