An unforgettable massed bands concert

We were lucky to be able to perform our massed bands concert before the Coronavirus lockdown began in the UK. Trumpet player Jason looks back on the spectacular day as three local bands came together: us, Christchurch and District Band (CDB) and Christchurch Music Centre (CMC). We also had a special surprise up our sleeves as we performed our finale with the bagpipes…

Massed bands concert

All three bands along with the bagpipes and drum after performing our finale, Highland Cathedral

Hello, my name is Jason and I’ve been playing the trumpet with the Bournemouth and District Concert Band (BDCB) for around six years. After many performances, the massed bands concert is the biggest I’ve had the privilege of playing in so far with BDCB – and after the concert, I believe there will be many more to come!

The three bands worked week in, week out, to provide an exhilarating programme which involved a fine mixture of styles and genres. I can only thank the people behind the scenes for making it possible to play in a great venue with a group of very talented fellow musicians! The planning and co-ordinating that occurred was well above what one would expect, so, thank you!

Final rehearsals on the day

The day started out like any other concert day, collecting gear bright and early and heading to the venue to set up. Once I arrived with some of the gear, the cogs of the whole operation were well in motion.

Band rehearsing

Christchurch Music Centre rehearsing bright and early on the morning of the concert. Photo by @shotby_hayter

Each band had their set times for rehearsal to brush up on the odd tuning issue and wrong note. And then a combined rehearsal followed. Every musician did a great job in coming together and playing with such a large group of people, as it can be quite daunting.

The best part about any concert, I believe, is the moment you hear the music become a performance. From the beginning of the morning rehearsal, you could definitely hear that performance starting to form. It’s hard to tell for definite what truly makes a perfect performance, a question I will probably never know the answer to. What I believe to be a brilliant performance, is when you feel yourself wanting to play or dance or… anything to get involved! And this is definitely what I felt during the day.

Band rehearsing for content

Next up – the Bournemouth and District Concert Band rehearsing on the day of our massed bands concert. Photo by @shotby_hayter

Socialising before the concert begins

Once the rehearsal was over, we all got together to have a little social (which I find the bands do really well), ordering pizza etc. and just relaxing before the concert. I believe it’s quite difficult to find a group of musicians who can get a good balance of striving to perform to the best of their abilities and equally having time to socialise with one another. This is something that BDCB does really well. Even though the pubs are closed at the moment, there are still a few quizzes happening online, under the gloom of lockdown.

Band rehearsing

Christchurch and District Band getting some final practise in before the concert. Photo by @shotby_hayter

The doors open

At around 7pm, the doors opened and audience members took their seats. The concert started off with CMC who did an excellent performance. Next up were performances by BDCB in which one of our clarinet players, Emma, played a beautiful piano solo. And then CDB shocked the audience by performing a very acrobatic last piece!

People standing for photo before concert

From left to right: Michael White – Conductor of BDC; Emily Neagle – Conductor of CMC; Sue Evans – Chair of BDCB; special guests Chairman of BCP Council, Councillor David Flagg and Denise Flagg; Nick Hunt – Bandmaster of BDCB; Simon Nicholls – Conductor of BDCB. Photo by @shotby_hayter

For the concert finale, the “massed band” performance took place, hence the name! I think I can speak for most people when I say this was an extremely enjoyable set! My personal favourite piece that was played, was ‘Moment from Morricone’. I’ve played this a few times with BDCB but felt it really came to life with the amount of people. Simon Nicholls did a fantastic job at conducting the large number of musicians whilst also keeping it filled with tempo and dynamic variations. I have to say, I did quite enjoy the piece titled ‘Batman’. For those who couldn’t attend, it’s not the Batman you’re thinking of!

This night will not be forgotten anytime soon and I believe this won’t be the last event to take place of the same vision. I think I also speak for everyone when I say that nothing could have happened if it wasn’t for everyone behind the scenes, conductors and players alike. I am privileged to make music with so many brilliant people so close to home, and look forward to many more years to come!

By Jason on trumpet

Visit our Facebook page and YouTube channel for all the photos and videos of the concert.