Christmas is always a busy time for the Alford Silver Band.
The highly popular band has a well-earned reputation, not only for the excellence of its musical performances, but also for providing audiences with entertainment that is guaranteed to have them leave at the end of the night with a broad smile and a big chuckle.
Following hard on the heels of a highly successful Remembrance Concert in the town, the band has started its busy programme of Christmas engagements. And so its talented and youthful musical director, Josh Wilkinson decided to get his players into the Christmas mood by encouraging them to wear festive jumpers and outfits at rehearsals.
“It can sometimes be difficult to switch quickly from the solemnity of something like a Remembrance Concert to the joy and laughter that we aim to bring to our Christmas audiences,” said Josh. “I thought that it might help if we brought the Christmas spirit into the bandroom early.”
And the band certainly entered into the spirit of it all. Every member of the band turned up in something with a Christmas theme, whether it be a festive jumper, a set of reindeer antlers – or even a ‘Bah Humbug’ hat!
The band will perform its Christmas concert for the town on Saturday 7th December in Alford’s Corn Exchange, with the performance starting promptly at 7.30 pm.
And thanks to the generosity of Alford Town Council in their support for the band, there will be Free admission to all.
“Alford Town Council recognised the value of the contribution that we make to young people in the town and its surrounding area through our two training bands, Brass Roots and Brass Tracks, and through our Educational Outreach programme through which we encourage pupils in local schools to learn to play an instrument,” explained the band’s chairman, Mike Green. “The council has therefore very generously extended the sponsorship that it gave us last year to include this year as well.
“In return, we are pleased to perform in the town on four occasions during the year without an admission charge as a ‘thank you’ to the town. Our Christmas concert is one of those free events and I guarantee that it will get the audience into the festive mood,” he smiled. “It will be an evening of great fun and good music.”
Josh has been rehearsing the band hard on several new Christmas pieces. And as usual, there will be fun and laughter between pieces.
“We always make sure that the audience has a great evening,” continued Mike. “The band was already recognised as one of the top performing bands in the area, but since Josh took over the baton, our performance standards have risen even higher. It will be a great evening of music and laughter to get the festive period off to a great start; not an evening to be missed.”
During the evening, one arm of the band’s training scheme, Brass Tracks will also show how far they have come under the baton of the assistant musical director and principal cornet, Andrew Taylor.
Although there will be no charge for admission, the band will hold a raffle and there will be a voluntary retiring collection for those who wish to show their appreciation of the show. All of the monies raised will go towards defraying the cost of running the band.
“None of our musicians receive payment, but we do have to meet the cost of running the band room, purchasing replacement instruments and uniform, and of course buying new music,” explained Mike. “Whilst the council’s sponsorship will cover the hire cost for the hall, we still welcome voluntary donations and the purchase of raffle tickets to assist with these significant costs.”
And with free admission, those attending the concert are advised to come early to ensure that they get a good seat.
“We filled St Wilfrid’s for the Remembrance concert,” advised Mike, “and whilst we won’t be turning anyone away, there is no reserved seating. My advice is to get there in good time to make sure of a good seat.