Yesterday's announcement by the Government has seen us cancel all rehearsals in May, with the likelihood that it will be sometime before full Band rehearsals can resume.
As you know we recently lost the Band's founder Dennis Carney. His family have set up an online Condolences Book, so if you would like to pay a tribute to Dennis please see the following link. It would help the family if as well as quoting your name you also state how you knew Dennis as they are aware there are a vast range of people they do not know.
Following the cancellation of so many of the VE Celebrations, Brass players were asked to help mark the event by performing the Last Post at 2.55pm on VE Day. Along with hundreds of other Bands we signed up to do this, and you can see our efforts on this website.
If you missed any of our other “Virtual Performances” just click on the YouTube icon and this will take you to our own YouTube Channel. As you can see whilst we are apart, we are still busy. Plans are now underway for our next performance!
The Band keeps in touch via a regular Zoom Meetings on a Monday evening but we are all yearning for the day when we can start making music again.
"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent"
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update
29th March 2020
We thought now would be a good time to update you on the impact of the current situation on the Band.
We had our last rehearsal on Monday 16th March. Brass players are particularly vulnerable to spreading the virus, whilst playing, microscopic droplets of water can be projected from the instrument. We followed the advice given by the various Brass Band associations to cease rehearsals a week before the Government issued advice not to have large social gatherings.
The London and Southern Counties National Brass Band Championship qualifying heats were due to be held over the weekend of 21st & 22nd March, they were cancelled resulting in no Bands from this region being put forward to attend the National Finals.
We fully expect our programme of events to be severely restricted for many months to come. A performance at a VE Day celebration event on 8th May has been cancelled, and whilst still currently scheduled to go ahead we fully expect our Concert on 7th June at Forest School to be cancelled. Once a firm decision has been made, we will let you know. Rest assured that if anyone has already purchased a ticket for this event, we will provide a full refund.
Our quiz night on 16th May has been postponed and we will publish a new date for this, later in the year.
A decision regarding our performance at Brass on the Grass on 18th July has yet to be made. This event is not organised by the Band, so we will abide by the decision of the organisers.
At the moment we are not scheduled to rehearse again until Monday 20th April however, we are not optimistic that this will be the case and expect further cancellations to take place.
On a brighter note the Band are pleased to announce that they will undertake a tour of Belgium next year and are hopeful that this will include performances at the iconic Ghent Music Festival and at the daily memorial service at the Menin Gate at Ypres.
This is a difficult time for all, and while we appreciate that music is not a major concern for everyone we do know that it does bring a great deal of pleasure to many people, we will keep you fully updated of events as and when decisions are known. In the meantime, thank you for your support and keep safe.
Fairlop Brass Band
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 2
15th April 2020
As you can imagine we are still not rehearsing and have cancelled all rehearsals until 11th May, this is quite a critical date for us, if we are not back rehearsing by then it will be difficult for us to stage our concert on 7th June at Forest School. The prognosis is quite bleak as we are not expecting the existing lockdown to be reversed when it is reviewed later this week. Even once restrictions start to lift, we feel that it will be some time before rehearsals and concerts can be held. However, we are always hopeful and will not cancel anything until we have to.
Brass on the Grass is due to be held on 18th July. The good news is that the new Vicar has said she is happy for her garden to be used to stage this event. We have spoken to the organisers at St. Nicholas Church and they have said they will make a decision about the feasibility of staging the concert at the beginning of June.
During this strange period, I have been sending the players links to practice and technical tips to help them keep their lips in shape. Last month Gary Thwaites (Trombone) had the idea that we could give a “virtual performance” with each player recording their own part and then submitting it to be mixed together. What an undertaking this turned out to be. It is very difficult to play your own part in time to a metronome beat and the task of stitching it all together was immense. Enormous thanks to Andy Carter (Percussion) who took on this unenviable task, but if you look at the video on the website, I think you will agree it was worthwhile.
Singin in the Rain seemed an apt piece as it is about making the most of difficult circumstances and after being on our Facebook page for less than a day it has already had over 6,000 views – not a bad effort for a local lower section Band. It appears to have been so popular we may do another!!
We will issue a further update once we have more information, in the meantime, please keepsafe.
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 3
24th April 2020
The Band remains in lockdown, and we have this week taken the very difficult decision to cancel our Summer Concert at Forest School on 7th June.
Over the last week the members of the Band who take a major role in staging concerts have been exchanging e-mails and last night we had a video conference call where the difficult decision was made. After taking all the relevant factors into account, player and audience safety, logistics, financial implications and significantly, musical standards, coupled with the current unprecedented conditions it made good sense to take this decision. This was made easier by the very reasonable approach of Forest School who are allowing us to cancel this concert and re-book for 2021 at no financial cost to us. We have been very impressed with the School so far, and can only thank them for their support.
We are astounded that our Singin in the Rain virtual performance now has approaching 9,000 views on Social Media, it is now also available on YouTube as well as our website. Such was the success we have undertaken another, more ambitious project, and hopefully you will see the results soon.
The Band has recently had two very successful video conference calls with over 20 players on each, which made it very chaotic but good fun and a great way of keeping in touch.
We have players who are giving impromptu performances as part of the “Clap for Carers” each Thursday, and we hope many will be involved in a project we have only just been made aware of. At 2.55pm on 8th May players are being encouraged to play 'The Last Post' as part of the 75th Anniversary Celebrations of VE Day. We hope to have videos of these performances on our website
We are aware that these are very difficult times for all, so we are pleased to have made a small donation to our Charity Partner “Maggies” who care for people living with Cancer and with whom the Band have a long association.
Please follow government guidelines and keep safe.
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 4
2nd May 2020
It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Dennis Carney who was the founder of the Band, our first Musical Director and Life President. Dennis passed away quite suddenly at home a few days ago.
We will publish a full obituary in due course, but most people will know the incredible part he played in Fairlop Brass.
Dennis was just a couple of weeks short of his 84th birthday and devoted his life to education and music. He had the rare distinction of starting two Brass Bands, Fairlop Brass and Gaynes School Brass Band, which unfortunately is no longer in existence.
We will publish details of his funeral when it is known, in the meantime our condolences go to his family and the wide circle of friends, colleagues and former pupils that this wonderful man touched.
To Dennis, the most important thing was to meet to make music and he was very impressed with the efforts Fairlop Brass are undertaking to carry on making music during these difficult times. With this in mind we have dedicated our latest virtual performance (Aces High - which is on our Youtube channel) to him – he would have been so proud.
Hopefully you will have attended one of our Christmas Concerts and understand the link between Aces High and Bavaria.
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 5
11th May 2020
Whilst there has been some relaxation in the lockdown regulations, these have had little impact on the Brass Band world and we still have no idea when we can resume rehearsals.
The return of full rehearsals for Brass Bands may be some time off. Covid-19 is easily spread via minute droplets of water and these do emerge from the bells of brass instruments, many of which are pointed at other players within the Band – and a lot at me as Conductor!!
So, we are still in a “wait and see” mode. The Band has a weekly Zoom call on a Monday evening, which are fun but no real substitute for meeting up for a full rehearsal.
We have been busy putting together another “Virtual Performance” which you will see on the website. Why not take the opportunity to click on the YouTube icon and go to our YouTube channel to see all our efforts. The latest piece typifies the fun within the Band and in music and, once again, our thanks go to Andy Carter for the immense amount of work he puts in to bringing these things together.
The funeral of Dennis Carney took place yesterday, and despite the limitation in numbers attending the Band were very well represented. A full memorial to Dennis and how to make donations in his name or an entry into his online Condolence Book can be found .
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 6
3rd June 2020
Whilst the relaxation of lockdown regulations continues, there has still been no indication as to when Brass Bands may resume full rehearsals.
There has been an increased level of lobbying for professional musicians to resume rehearsal and performance, and once this has been agreed then there may be some hope for the huge amateur music population. However, with a possible “spike” in the number of Covid-19 cases following the relaxation of regulations, it is still a case of wait and see.
The Band remain active with a weekly Zoom meeting, and we have just finished recording another virtual performance. This is currently being edited and should appear on our website within the next week or so. A further recording is planned and we are now starting to look at placing our First CD, (Collection) which has sold out, on our YouTube channel.
Last Monday we also held an “online” 100 club draw, as we felt we could delay these no longer as we were running 5 months behind. Our 100 Club Organiser, Gary Thwaites, has sent out details of the winners.
Nevertheless, nothing is a substitute for making music together and we are all desperate to get back to playing as a Band.
You may be interested to know that donations to St. Francis Church in memory of our founder, Dennis Carney, amounted to £500. The Church, and the Band, would like to thank all who contributed.
Our thoughts are currently with our Principal Cornet Adam Cuttell, and his family following the passing of his wife, Diane, after a long and brave fight against illness
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 7
8th July 2020
These remain very difficult times for us all, and we hope you are all keeping safe.
It is with huge regret that we have postponed our Autumn Concert at Forest School which was scheduled to be held on 1st November.
We had started detailed planning on how to stage the event, and felt that if we were back rehearsing by Mid-September, we could stage a concert. However, after speaking with the venue Manager he said that current legislation would not allow the concert to go ahead, but that might change! We started to look at all the risk assessments we would have to complete, and the very high level of stewarding on the day to ensure Social Distancing was observed and cleaning of the toilets and common areas, and came to the conclusion we could not guarantee the safety of the audience.
Needless to say, we did not take this decision lightly, but would like to thank Forest School for their support and understanding and we are now talking to them about dates for 2021.
Focus will now be on our Christmas performances, but even at this early date there are severe concerns about the Full Band events. However, we do have a number of smaller group events that we might be able to stage.
We trust you are enjoying our Virtual Performances, and work has just started on another one. These are proving vital for the Band as it does gives us something to focus on. Also, the planning for these is a good topic for our weekly Zoom call but we are limited in what we can perform due to access to music and the technical challenges Andy Carter faces in linking all the individual performances together.
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 8
27th July 2020
A few weeks ago, I was hopeful that this update would bring good news. Pressure was being placed on the Government to let music groups start to meet again, and a significant piece of scientific research had been undertaken to show that a simple thin cover over the bell of the instrument would reduce the risk of infection spread to acceptable levels – unfortunately the Government's briefing this week pulled the rug from any good news announcement, and now we have the possibility of rehearsals not starting until March next year – that would be a whole year without us playing!
Whilst we appreciate that these decisions are taken for the best of reasons, it does not reduce the frustration of not being able to meet to make music, and perform. Our weekly Zoom chats are still well attended and we should have another virtual performance released within the next few weeks on our YouTube channel; one which will have a great deal of meaning to the Band.
With no concert programmes to produce our very creative Eb Bass player Cliff Murry has turned his talents elsewhere and has produced a 1,000-piece Fairlop puzzle. This professionally produced item was so popular that he has had to arrange for around another 30 to be produced for Band members.
Attention is now turning to our Christmas virtual performances, and we aim to release a Christmas piece and a couple of Carols in December. We are also taking the first steps in arranging for us to play Carols in Barkingside High Street to raise funds for the Band and designated charities, but this will be dependent on Government restrictions at the time, and the issuing of various permits from Redbridge Council and the Police.
We know our Christmas performances are very popular with our audiences, so if you are worried about missing us why not buy one of our Christmas CD's and you can have the whole Band in your living room for the entire festive period.
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 9
25th September 2020
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 10
5th November 2020
As we enter our second National Lockdown life within the Brass Band world remains pretty much the same as it has been for many, many months.
Last month we were hopeful of starting small ensemble rehearsals (no more than 6 players), but just before we were due to start the tiered restrictions came into force, and with both Essex and Redbridge at Level 2 there was no chance of playing re-commencing.
This weekend would have seen a number of the Band members playing 'The Last Post' at numerous memorial services. However, as nearly all of these have been cancelled, we just have a couple of players performing at private services. The Band has had a long association with Remembrance Day and felt we could not allow this day to pass without paying respect to those men and women who gave their lives so that we might enjoy freedom today. 'In Flanders Fields' was a piece we came across fairly recently, further research lead us to the poem. This piece will appear on our website for only a few days so please take the time to listen to the wonderful music and take a few minutes out of your day to reflect on the tragic events that require the act of remembrance.
We are pleased that we have, Covid restrictions permitting, obtained agreement from Redbridge Council to play Carols in Barkingside (Ken Aston Square – between the Library and Swimming pool) on Saturday 19th December from 10am. We will be collecting money for two charities (Maggie's and St. Francis Hospice) as well as for Band funds. If you are in the area, please pop along and see us.
In addition, a few days later, we are hoping to take a small group to play festive music for the residents of a Care Home in Chigwell. We have also provided audio recordings of Carols and Festive music for Holy Trinity Church to use at their Nine Lessons and Carols Service which they are streaming live.
I am very proud that during these difficult and frustrating times we are doing all we can to carry on supporting our local community events.
Stay safe and why not contact us about buying one of our Christmas CD's, that way you can still enjoy a Festive Fairlop Christmas!
At last, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, and if Redbridge is not moved up to Tier 3 in the review on 16th December, we hope to be able to;
• have small groups of players performing Carols in Barkingside High St on 19th December from 10.00am
• be part of the St. Francis Church Christmas Service on 20th December at 4.30pm
• play at a residential care home in Chigwell on 22nd December
I still think it will be several months before full Band rehearsals re-commence but, in the meantime, we are grateful for any group playing.
During the various restrictions we have kept in contact via our weekly Zoom chats, but it has been the virtual performances which have been the focal point of our music making. It will come as no surprise that a great deal of work is required to produce these.
In the first instance we have to select a piece. The whole Band takes part in this and once a piece is selected, I have a good look at the music to check that I feel it is achievable. We then have the task of getting a copy of the music to all the players, whist at the same time a click track is sent out to give everyone the tempo, together with a tuning note – then the fun starts! If we have time, we record a few players performances and then send these out to the rest of the Band to play along to, but that is not always possible or practical.
The click track is like a metronome and sets a relentless tempo, but music is very rarely performed this way. Tempos usually ebb and flow as set by the MD, and this is what real makes music musical. Playing on your own with a relentless tempo is not easy, particularly with a Brass Instrument when you have to create time to breathe. Also, as Brass Band players we are not used to playing on our own and sitting there counting bars rest in complete silence and isolation is a strange sensation. For this reason, it is sometimes a tough task and it will come as no surprise that not all recordings are completed on the first take – if fact some take many, many recordings to come up with an acceptable version.
All the recordings are then sent to Andy Carter (our sound engineering expert) and his partner Rachel Moulton who then have the unenviable task of stitching all the performances together to make it sound like a full Band performance and add all the graphics and get the recording ready to load on our YouTube channel. Once complete we have a quick “sense check” to make sure all is OK before we go live with the recording and make it available on our YouTube channel and via our website.
Whilst these projects involve many members of the Band, it does require a huge amount of work from just a few people, and we do thank them all for their efforts.
We would like to thank you for maintaining your interest in Fairlop Brass, and we hope it is not too long before we can get back to performing music for you.
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 11
2nd December 2020
Well, how wrong can you be? As we ended the year, we were plunged into Tier 4 which stopped us being able to fulfil our few planned Christmas performances.
In the end we managed to play carols in a quiet Barkingside High Street on the 19th December, during which we started to hear whispers about Tier 4. We managed, via various means, to raise a reasonable sum for our two chosen charities, but the main plus was that we were able to perform together again – even if it was only six players at a time. The sight and sound of us playing In the Bleak Mid-Winter as the rain bounced off the floor whilst I conducted from under an umbrella was a first!
We were forced to cancel our appearance at the St. Francis Church Carol Service and a planned performance for the residents of a Chigwell Care Home. However, I am pleased to report that many people have already started to book us to play next Christmas.
With the new vaccine signed off there is hope that it will not be too many more months until life starts to return to normal, and we will keep you posted regarding developments with the Band.
In the meantime, thank you for your support and your continued interest in Fairlop Brass Band and may I wish you all a very Happy New Year.
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 12
2nd January 2021
Never did I think that these updates would number 13, but we are where we are.
As the Band now approaches a year without rehearsing we still do all we can to keep positive.
2020 was a year we would like to forget, but never will and we decided to end it with a special Festive Zoom meeting. Christmas attire was compulsory and we were entertained by a Mandolin Solo from Solo Tenor Horn, Alan Poultney (quite a few of the Band have taken up or advanced their playing of stringed instruments during the pandemic), a Music Quiz set by Solo Cornet Lynne Hunt as well as the grand end of year draw with Gary “Mr 100 Club” Thwaites and his random number generator.
This was also a time to virtually hand out some awards, and congratulations go to new Fairlop Bandsman of the Year, Andy Carter (Percussion), in recognition of the fantastic work he has undertaken in pulling all of our virtual performances together. The Fairlop Fool Award (Toilet Seat) was this year presented to Sarah Rogers for her comment that Christmas Twins contained 3 Christmas Tunes! Special awards were also made to previous winners, all receiving a medal of a tiny wooden dolls house toilet seat, with small toilet brushes as bars, for those who have won it more than once.
After a break over the festive period our Zoom calls have resumed every Monday evening and we have been busy preparing our next Virtual Recording, which we hope will be on the website very soon.
We have also used our time away from Band to make some improvements to our website which, thanks to our webmaster Alan Rogers, now has more space to hold our digital archive and a better procedure to contact us.
We have no idea when we will be able to start rehearsals, but we have already taken bookings for next Christmas and are having tentative conversations about the summer, despite this it will be a while before we can confirm anything.
In the meantime, we welcome your comments via the web or our Facebook page, which is expertly managed by Rachel Moulton (Cornet). In addition, we thank all those of you who have renewed their 100 Club Subscriptions.
Please keep safe and follow the government guidelines.
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 13
3rd February 2021
Sunday 15th March 2020 was the last time the Band performed in public presenting a “Baking with Brass” concert to raise funds for St. Francis Church. As we ended, what was a very well received concert, little did we know what was ahead of us. Throughout this whole pandemic the Band has remained very positive and to “celebrate” the anniversary of our last performance our weekly Zoom chat on Monday 15th March will be a “Baking with Zoom” affair, with each member of the Band having to present their best bake!! Being Fairlop there is always a complication. I gave everyone plenty of time to arrange this by sending out the information to the Band during early February. Needless to say, on Monday 15th February 3 of the Band members (names withheld to spare blushes) tuned into the Zoom chat with their bakes!!
Our last Virtual Performance, The Way We Were, has received fantastic feedback, not only for the excellent playing but for the masterful visual work and sound editing by Andy Carter. During lockdown we have created an excellent body of work on our YouTube channel which rates positively alongside anything else we have done, in fact, we can nearly present a whole concert of our recordings without us being there!
It would appear that Brass playing is at the end of the queue for the lifting of lockdown measures, so it will be the end of June (at the earliest if other relaxation dates do not slip) before we are back to full Band rehearsals. With so much uncertainty it is difficult to plan our next performance as we know it will take a lot of time, work and maybe a few tears before we are back to playing at the level we want. We may be able to squeeze a concert in during the summer, otherwise we hope to be back performing in the autumn.
Thank you for all your messages of encouragement and thanks, it is so pleasing to know that people are enjoying our virtual performances. We have just started the planning and preparation work for our next one which we truly hope will be our last.
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 14
13th March 2021
I hope you are starting to enjoy the small relaxation in the lockdown restrictions, but as a Band we hope that everyone continues to follow the Government Guidelines. Amateur Brass Bands are at the back of the queue to return to rehearsals, so we do hope there will not be an increase in the rate of infections forcing a delay of the key dates.
Work is well underway on our next Virtual Performance (which we sincerely hope is our last) and once again thanks to all those who took part. We will let you know the release date soon.
Following our successful “Baking” Zoom chat last month, we had an even more successful “Cocktail” Zoom call last Monday. These themed calls along with the regular 100 Club draws do help to invigorate the chats, but I have warned all the Band that these relaxed Monday nights will end soon. To looks of horror, I did say that with 15 months to practice at home, alongside the regular Master Class and rehearsals videos I have sent out I am expecting great playing when we get back together!
Plans are underway to re-arrange our cancelled Tour to Belgium, and we hope the summer of next year will see us head off for what will, I am sure, be another great adventure.
We are always keen to support the wider Brass Band community and have been able to add our support to a close friend of the Band, Nigel Bennett, who is launching his own publishing website very soon. We were recently contacted by a new composer to Brass Bands who has asked us to play a piece of his music when we are back. He has supplied us with the music and a sound recording and I am pleased to say that we will be playing it on our return. We referred the new composer to Nigel, who is initially looking to promote his own arrangements and compositions, but once he has launched, he will now be looking to use his website to promote music from a wider range of composers.
I hope there will only be another one of these updates before I am able to confirm that we are back to rehearsals, in the meantime keep safe!
Fairlop Brass - Virus Update 15
17th April 2021