RONG ON RIGHT PATH - BB shines a light on one of the rising stars of Norwegian banding

Issue 6062

BACK IN BUSINESS - Boost for bands in England as rehearsals resume

STAGE SET FOR CORY CONTEST - Draw made for online championship, with international flavour

History repeats in Hepworth but band plays on

Monday 29 June, 2020

Every year, the Yorkshire village of Hepworth hosts a feast to mark the anniversary of the Great Plague. Nearly four centuries on, and with an element of history repeating itself, members of Hepworth Band have joined forces to pay a musical tribute to those affected by the life-changing events.

The annual feast would usually take place on the last Monday in June, with an afternoon procession accompanied by Hepworth Band followed by a big celebration in the centre of the village. Hepworth was thought to be the most northerly place the disease reached, having been carried on cloth bought from London. The plague divided Hepworth in two and in the ultimate act of social distancing, those infected isolated in one half of the village, helping to keep the rest of the villagers safe. Thirteen people lost their lives.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw the 2020 commemoration cancelled but undeterred, six soloists from Hepworth Band came together, socially distancing, to perform the hymn Deep Harmony in a bid to give something back to their local community and to raise much needed band funds. More pieces from the recording session are to be unveiled in due course.

Ryan Watkins, the band’s musical director, said: “The band is an important part of Hepworth and the people in the village are important to us. We want them to be able to enjoy a warm, comforting and familiar sound, especially in these difficult times.”

Prior to lockdown, members of Hepworth were celebrating after the band qualified to represent Yorkshire at the National Brass Band Championships in London’s Royal Albert Hall. Social distancing has meant players haven’t performed together since the outing to the Yorkshire Regionals. This is also an important community fundraising opportunity for the band at a time when traditional income generation events, grants and new sponsorship opportunities have stopped. Money raised will be used to help fund the broadcasting of a series of online concerts to the community as well as essential changes required to their bandroom to allow players to return to rehearsals.