A week on from being in Switzerland working with the fabulous musicians of the Echo du Jorat Brass Band, I’ve been pondering why the concert Simon and I took part in had such a huge impact on me when, to be quite frank, the idea of playing in a brass band concert in the UK leaves me somewhat cold these days.
That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed a couple of the last concerts I’ve played in here in Blighty. Before Christmas I had the great pleasure of playing for the Rothwell Temperance Band in two concerts and well, what a band that is! A superb standard band with a great Musical Director that puts a little twist on the musical choices to keep programmes fresh, plus a full, appreciative audience. What a great combo!
The fact is though, I loved our Switzerland gig because it wasn’t just a concert. It was a whole performance and event packaged up with every element that made the musicians and audience happy and wanting more.
For years, bands, choirs and other musical groups in the UK have put on a concert for audiences to enjoy, but with a decline in audience sizes, less disposable income for people to spend on attending concerts and let’s face it, a general apathy towards supporting the arts, concerts are struggling to compete with other social invitations.
Maybe it’s just because groups are not offering the paying guests enough? Maybe it’s time for a shake-up and to think outside the box.
The format for our Swiss adventure went something like this….
8.30pm – Concert… A great concert in two halves with new music, easy listening music, great soloists (all of which did an encore of their entire solo again). During the interval, there was the usual drinks, raffle etc… everything you’d expect to help ‘up the revenue.’
11pm – Concert finishes. Lots of happy musicians and very happy paying guests…none of which leave the venue….
So, what happens next you may ask? Well, it was at this point that everyone chipped in and seemingly this was just the beginning of the night… A local folk band started playing, people started dancing, the local food and wine was flowing, everyone had their role to play and there was a room of the biggest, happiest party I’ve seen in a while…and they were still going five or six hours later! It was truly brilliant and a tremendous, happy atmosphere.
But it isn’t rocket science to make it such a success; quite simply the concert wasn’t just a concert. It was a whole performance event and party which became a great celebration of music, food and drink.
Now, like the best culinary recipes, surely that’s the way forward with performances…simple quality ingredients put together well to create the ultimate sensation.
Food (and music) for thought…