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Wincanton Silver Band's second lockdown recording: Slaidburn

Monday 1 June 2020, 15:37
By Sandra Pearson

Practice makes perfect. Encouraged by the positive reaction to its first social distancing performance, which received over 6000 views on its Facebook page, Wincanton Silver Band has produced another social distancing video.

This time the band chose the stirring march, “Slaidburn”, composed by William Rimmer. Slaidburn is a standard for both brass and military bands and is the march Wincanton Silver Band usually play for Wincanton civic events, such as the annual Remembrance Day parades. The march even features in the film “The Fully Monty”.

Performing an individual part for the camera is vastly different than playing a piece in the band room. In rehearsals there is the Musical Director and his baton to keep time, but for these recordings each band member has to listen to a recording of a metronome beating the time through ear phones and play their part along to it.

Playing in a brass band is about listening as well as playing; particularly making sure that the tuning is correct and being able to adjust by listening to other players. When recording a part in isolation there are no other musical cues to rely on other than your own sound. This was a lesson learned from making the first video, when it was discovered during the weekly virtual meet-up that band members were not all tuning their instruments to the same frequency.

Then, of course, there is the technology. Where to play to get the best sound indoors, where to place the camera, juggling the beat track, earphones and remembering to switch the camera on at the right time to record, trying not to make faces on camera when things might not have gone just right, and then the frustration of having to do another take after nearly getting through the whole piece only to make a mistake in the final bars.

There is nothing like a performance to motivate band players, and making the video allows the band to come together and perform in a different way. It also gives the band something to practice and to keep the lungs and lips in trim. Sadly, not every band member can participate or has the technology, which means that some of our more talented players are recording more than one part to fill in the blanks, not least playing the euphonium part on a trombone!

The band is already planning its next video; a fun piece which will be unveiled in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please share this video for your family and friends to enjoy too!

Sandra Pearson
Vice Chair, Wincanton Silver Band


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