2020 was a bit rubbish, wasn’t it? The last eighteen months have been hugely difficult for everyone during this global pandemic, and while it is far from over we are starting to see some relaxation of the restrictions that have limited our banding activities.
The priority during Covid has always been the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. While we have not been able to play together for the longest time we have understood the reasons for staying home – playing a brass instrument inside with 25 other people was not safe. We have been at home practising on our own since our last performance in March 2020 at the Regional Championships. We have had to put aside doing the thing we love for so long, but for very good reasons.
We haven’t been entirely inactive though. In-between lockdowns it was possible for us to rehearse outside, and while this has meant being at the mercy of the British weather we were able to get together every now and again in the car park of Hollies Nursery in Mapperley. We are very thankful to them for allowing us to use their space, and we happy to play a little concert for them recently too.
More recently we have been rehearsing once a week at Burton Joyce Village Hall. This is a large venue with good ventilation, and this allowed us to maintain social distancing while playing. It also ensured that our rehearsals were not curtailed due to rain or even slightly gusty wind – plus there are a number of good pubs nearby (a particularly happy bonus). Rehearsing here has helped us immensely, and we are thankful for its use over the last few months.
Last week we were finally able to rehearse again in our own bandroom in Netherfield. While we do not have as much space, we do have an industrial air conditioning unit which enables us to have constantly replaced and filtered air. Combined with a cleaning regime and other activities we are now able to provide a reasonably Covid-safe environment that complies with current government regulations. We can play again in our own home!
We are aware that the pandemic is not yet over and that attendance is very much up to the decision of the individual. We encourage everyone to take a lateral flow test periodically and to stay at home if feeling unwell. We hope that we can maintain regular rehearsals and accept that we may need to take some time out if anyone catches Covid, but it has been so pleasing to be able to play together again, in our own room.
We see this as a tentative but very welcome return to doing the thing we love: making music with our friends. We are all a bit rusty but there have been some wonderful sounds emanating from 23 Meadow Lane Netherfield for the first time in too long.