Social Side of Things
The band has a great social life (probably related to the close proximity of several local hostelries, where thirsts can be slaked after intensive band rehearsals). We have even cruised up and down the river Dee on a couple occasions. Both times the weather was glorious and that certainly is an advantage when you are travelling in an open topped boat and enjoying a barbecued meal on the banks of the river! Who knows we may do it again this summer?
Our Christmas parties usually happen in January or February (there is so much going in December!), when the band room is transformed into a bar/disco/bistro for a night with DJ Paul Jones in charge. Other events, such as quizzes, dances, birthday parties are also held in the band room, and we sometimes venture further afield for meals and evenings out.
Our Training Band holds an annual solo contest followed by a late afternoon BBQ on a Sunday each July, and this has been a great event even on the odd occasion the sun didn't shine.... the combination of enthusiastic musicians and the tremendous spread of food prepared by Sylvia MacDonald is a surefire winner. Of course many of our band outings combine performing and the social side of banding - such as the 3 evenings the band plays at the annual charity beer festival held at the rugby club each year, and the many summer fetes.
To help fund our social outings we run a Saturday Lottery Bonus Ball sweep at £1.00 a go. Half the stake money goes to the winner and half to the Social Fund account. This helps to pay for the various social events and gifts for special occasions like retirements, engagements, marriages and births, hopefully of future brass players! See Sylvia MacDonald if you'd like to have a 'flutter'.
In recent years the band has also enjoyed weekends away while competing at major band contests, and of course the famous 'Whit Marches' held around the Manchester area (made famous in the film 'Brassed Off'). As well as being challenging tests of the band, these outings, usually by coach, are great fun and an opportunity for band members, family and friends to enjoy each others company....
The Training Band doesn't miss out on the social front either, with trips to concerts and outings, visits to rehearsals and recordings of Championship Bands (Fodens and Leyland in recent years) and the annual solo competition and BBQ of course. 2006 also saw the introduction of non-musical events into the training band calendar that included a mega ten-pin bowling challenge, and 2008 a rounders match!