Following a successful run-out of the Area test piece in Brighton in February 2020, Saints were looking forward to putting the finishing touches to the piece ahead of the Areas in Stevenage in March. Unfortunately, before this was possible, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK.
Along with every other band in the country, all rehearsing and performing became impossible due to the lockdown restrictions. Ultimately, the Area contest for the London and Southern Counties region was cancelled and the band has not been able to rehearse together since.
However, this does not mean the band have been completely inactive during this period. With a lot of help from the band’s previous MD Nigel Howard and his video-editing skills, Saints have put together two ‘distance’ performances.
The first saw each band member record their part to the popular Alan Fernie arrangement of ‘Baggy Trousers’. This has always proved a hit with the crowd whenever we have performed it and therefore was an obvious choice for our first foray into the world of ‘virtual banding’. A link to the final recording of all 31 different parts being mixed together being found on Saints’ YouTube channel here.
With Wokingham Armed Forces Day sadly being cancelled for 2020, again due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Saints were approached by Wokingham Town Council to prepare a further virtual band performance of a march. Armed Forces Day is an event at which Saints regularly perform and are proud to lead the parade through the town centre, so we were happy to oblige, choosing to record a march close to the band’s heart. ‘The Wokingham March’, arranged by the band’s second cornet player and former Bandmaster Steve Block, proved a popular choice and again the final recording can be found on our YouTube channel here.
Whilst bands across the country are now slowly being able to return to some semblance of normality and beginning to rehearse again (albeit with a considerable number or restrictions and required safety precautions) Saints have taken the decision not to return to regular rehearsals at present, but very much look forward to doing so as soon as we can safely.