Whilst many bands may look to the future with some apprehension due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Wantage Band will look ahead to the coming months by extending their band hall to accommodate an increase over 30 new members.
The success is down to the hard work of tutors Sara Wallbridge and Sam Wyne that over 20 new beginners have started learning to play and will soon embark of their musical journey by attending Wantage Beginner Band when rehearsals resume.
Meanwhile, the small number of vacancies within the organisation's Championship Section ranks have also been filled with new members who will also return to rehearsals in a matter of weeks' time.
Phil Singleton, David Hirst and Kat Hawkins will strengthen the cornet section, with Phil becoming the new principal cornet. A professional trumpet player, composer and musicologist he recently returned from France where he was teaching and performing.
He said: "I'm delighted and honoured to have been invited to become principal cornet, and I'm looking forward to contributing to our local brass band tradition, and to our first public concerts together this summer."
Kat has spent the last few years enjoying success with Friary Band. Having recently moved to the area and enjoying her time with the band, albeit mostly virtually, she has decided to make the move permanent on the solo cornet bench.
Meanwhile, David is a familiar face having conducted the band on many occasions, and brings a wealth of elite banding experience to the repiano seat from his time spent with Black Dyke, Brighouse & Rastrick and others.
He added: "I'm looking forward to some enjoyable music making. The band have a great ethos under Paul Holland and has the great future potential an extremely effective management team."
The quartet of signings is completed by second baritone, Ian Walshaw. Ian works as a euphonium player with the British Army Band in Sandhurst and has previously played with Lydbrook, Yorkshire Imperial and Carlton Main Frickley Colliery.
We are all optimistic about the possible return of rehearsals in the future and officially extend a warm welcome to our new additionsPaul Holland
Speaking to 4BR about the new signings and news, Musical Director Paul Holland told 4BR: "It's incredible to think that during such a disruptive time that we've managed to attract key personnel to the band.
We are all optimistic about the possible return of rehearsals in the future and officially extend a warm welcome to our new additions."