Daybook Entry – 18th February 2017


For Today 18th February 2017

Looking out my window… I am looking at a garden that is in serious need of some TLC

I am thinking… about how busy I am going to be for the next 8 days. I am going to be taking part in my first brass band contest for a very long time, and in the first section which I have not played in for even longer than that. The busyness comes from the amount of rehearsal I have to do between now and then, not just the 2 hours each night with the rest of the band but the couple of hours each day on my own practice at home too to make sure I am in tip top condition to the band and the performance justice. I am looking forward to it and dreading it in equal measure to be honest.

I am thankful… for the gift of music.

One of my favourite things… is sharing food on a Saturday with my family and having some good ol’ quality time together.

I am wearing… post-shower comfies.

I am creating… a crocheted blanket for my son’s girlfriend Megan.

I am watching… as I type this, “Despicable Me” is on TV in the background, but something that I have been going out of my way to watch is “No Offence” on Channel 4. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

I am reading… “The Ghosts of Idlewood” by M L Bullock for a bit of light fiction reading, but I am also working my way through Richard Coles’ “Bringing In The Sheaves” and “Being a Priest Today” by Christopher Cocksworth and Rosalind Brown.

 

I am listening to… Meatloaf a lot at the minute. I was at my cousin’s partner’s funeral last week and we listened to “Paradise in the Dashboard Light” as part of the service. It spurred me on to revisiting some of the tracks I used to listen to a while back and that I’d not realised I hadn’t listened to for a while.

I am hoping… to hear from the bank soon about a proposal we made to them about our future finances. If they don’t agree in writing then we are going to be seriously up against the wall and will more than likely lose our home. It is a tense time.

I am learning… that even when you do things right, and that you obey the rules, when you’re at the mercy of big corporations who can change the goalposts on a whim then it doesn’t matter how much you comply, you will still lose.

In the kitchen… we are having burritos for tea tonight. Probably not too authentic but tasty and a great way to share food with the family regardless of accuracy!

Board Room… I so need this! Time management skills from Joanna Kay

Shared Quote…

I thought the sparrow’s note from heaven,
Singing at dawn on the alder bough;
I brought him home in his nest at even;–
He sings the song, but it pleases not now;
For I did not bring home the river and sky;
He sang to my ear; they sang to my eye.

From “Each and All” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
A moment from my week…

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View from the PamCam at rehearsal one night this week. Contest next Sunday in Blackpool …. gulp!

Post Script…

I was caught up in the aftermath of a crash on the M60  on Tuesday this week (video link below – apologies for the advert beforehand, I can’t control that). I had dropped my husband off at work so I could have use of the car to get me to an important meeting about my future training in the church. Fortunately for all concerned in the incident there were no serious injuries or fatalities, but unfortunately for me, I was sat in the car for about half an hour and very nearly had to visit the Bishop’s office still dressed in my pyjamas!

It’s funny how one careless action by one person could have so many consequences that cannot be foreseen or even dreamt of when they do it.

http://players.brightcove.net/2540076170001/Ey9zhZNae_default/index.html?videoId=5326870000001

 

January Daybook


simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 11th January 2017

Looking out my window… I can see clear blue skies, but I can hear the wind howling and there is a storm on its way.

I am thinking… I might cook cheesy bacon pasta for tea tonight.

I am thankful… that mental health in young people is taken seriously.

One of my favourite things… is driving with my son to band practice and having a natter about all sorts of things, both big and small.

I am creating… this little beauty. I began it during the evening on Boxing Day (for my non-UK readers, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day) and it is going to be used when we go away in our caravan this summer.

Rectangle blanket based on the traditional "granny" stitch, using rainbow colours. Three repeats of the individual colours followed by three rows of each colour afterwards. Just starting the blue three now and hopefully will finish it this weekend.
Rectangle blanket based on the traditional “granny” stitch, using rainbow colours. Three repeats of the individual colours followed by three rows of each colour afterwards. Just starting the blue three now and hopefully will finish it this weekend.

I am wearing… layers, layers and layers today. The heating is on but I’m bone-cold.

I am reading… “The Coroner (Coroner: Jenny Cooper Series)” by M R Hall

I am watching… The BDO World Championships on TV this week. I love watching the darts, and the BDO suits me because it is not as high-powered or glitzy as the PDC competitions. Darts are good to crochet to as I can listen and only half watch the TV as I’m concentrating on the yarn in my hands.

I have been listening to… Pemberton Old Band rehearsing for a competition this weekend in Skegness. My son plays bass trombone for them and I sometimes give him a lift to rehearsals. I have enjoyed the experience of being a groupie rather than a player since he started playing with them, and it makes a refreshing change for me to hear a piece of music being crafted into a performance piece to contest level by a band of this calibre. They are in the First Section (one level down from the Championship Section but working on their way back up) and they are a level above where I played with Middleton Band before I stopped playing.

I am hoping… my brother recovers quickly from his surgery yesterday.

I am learning… to trust my instinct.

In my kitchen… I have been making the effort to cook proper meals from scratch. We have a limited food budget and sometimes it can be a challenge to eat healthily all the time, and I have been enjoying the challenge of finding recipes and dishes that we can eat to fill us up, fill us up healthily, fill us up healthily and inexpensively.

Board room… we are looking at the story of Jonah and the Whale for our next Messy Church and I really want to do this activity with the children:

Post Script: I found this site (Strategies for dealing with change) when I was looking for something to help someone I love who is going through some really difficult, anxious times. I found this picture, and thought it would be great to share with you too. Please visit the host site for more like this.

 

Shared Quote…
strong-roots

Closing Notes… I began this post this morning, about 12 hours ago (which is why I said the sky is clear blue and not the midnight black it is now) and today has been another one that has been packed with drama, fun, music, family, planning, crafting and laughter. I thank God that my life is so varied and that it is filled with so many people who stimulate me in so many different ways. I have to say that being a mum is challenging at the minute, and I trust God to see us through the particular storm we are weathering just now. I am grateful to my friends who visited today too – a bit of a giggle and a chat with people you love goes a long way to making things feel better! And music. Ah music. Where would I be without you? Laughing with Ethan and Megan in the car going to band rehearsal tonight and having fun finding music that we all like. Fortunately all three of us have similar musical taste and we enjoyed a great 45 minutes each way listening to all sorts of stuff, from First Class’ “Beach Baby”, to the cast recording of songs from “Sweet Charity”, by way of Glen Campbell and his “Rhinestone Cowboy” (with alternative words, courtesy of yours truly) and a bit of “Hairspray” to finish with. You definitely can’t stop the beat if you’re travelling with the Pamster at the minute!

 

 

Bikers, Bells and Band


It has been one of “those” days today. You know the ones, where randomness happens throughout the day and you just have to shake your head and say, “well, that was a bit good!”

Well my day has been a bit like that.

First of all I went to Stay and Play this morning and saw absolute genius in action. One of our mums is blind, and she has managed her baby very well with the help of either her own mum or a carer who was there to help guide her around and to make sure that the baby was always looked after. The baby has now grown up a little bit and is toddling around quite happily on her own two feet, but today, the mum came without the aid of either her mum or her carer, instead relying on the help of one of the other mums (a friend of hers anyway) to get her into the church hall and to get her seated and so on. The genius bit was this:

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A set of jingle bells round the little girl’s ankle so that her mum could hear where she was in the hall and could track her movements easily. We were all astounded at how such a simple thing could mean such a lot – that not only could the mum enjoy some independence, but that the baby could also enjoy running around without getting too far away from mum. Of course there are always lots of people watching out and interacting with the mums and tots in the group so there would never be any real danger, but how’s that for a stroke of genius to help them both enjoy a bit of living!

Nature was also having a bit of genius this morning too. How’s about these couple of beauties?

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Still reeling from the gorgeous skies and cold, crisp air, came a demonstration of something deeply moving. At about 12 o’clock, there was an almighty roar of engines going past the church hall as a big group of bikers made their way noisily up the main road. About 15 minutes or so later, they all came back again, this time doubled in number, going half the speed and leading out a hearse and a funeral cortege down towards the crematorium. The flowers on top of the coffin were in the shape of a motorbike, and the flowers down the side of the hearse spelled out BROTHER in black flowers. What a sight, and what a gesture to witness. Here is a video of the tail end of the procession so you can see for yourself.

Then this evening, I had the utmost pleasure and privilege to sit and listen to the Pemberton Old Band as they were put through their paces at a rehearsal for an upcoming contest. I have been going there for the last couple of months with Ethan, who is playing bass trombone for them, and I have heard the piece they are playing take shape and get generally better and better each week. The band has a great sound and tonight they were pushed to really play proper pianissimo and fortissimo, which was fantastic to hear. There are another couple of rehearsals to go before the contest at the end of the month, and it promises to be a great performance. Looking forward to it.

So there you have it, a couple of things that have made up my day today. Random? Or simply a reflection of the eclectic life I have?!

Either way, today has been a good one.

 

 

Daybook Entry – 13th July


8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 13th July

Outside my window… there is still a trace of blue in the sky and it has gone 11pm

I am thinking… about the juxtaposition of tragedy and celebration today

I am thankful… that I have a ministry in the church

I am praying for… Millie’s family, Alfie and his mum, the children of Pike Fold School who came to Messy Church today

I am wearing… my hair loose for a change

I am creating… a jacket for myself. I have cut out the pattern pieces and the fabric for the lining, but I haven’t plucked up the courage to cut out the fabric for the jacket itself yet. I’m letting my knees recover before I get down on the floor to do that!

I am going… to take my son shopping for clothes tomorrow for his band trip to Italy next week

I am wondering… when his passport will arrive

I am reading… I’m in between books at the moment having finished “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult yesterday afternoon, but I did read a short story by Neil Gaiman last night called “Odd and the Frost Giants” which was brilliant. I don’t usually read fantasy stories, but this one was a great read and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a satisfying read for half an hour or so

I am hoping… I don’t miss the delivery man tomorrow who is going to be bringing me my Dad’s birthday present in the post. I’m hoping my Dad likes it too

I am learning… that the human spirit is probably the toughest substance in the universe

In my garden… we have lavender, strawberries, thyme and parsley growing on the deck and the smell is divine

In my kitchen… we had a bit of a concoction for tea tonight – mushrooms, courgettes, yellow peppers, red onions in a tomato sauce with gnocchi. Not bad for a knocked-together quick meal

A favourite quote for today…

Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

A peek into one of my days…

Dragon in the sky tonight
Dragon in the sky tonight

One of my favourite things… is seeing children singing and dancing in church

Post Script:

It has been a very trying time for me and my family recently and we have survived yet another storm in our lives. It has felt like life was giving us a bit of a kicking but we are on the up again now and looking forward to a couple of things this month now. First of all, Ethan is going away with the music centre for a few days’ concert tour in Italy next week then it will be our 25th wedding anniversary the week after. A few days after that we are planning on going camping although Emma won’t be with us this time and she is staying at home. She has been working away at a High Adventure camp for the past six weeks and between you and me, I think she’s a bit fed up of tents and sleeping bags at the minute! Our change in outlook is because of a couple of things that have come together at the same time and it has made things altogether feel better, even if they haven’t actually solved the problem. With prayer and faith, and the grace of God extended to us through our friends, life is feeling a lot happier and we have some things to look forward to now.

 

 

Crossing That Finishing Line


I am really REALLY pleased to be able to share with you some good news, and that is that I have got confirmation that I have been awarded my degree today. I want to say I’m proud but to be honest I am more relieved than proud at the moment!

I am now permitted to use the title ‘Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Humanities with Creative Writing, classification 2.1’ – or BA (Hons) Hums (Open) for short.

mortar board and scroll

So how about that then?! Yes, me. With a degree!

When I began this whole shebang I never thought I would see the end of it, and it was a bit of a walk of faith really when I began it. Let me tell you a bit of my story.

When I went to sixth form at the age of 16, for some reason, I didn’t go to the same one that my friends chose, and it didn’t do me any favours at all. I failed my exams at the end of the first year and instead of growing up and knuckling down to study, I opted to leave college and went to work instead. I was seeing Kevin (who is now my husband) and there were a couple of other reasons that made it just not worth the effort of going to college, and a training course at the ICI seemed a better option. Well it would to a clueless 17 year old with her head in the clouds, wouldn’t it?!

At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing but over the next few years I felt I was missing out on something. My friends had finished college and were on their way through university but I was married and had a toddler to care for. It took a few years but I got round to thinking that maybe I’d made a mistake in leaving college at the age of 17.

open universityI came across an advert for the Open University and I thought it offered a chance for me to do something about my lack of education. I had done a BTEC in Business and Finance at day release with the ICI but that was work, not education. I toyed with the idea of doing an English A Level or something, but when the advert for the OU kept cropping up I thought – why not? It offered distance learning which could be done in my spare time whilst still working full time, being a mother and a bandsman and all the stuff I was doing with the Brigade and church. Easy. (Ha!).

At the time, the modules were about £1500 each and so it was with MUCH trepidation that I stepped out. I was paying for it on finance terms and I threw myself in to it. To be honest, I thought at the time that I would do the first one and see how that was before making a decision. I did a foundation course (level 1) in Arts and Humanities which covered the basics of history etc as well as teaching me the basics of how to do studying with a distance learning course. I really enjoyed it and was thrilled to sit an exam in a REAL university building at the end of it. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of learning and I thoroughly enjoyed the art history part and learned that there is so much more to learn than I ever thought was possible.

I then opted to do a literature module, but about half way in I got into difficulty (too much else going on) and I dropped out. I tried it again the next year and successfully completed it. I fell in love with Pride and Prejudice and Great Expectations on that course, and I promised myself I would work my way through the Dickens canon after it. (Note to self: you can do that now!)

I tried a Philosophy module next but got into difficulties again about half way through. The subject matter was thoroughly absorbing and I was really enjoying it, but as before, life got in the way and I had to drop out. To be honest, life got in the way for the next 15 years or so during which time the module fees crept up and up and my time got squeezed more and more.

Until about 2010 when my life suddenly stopped in its tracks. I found myself out of work, ill, and with lots of time on my hands. I had always imagined going back to the Open University but it was one of those “yeah, one day” fantasies like the ones I have about visiting Iceland or Canada. In other words, not in my lifetime.

But then I did a bit of digging around and I realised that Student Finance England were now offering student loans to cover the costs of studying with the Open University. Ooooh. Possibilities opened up! I spoke to the very nice people at the student helpdesk with the OU and I realised that I just about had enough time to complete my degree if I doubled up on a couple of modules and did 5 modules in 4 years. (There are rules about time limits on starting modules for your OU degree and finishing them) I thought it sounded do-able, but I didn’t want to throw myself straight in to studying two level 2 modules after a break of so long. Plus, my health was not good and I was on big doses of painkillers and other drugs to try and keep me functioning. So I opted to do a “gentle” module and chose to study the history of medicine from the middle ages to the turn of the 20th century.

Only, it wasn’t gentle and it had an exam at the end of it. Eek! I was thoroughly prepared to do it (having done weeks and weeks worth of revision beforehand) but I was so nervous on the day that I could barely hold my pen to begin with. In fact, my nerves were so bad I couldn’t even work out where to write my name on the front of the answer booklet.

I passed it though, and my marks were higher than the literature course I’d done earlier. So, heartened slightly by that, I decided to double up the next year.

I studied creative writing and a music module at level 2 the year after the history of medicine one, and very nearly threw in the towel so many times doing two modules at the same time. I wasn’t working as such, but let me tell you, being dependent on codeine and tramadol and a whole host of other drugs to keep my pain at manageable levels meant that it was tough going. Really tough!

So, I was nearly there. After all this time and looking at the end of my degree 18 years ago or so, I was in a position where it was almost touchable. All I had to do was to do two level 3 modules to finish my honours degree. But things were starting to develop at church, and I felt called to serve in a bigger way than I was doing at the time and I was in a dilemma. Do I study a single level 3 module for the next two years and risk delaying my next steps in the church, or do I double up and free myself up the year after to be able to follow my church pathway?

I did the hardest one, and did two level 3 modules at the same time to finish my degree on advanced creative writing and a module on children’s literature. And boy was it tough!

Not only the level of study was more intense and difficult, but it was harder for me to keep going. I was so near yet so far and time and time again I felt like jacking it all in and saying forget it. But I have been blessed to have a lot of people on my side cheering me on and keeping me going. If I start to name people then I couldn’t possibly name everyone, but I do have to say a big thank you to Kevin, Emma and Ethan who are the people closest to me and who have suffered every assignment with me.

And so we’re here, nearly 20 years after I started, and I have just clicked the button to accept my degree. I truly never thought this day would come and I feel just a bit emotional.

I’ve learned so much about so much and my mind and my eyes have been opened wide. I have met some lovely people and I have spent some valuable time with people who have shared my journey at various times. I couldn’t have done it without them.

The question now is what next? Well, I don’t know is the honest answer. I have some ideas, but as with anything in life there are no certainties and no doubt my future will unfold one day at a time in its own sweet way. I did so much writing over the last two years that I want to go back and revisit some of those pieces and I have a couple of ideas that I want to turn into writing projects.

Whatever happens, it will be with a buoyant BA after my name. Yay!

 

The Journal of Phileas Fogg


My son will be taking part in his first ever brass band competition tomorrow, which is the North West Area Championships held in the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

It is an annual contest and other parts of the country will be playing their own “area” contest over the coming weeks. The section winners and runners up will go forward to compete against each other at the National Finals which are usually held at the end of September.

Each band competes with others of a similar standard, in sections which are ranked in a similar way to the football league. There are the Championship Section bands who are the equivalent of the Premiership – although without the wages for the players! – and then a First Section, Second Section, Third Section and Fourth Section. There is also a separate Youth Section for most areas.

Each section is told which test piece to play, which makes it fair across the country. So all Third Section bands will be playing the same piece and will be judged on it to try to make a level playing field so to speak.

My son is playing with Less Band who are a “new” band, having only been formed in recent years. They have not contest much at all and tomorrow sees them competing for the first time in over a year. They are ranked amongst the Fourth Section bands due to their inexperience and their lack of contesting, but they are a gutsy bunch and I had the privilege of taking them for a rehearsal on their test piece earlier this week. The piece they have been given to play is called “The Journal of Phileas Fogg” composed by Peter Graham.

Peter Graham is a fantastic composer of brass and wind music and he is a professor at Salford University in the music faculty. He has composed and arranged hundreds of pieces for bands at all levels of competency, and the all stand out as being musically demanding as well as technically demanding. The piece the Fourth Section are going to be playing tomorrow is no exception. It is a lovely piece which tells the story of Phileas Fogg’s travels around the world as per the Jules Verne book “Around the World in 80 Days” published in 1873. There are 10 little sections depicting life around the world – the hurry to the station, a chase by Cossacks, the Can-Can in Paris, a Spanish bullfight etc – and each one has its own pitfalls for the bands on stage.

Here is a video of Black Dyke Band playing some excerpts from it. You will probably (and correctly) surmise that this is no Fourth Section band. Black Dyke are the equivalent of Everton or Manchester City when it comes to banding, in other words, they are one of the elite bands. They are a Yorkshire band too so will be competing next week at their own area contest on a more difficult and demanding piece called Cambridge Variations.

But for now, sit back and enjoy around 4 minutes of the music that my son will be playing tomorrow on his contesting debut.

Good luck to all the bands who will be competing in Blackpool tomorrow, and especially good luck to the Lees Band and their conductor Matt Corrigan.

 

Daybook Entry – 24th February 2016


Daybook EntryFor Today… 24th February 2016.

Outside my window… it is a chilly -1 and each star is like a little chip of ice in the sky.

I am thinking… about who fascinating it is to cross paths with new people.

I am thankful… for my musical gift.

I am praying for… my old friend Jason who is in a high dependency unit tonight after a significant and serious surgery today.

I am creating… a plan for a screenplay. Can’t publish it yet but watch out, it’ll be coming soon!

I am going… to be leading our Lenten Bible study tomorrow night with my friend Helen.

I am wondering… whether this scratchy throat will develop overnight or will disappear.

I am reading… a really crappy novel that is nice night-time reading but not worth commenting on really in amongst the reams and reams of notes and critical essays I am reading for my studies…

I am hoping… I can make a good headway on my children’s literature assignment tomorrow. The official deadline is tomorrow lunchtime but I have an extension until Tuesday because I have been a bit poorly.

I am learning… to say “no” and to take some rest when my body tells me I have to.

In my garden… I have recently put out a new bird feeder filled with nuts and seeds but there hasn’t been many visitors yet. I might have to add a bit of something extra to tempt the birds in.

In my kitchen… Emma and Gemma made a delish meal tonight of pasta and a “sauce” which was stuffed FULL of vegetables. Very, very nice.

A favourite quote for today… this is from our Lent challenge at church, and it is a video I created for the verse “The Lord is my salvation”.

A peek into one of my days…

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This is my friend Dot and it was taken on Saturday at our Deanery Away Day which was held at FC United. It was a great day and we had a good old natter about stuff.

One of my favourite things… is watching people blossom when they are given encouragement and praise.

Post Script: I posted yesterday about the question of whether Britain should remain in or leave the EU, and it has sparked a bit of a debate it seems. Have a look and see, and please leave me your thoughts if you have an opinion or an observation about it. I’m keen to find out if other people are as confused about it all just the same as I am.

 

 

 

A View From The MumCam


Tonight’s view is from the MumCam because I’m sitting in a rehearsal where my son Ethan is playing trombone with a brass band.  The band are rehearsing for a major contest next weekend in Blackpool, so this an extra rehearsal for that.

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You can just see him peeping into the bottom corner of the picture…

View from the DrumPamCam


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Look what I’ve been doing tonight!!

I was playing taxi for Ethan and had to take him to band rehearsal (they have a contest in a fortnight) and I went all prepared to sit and wait in the bar downstairs with my OU coursework book and a plan to do some studying while I waited. But when I got there, I was asked if I would like to join in and as I hadn’t brought my cornet, I thought I’d have a bash on percussion instead.

What a great experience!! Mismatched beaters, no bass drum sticks and no side drum that I could see but no matter. I couldn’t find the woodblock neither, so made do with the skulls and the only thing that I played with the right tool was the tambourine with my hand.

So it’s been a whirlwind trip round the world with Phileas Fogg for the Pamster this evening, and a mighty fine bash it was too!

View from the PamCam – a Todmorden “Belfie”


Friday night is music night!! Well, it is in the Calderdale valley where Todmorden Brass Band rehearse. We have had a cracking night at band again tonight playing with some really lyrical and beautiful moments all evening.

Here we are – our first “belfie” (band selfie). I had to take two pictures because my arm isn’t long enough to get everyone in on one shot. Say hello to Todmorden Community Brass Band.

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We are busy rehearsing for our annual anniversary concert in a couple of months and I am trying out a few different pieces in the meantime, so tonight we played a cobbled together version of “Sunset” (which will be less ‘cobbled’ now I’ve decided which hymn tune we’re going to do it with and I will get down to arranging it properly in a couple of weeks), a brass band favourite “Miller Magic” which is a medley of four of Glenn Miller’s finest pieces, and “Famous British Marches”.

I am proud of my band – they are becoming masters at sight-reading and the musicality within the band is astounding sometimes.

A big shout-out to Dan on drums tonight. He’s the 13 year old brother of our senior drummist, Chloe, who was at a rehearsal with her new school band tonight (her new school being Chetham’s School of Music…). Dan sight-read Miller Magic and really got stuck into the drum solo in St Louis Blues March, and he did a cracking job during Famous British Marches too. He was a star tonight – Chloe, watch out he’s after your seat!

Also, a fond farewell tonight to Sara who has been with us for about six months from the US. She has been playing bass trombone with us but sadly has to return home next week so we won’t be seeing her until September if she can make it back across the pond. She takes our love and best wishes with her back Stateside and we will look forward to her return in the future.