Bandstand returns?

Could community bandstands provide the ideal catalyst for reaching out to a new brass band audience?

Helen Varley
  Helen Varley performs in front of the bandstand in Saltaire

Grimethorpe tenor horn star Helen Varley is pictured playing near the bandstand in Roberts Park, Saltaire, West Yorkshire.

Helen is a leading tutor at several music institutions including the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and is keen to see bandstands utilised once again when Covid-19 restrictions allow, as a focus of community music making.

Post Covid

She told 4BR: "A year ago I came across this beautiful bandstand lit up at night-time whilst out running.

I think it would be wonderful if we could get regular music performed on bandstands up and down the country when restrictions are sufficiently lifted.

There is something very special about a brass band concert given in a bandstand being enjoyed by an audience on a warm summer afternoon."

Community focal point

Helen added: "This isn't an old fashioned idea even though there is a rich history of bandstands in the UK.

In the future they can really become a focal point of community music making — and brass bands and brass ensembles should be part of that.

There is no better way to reach out to the wider community — and the acoustics are fabulous."

In the future they can really become a focal point of community music making — and brass bands and brass ensembles should be part of thatHelen Varley

World Heritage

Lorne recently contacted Helen to set up the shoot with Cobid-19 appropriate protocols.

The bandstand was built in 2010 and is part of the Unesco World Heritage Village of Saltaire. The Park opened in 1871, and had a small band stand for many years, which the one pictured, replaced.

Picture: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian

The images appeared in The Times and Yorkshire Post on Friday 19th February

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