With thanks (or apologies) to the Beatles for their inspirational song, it has been 20 years since Bude Metric Brass was formed.
It started with just four people hoping to form a simple quartet, but other people who read the constitution and wished to “pursue their hobby in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, playing challenging, stimulating music of mutual choice” soon joined in until there were ten players — hence “Metric” in their title.
But they agreed that they would not march anywhere, and probably never enter a brass band contest. Despite that the band now has 28 regular members, many who also play with bands in Holsworthy, Hartland, St Gennys and Bodmin.
In the following 20 years there were some notable moments. In their first few months the phone rang and a voice said: “It is the mayor here, can you play on the bandstand for “Gurney Day” (now known as Heritage Day) an event they regularly played at until this year.”
Then the RNLI asked if the band could entertain visitors at August Bank Holiday, and Poughill Revel also asked for their services, the latter being difficult since it was in the working day, but they managed and still are proud to be invited back each year.
In 2008 the band played at the Eden Project for the farewell to Bishop Bill, and they experienced every type of weather from rain to hail to snow to sunshine. More notably was the last piece of music “Classical Gold” which lasted for seven minutes.
Musical director, Colin Gay, said: “The Eden Project didn’t really want a recessional because the audience stay to listen, but it was getting quite cold so several thousand people hurried back to the coaches and our largest audience to date became almost the smallest!”
Each year the band hosts a charity concert know as “Band Together” at Penstowe Manor in aid of Cornwall Air Ambulance and other local charities — Jay’s Aim in 2023.
Members of other bands as far away as London and Yorkshire join together for just one or two rehearsals, and then the concert. A total of 237 pieces of music have been played at the 13 concerts, with another scheduled for February 17, 2024.
More recently the band were pleased to support Bude-Stratton Town Council playing for the late Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, and at very short notice for the Proclamation of King Charles III.
The pandemic stopped almost everything, including brass bands. Many other bands struggled to maintain members, and metrics lost six people. Some of the vacancies have now been filled with new recruits being taught how to play, and other who have moved here from “up country”.
But there are still vacancies for anyone who might like to join in, especially percussionists, and baritone horn players. The band rehearse on a Monday evening in the Parkhouse Centre, and there is an open invitation for anyone of any age or ability to come and maybe just listen or perhaps join in.
For more information visit www.budemetricbrass.org.uk