We had an unusual band job today. Usually, brass bands play in concert halls, park bandstands, in carnivals, in parades, garden fetes and occasionally the odd open topped bus but today’s job was one with a bit of a difference.
First off, to actually get to the venue we had a 90 minute hike uphill to Stoodley Pike above Todmorden.
As quite often happens when a group of people set off hiking together, we began to string out quite quickly and yours truly ended up at the back with a couple of others.
Eventually though, and with time pressing against us, I encouraged them to go on ahead without me. It was more important that they got there than me (I’m only the conductor and there for effect really….) so after about an hour or so I was left on my own to plod my way (slowly) up the hill.
Before long, the summit came in sight. Hurrah!! The band had started without me (only just!) and this is them stood at the foot of the pike playing for the crowds.
We played for about half an hour and then a samba band took over, along with some puppeteers and some people who released 200 homing pigeons.
So why were we up there today?
Well, May 1814 saw a peace treaty being signed with Paris and Stoodley Pike was built in honour of that treaty. There was a monument built straight away, and then this one was built shortly afterwards. There were visitors from France there today – the town of Todmorden is twinned with Ronq and we have several occasions where people from both towns get together to celebrate their relationship. As this year is the 200th anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty and the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI, the decision was made to celebrate up at the Pike. Being part of the town band is a privilege at times like this and it was lovely to see so many people join us on top of the world this afternoon.
Here is me conducting the Todmorden Community Band at the foot of Stoodley Pike. (What you can’t see here is that I had my shoes and socks off after that massive climb!)
And so, like everything in physics, what goes up must come down…
And so after a very energetic journey to and from the venue today, a very traditional end to a brass band gig…. You can’t beat it!
I’m proud of myself for making it up to the top of the hill today and I’m extremely proud of my band for being involved with such an important feature in the town’s calendar today. The band played well and were well received by those sat around listening to us. I think they particularly appreciated us playing the French National Anthem…but not as much as they did when we played our own too!
A definitely unusual band job, but a most definitely an enjoyable one.