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Fountain of youth

Sunday 30 May, 2021


The youngsters of Elland Silver Youth Band are quite literally buzzing. After more than a year of not meeting, they are starting to get together again, rekindling musical fun and friendships. The band’s conductor Samantha Harrison, who has been behind so much of its success, chats to British Bandsman editor Mark Good about keeping momentum going during the pandemic, reflects on the band’s highlights to date and looks, with optimism, to the coming weeks and months.


How have the past 14 months been for you?

SH: We are ok and beginning to get our spirits up again. It has been a bit of a crazy time; what we thought might be a two-week shutdown became something much bigger. What I’ve tried to do is to keep things as normal as possible, for my own sake as much as anything. We wanted to stay connected as much as possible to the friends and family we have in the band.

What sorts of things have you done to keep up momentum?

SH: We started by testing what we could do remotely online.
We worked with families and youngsters, encouraging them to participate in the sessions we were offering. Initially, we looked at areas of development for their playing and we spent some time on things we wouldn’t normally have time to do in a rehearsal. We had various speakers who chatted to the band. For the younger children, it was like delivering classes but in a different way. We listened to lots of music, listened to different styles. We watched some of the online videos and we learned lots of scales.


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