Yesterday, after walking up Peak Hill in the morning we walked back into Sidmouth in the evening and, after an early pub meal climbed back up to the cliff top Connaught Gardens, for a Brass Band Concert.
Three years ago, on my Australian caravan trip, I wrote about a similar experience at the Opera on the Beach in Broome. You can read about that experience here
There were lots of similarities – Music near the beach, enjoyment and passion but also some differences.
The Opera in Broome was an expensive, classy affair. A one off event that bought locals out in full dressed up mode, with professional singers from the Australian Opera Company, albeit with accompaniment from a single talented pianist.
The Sidmouth Town Band are about 30 amateur musicians, ranging in in age from 12 to what looked like 70. Many travel considerable distances to participate, but not the same as travelling to Broome in Australia! Last year was the 150th anniversary of the band, who have won many championships. For 15 weeks in the season, from June through August, they put on a free concert in the Gardens, every Sunday night for an hour. The program is different every week and ranged from marches through hymns, classical pieces to Beatles tunes.
The audience of less than a hundred, dressed appropriately (warmly, because it was quite chilly and holiday gear because it’s that kind of town) varied in age from young children to great grandparents. A couple of donation boxes circulated to help support the Band. I imagine the cost of those beautiful Brass instruments is considerable.
It is much harder to take dynamic pictures of a Brass Band than of Opera singers. Band players are seated, bunched together with faces , obscured by their instruments. The Opera singers are dramatic individuals, although microphones can be a problem.
I have shown three images. The 12 year old Flugelhorn player in her debut performance with the band in her solo part in “Gabrielle’s Oboe” (from The Mission), the first trumpeter ( because his seat position made him more visible) and the B Flat Bass player ( because he was a big man with a big instrument).