- November 22, 2016
A few weeks ago I went to a fund raising concert in Brighton where I listened to two of my favourite singers, Claire Martin and Barb Jungr. Claire is an amazing jazz singer with truly captivating interpretive skills. Barb is a chanteuse whose voice is unique and she has the skill to wring out every last emotion from a song. I love her work and cannot wait to hear her new album of Beatles songs when it is released.
At the weekend on social media she posted a video of a northern brass band. I love the sound of a brass band but it does have the most extraordinary effect on me. Brass bands make me cry.
I think my first memory of hearing a brass band was a childhood Christmas, I must have been five or maybe six as the memory is located close to my grandparents’ home where at that time we still lived.
Coaxed into my best clothes
It was Christmas morning and overnight it had snowed. Our street was cobbled but that morning everything lay under a thick blanket of pure white snow (yes cobbled, I am that old). Of course I had hardly slept in anticipation of the gifts that Father Christmas would bring so everyone had to get up early. My grandfather was in the kitchen cooking sausages and bacon and lamb chops and my baby brother and I were running round with new toys and selection boxes that we had been forbidden to open.
Eventually I was coaxed into my best clothes ready to go to church. It was only two streets away but being late was not going to be an option. Finally, dressed in my best, we stepped through the vestibule – now there’s a word that marries well to cobbled streets in terms of dating me – onto the front path which dad had already cleared of snow and from there out on the slippery York stone paving slabs beyond.
It was cold and crisp and quiet – or was it? Wafting across the air came the sweet, golden and mellow sounds of a brass band playing carols. It was the Salvation Army Band, all dressed in crimson uniforms, caps and bonnets. It’s a memory that I will never forget and one that always prompts me to donate to them to this day.