Band all keyed up to start playing again

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After 12 months in isolation, members of the popular Blandford Stour Valley Band (BSVB) are looking forward to being able to get together again and play in public when lockdown eases.

They have missed their regular band practices just as much as their supporters have missed their concerts and appearances.
During the first lockdown in 2020, the players were restricted to home practice, joining in musical quizzes organised by members and a weekly update from musical director, Tim Stankus.

The band investigated the possibility of recommencing rehearsals in covid-safe locations during August to September, but the ongoing increase in infections across the country prevented this. Rehearsals and engagements were cancelled or postponed. However, prior to Christmas, groups of musicians from the same families managed to perform carols outside for Christmas shoppers in Blandford, and during the current lockdown, the band made a virtual video performance with 25 members performing the hymn tune Deep Harmony.

Individual music and backing tracks were produced, members recorded their own playing, and the videos were then collated and edited to produce the final performance. For many, using the technology presented a new challenge, but recording music virtually has proved a positive experience overall, with players suggesting further pieces for future videos.

Band member Sue Griffin said: “Even though the whole band has not been able to perform together, virtually recording music has illustrated how being part of BSVB has had a positive impact on members of different ages and abilities. We are now monitoring the advice from Brass Bands England to ascertain when we will be able to return to normal rehearsals.”

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