You may well know that Ottery has two brass bands – the Silver Band and Brass Class. You may also know that brass instruments come in two colours – silver and brass. Is that the difference between the bands – silver instruments in the Silver Band and brass instruments in Brass Class? In a word, “no”; you’ll find both colour instruments in both bands. The actual difference is that Brass Class is a training band and, once you’re good enough, you can move on to the Silver Band. And the reason for the names? Well, “brass and “class” rhyme; and “Silver Band” sounds posh.
Once upon a time when Brass Class was started, it was meant for children learning a brass instrument but there are lots of “oldies” there now too. So how good do you have to be to join Brass Class? Well, brass instruments are basically long twisted pipes which have one end you blow in and one end which a sound comes out of. If you know which end to blow in, a vaguely reasonable sound comes out the other, you know a bit about how to read music and you’re prepared to come along on Monday evenings, 7.30-8.30, and learn more, then you’re in. Individual tuition can be arranged but, unfortunately, unlike the best things in life, it’s not free. On the good side, though, there are some brass instruments available to borrow if you don’t have your own. Once in Brass Class, wherever possible, you’ll sit next to someone who should know what they’re doing so you can be helped with any problems with reading music or fingering notes.
If you think from this description of Brass Class that the noise it makes can’t be any good, why not come along to the Brass Class concert? You might – no, you definitely will – just be surprised. As well as whole band pieces, there’ll be solo items. The concert is at The Institute on the last day of the Ottery Festival, Sunday 20 July, at 2.30pm. Tickets are on sale at Stagestruck and the Tourist Information Centre and a cream tea is included.
Don’t think that the Silver Band is leaving concerts to Brass Class, though. As well as concerts at the Connaught Gardens in Sidmouth every Thursday fortnight from July 3 to August 28 at 7.45, the Silver Band’s autumn concert will be on Saturday 4 October. Make sure you keep these dates free and hope to see you there.