Josie Dawson looks back over a long and happy friendship
Like everyone else, the residents of Saddleworth have all been staying at home and social distancing. For most of us, life has completely transformed since lockdown began on 24th March. We used to rush off to work on a Monday morning and brave the rush hour. Now we sit at our screens and work from home, it’s all very strange. In fact, that is exactly what I am doing now.
Our social lives have changed too and many of us have had to curtail certain activities we took for granted. For our musical team members, this has been very hard. Musicians including Brass Bands all over the world, have ceased their regular weekly rehearsals. I know our Managing Director and Kippax Band Music Director hasn’t been to a band practice since mid-March. Sheryl said he is getting a little tetchy as a result.
Music and technology
Like our James, some bands are using technology to help them continue making music together. Our good friends in Uppermill Band are no exception, as they’ve put together a wonderful tribute to key workers from the comfort of their own homes. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology they have created this fabulous rendition of ‘Under the Boardwalk’. It was arranged by Philip Harper and features our good friend John Whittle on FlugelHorn. The whole thing was conducted by Dean Redfern (I’ve no idea how!)
A special relationship
Uppermill band and Allegro Optical go back a long way. MD Stephen is old friends with band Chairman John Ward and Trombonist Jeremy Lewis was our 1000th customer back in July 2018, you can see the article below. The story actually made it into the newspapers. Jeremy’s wife Lesley, recommended Allegro Optical to Jeremy after she had visited us for some marching glasses, they have been firm friends ever since.
Some members of our team were there at Uppermill Bands’s 40th-anniversary concert which featured guest stars, Helen and Glyn Williams, also good friends of Allegro Optical. They were even able to help when one of the band’s players had a spectacle disaster onstage. In 2019 Uppermill band and MD Stephen Tighe’s band Kippax shared a hotel when they both played at the National Brass Band Championships. A good time was had by all and Uppermill band did exceptionally well and won the third section competition. The band has already secured promotion to the second section and the win was the icing on the cake.
Our James caught up with the band again at the North West Area Championships in Blackpool in March when they achieved a clean sweep of the Second section prizes. Uppermill band bass players Neil Bartel, David Mansfield, Howard Taylor and Andrew Jordan scooped the prize for best bass section; for the third consecutive year the Uppermill Band percussion section, Jenny Ward, Graham Gillespie, Katie and Andrew Woodward, were awarded the best percussion section. Soprano Cornet player Mark Wears was awarded the best Soprano in the section and the Band as a whole had won the North West Area Second Section and would be invited to compete in the National Finals in Cheltenham in September. We will have to wait to see if that goes ahead or is postponed due to the Coronavirus.
We are delighted to share this video and support Uppermill Band in all their endeavours. Fingers crossed that we will be able to join them for their post-contest concert in September. We also hope that Steve, Sheryl and the team will get to catch up with them at the National finals.