In March 2020 Collingham Band was looking forward to their usual full diary of performances for country fairs, garden parties and charity events. However, everything stopped abruptly with Covid-19 lockdown on March 23rd.
What could the Band do? How could we continue to make music and provide for the needs of both our members and local community? Fortunately, at the start of the year we had no idea of the length or severity of restrictions and assumed that we were bridging a short hiatus until we would be practising and performing once more.
Even when we couldn’t meet together new music was distributed electronically every week – ‘Friday Night is Band Night’ – in preparation for future performance. When restrictions permitted, small groups of players continued to bring music for our community, playing for VJ Day, Remembrance Sunday and Christmas events as well as playing in Collingham’s Orchard Garden park to entertain people taking their permitted daily exercise.
Some of our members were shielding, or shielding people for whom they cared, so were unable to join our performances. Hence the idea of compiling remotely recorded videos, so that members could join in whatever their personal circumstances.
Our Christmas video was followed by requests for Collingham Band to produce an Easter video. Our Easter Video became the focus and project for the Band as members faced the 3rd lockdown. With discouragement palpable from our 50 Band members we decided the project would record our Yorkshire village as we moved from the dead of winter to the re-growth of springtime. With lockdown restrictions all music for this video was recorded by members as single tracks, on their phones, before being compiled into the backing track for this story as we look forward to moving out of lockdown. An interesting challenge for all concerned!!
A small group of socially distanced band members playing in Collingham's Orchard Garden.
Our first lockdown video was made in conjunction with the Royal British Legion for Remembrance Sunday in November - see the video on YouTube.
A bubble of band members from the same family were able to play together for the 2020 Remembrance Service.
A Christmas Video followed and was greeted with enthusiasm when issued on YouTube just as Christmas plans, so eagerly anticipated, were suddenly cancelled for most people.
Collingham Band members have enjoyed the challenges of this project and heartened by the support shown by so many people who, on hearing of the project, sent photos, paintings and poems to share.
We have learned a lot during this difficult time. The Band has increased in numbers, and we have stayed together and supported each other – but we all look forward eagerly to the restart of outdoor practice in May when we can meet together again and start to entertain with our usual range of concerts and events.
Collingham Band's Easter 2021 video can be seen on YouTube.
Collingham Band on Remembrance Sunday
Leader, Collingham Band and Collingham Training Band