A BRASS band is back together after months of being stymied by lockdown — and sounding almost as good as ever.
Maltby Miners’ Welfare Band, who have not been seen in public since open-air carol renditions last Christmas, have resumed indoor rehearsals at the Wesley Centre in the former pit village — and are keen to play for the public again.
Secretary Christine Sandham said of the first rehearsal: “We had 27 of us there, which is 90 per cent of the band, which was fantastic.
“It’s not sounding too bad considering we’ve not been practising together as we usually would.
“We’ve got to get our playing lips back but morale in the band is fantastic.
“It is about eight months since we played together at the Wesley Centre.
“We’ve had band talks and zoom quizzes every week, but it’s not been the same as being together.”
The first lockdown last spring came just weeks after a triumphant spell for Maltby, where their players won awards at a regional contest — and less than two months before they were due to play a celebration concert at Rotherham Civic Theatre to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
“It hit us hard as a band after such a fantastic 2019 when we’d had so much success and been in each other’s pockets all the time,” said Christine.
“Now we feel a bit like we’re coming out the other side.
“We are booked in for Brodsworth Hall on June 25, and then for Newark and Pontefract Castle, and around Christmas we are fully booked — it’s looking a lot more positive than this time last year.
“We play Brodsworth every summer and that will be great as we’re really missing being in front of a crowd. That’s what you play for.
“We have to practise socially distanced and we can’t socialise in the same way, as we’re following all the guidelines, so it’s not quite the same — but it’s a sight better than it was.”
Christine said audiences could expect a mix of the classic and modern from Maltby this year, adding: “When we had our first rehearsal back, we did Jerusalem and Wellerman, the sea shanty which became such a hit during lockdown — so we have all sorts.”