The band has had another busy year so far and it is set to be even busier in the run up to Christmas.
We led the Tyne and Wear May Day Parade again from the Newcastle Central Library up Northumberland Street past the crowds of Saturday shoppers, pausing by the Haymarket to play Gresford the miners hymn, then onto Exhibition Park to play the parade into the park before the speeches and music got underway.
The next morning we accompanied the hymns at the Workers Memorial Service at St Johns Church Killingworth, in the presence of the elected Mayor and local councillors and a packed congregation.
In June we led the Seghill Gala parade and played an outdoor concert on the field at Seghill Rugby Club. Actually the parade was led by a lovely pony with the band close behind! Then we were off to the Whit Friday contests in Tameside, staying overnight before returning via York where some of the band stopped off to board an open top bus and lead the York Pride march the next day!
July started with band members helping lead Backworth Park Primary School children on the long route to the Shiremoor Treat field. 2 children and 2 teachers from the Backworth Park Primary brass group joined us and played their own “Big Foot Stomp” to start and end the parade!
The next week saw the traditional Durham Miners Gala parades, starting at 7:30 in the morning through Eppleton and Hetton then on the coach into Durham City to join the huge crowds at the Gala itself. We arrived earlier than usual, about 8:30, and moved very quickly through the streets to play a beautiful, extended version of Gresford outside the County Hotel and onto the gala field by 9:40! After a day enjoying the other bands and banners, listening to the speeches or just enjoying a pint or two, we led the Eppleton Colliery banner back to the Market Square for a final rendition of Gresford.
August brought our annual trip to Dalston in Cumbria (see earlier report) and a bank holiday Monday visit to the bandstand at Beamish Museum.
In Sept we played a concert in the Hall at Belsay Hall and Gardens. This is usually an outdoor event but the inclement weather forced us inside, thankfully! And for the first time, we led the Washington Carnival into Albany Park, although again we didn’t actually lead the march as a convey of bikers went ahead of us – we gave them plenty of room to avoid the noise and fumes!
Our only event in October was our very own Oktoberfest at Backworth Social Club. We love playing this type of music, and it’s a shame we don’t get invited to play at other Oktoberfest events! We’re hoping Stonehaugh’s event will be back on next year!
At the start of November we took part in the Remembrance Service and Concert held annually at St Andrews Church, Gallowgate in Newcastle. Ben took on the job of playing the Last Post and Reveille this year putting his considerable bugle experience to very good effect. The next evening we made the long journey up the A1 north to Berwick to play a concert for the North Northumberland Scouts. We played this event last year, stepping in at short notice to fill a gap left by another band that had cancelled on them. They must have liked us enough to invite us back! The next Sunday we led the Remembrance Parade through Forest Hall to St Bartholomew’s churchyard where young Matthew did a great job playing the Last Post and Reveille, while 2 of our other cornet players were away doing the same job at other Remembrance events in the area.