Thunder, lightning and rain but Harrogate band plays on heroically at Valley Gardens

Forget going down a storm, Harrogate's Tewit Youth Band performed in one at the weekend in an act of sheer musical heroism.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 5:15 pm
Tewit Youth Band and its Musical Director, Martin Hall bravely play on in a thunderstorm at the Valley Gardens in Harrogate.
Tewit Youth Band and its Musical Director, Martin Hall bravely play on in a thunderstorm at the Valley Gardens in Harrogate.

Sunday's free show in the Valley Gardens was always going to be a special occasion for the town's award-winning youth brass band.

A return to the live stage for the first time since pre-Covid days and. not only that, in the company of the world famous Black Dyke Band who had offered to play a joint concert without any fee.

Rain of glory - Musical Director Martin Hall and the Tewit Youth Band brave the storm to carry on playing in their first Harrogate concert in months.

What Tewit Youth Band could not have forseen was the arrival of one of the wettest weekends of the whole year. Thunder, lightning, rain...the whole works.

But, in true tradition, the band did play on and an equally brave and impressively large audience braved the elements to applaud their efforts.

Tewit Youth Band's president Colin W Gibbs BEM said: "Half way through their program the heavens opened with a massive thunder storm.

"As the band had to be spaced out two metres apart under Covid restrictions, over half were outside the bandstand on the grass and fully exposed to the downpour.

"Despite this "the band played on" through it all and fully completed their program, which was exceedingly appreciated by the audience who bravely stayed on under cover of umbrellas and waterproofs.

"Our musical director Martin Hall, and those band members out in the open, were completely saturated.

"But the band played on, as they say. We were just delighted to have been able to play in a live concert for the first time in 18 months due to lockdown.

"Most of the audience stayed on, too, and really enjoyed a magnificent programme."

Tewit Youth Band had opened the concert with the rousing march Barnard Castle, with a huge audience in attendance, at Valley Gardens Bandstand, all suitably spaced out in their Covid bubbles.

As a number of Tewit members having to isolate through being Covid contacts at school, some Black Dyke players generously stepped in to fill the gaps, for which they were extremely grateful.

As well as thanking the guest band, Mr Gibbs also paid tribute to the audience in the Valley Gardens.

He said: "There was a huge audience in attendance, all suitably spaced out in their Covid bubbles and sporting umbrellas and waterproofs.

"Our thanks go out to them for coming out in such bad weather.

"Many of them told us afterwards they would like more concerts of this type and quality in Valley Gardens in the future."

Tewit Senior Band are one of the top youth brass bands in the country having won three gold awards and around six silver awards in the National Youth Brass Band Championships over the years, have received an amazing invitation.

The concert at Valley Gardens was made possible by funding from the Government's Culture Recovery Fund via Arts Council England.

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