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Hectic times at Becontree

It's been a hectic time on the run up to Christmas for Becontree Band including a 5pm job in Trafalgar Square, London.



A week after their Barking Concert, a ten-piece ensemble from Becontree Band made its way to Forest Gate to play in a concert organised through our star 2nd horn and resident barmaid, Michelle, on 10th December.


In true Becontree tradition there were more people in the ensemble than there were in the crowd. The band featured such brass band masterpieces as Kalinka and Instant Concert.

Tuesday 12th December saw a composite group of players from Becontree and Hadleigh Temple SA journey to the salubrious environs of the East India Dock Road to present a concert to the residents of the Queen Victoria Seaman’s Rest home, run by our flugel playing Scotsman, Alex.

A band of twelve or so rattled through some Christmas classics including Noel Jones’ Christmas Praise, Leslie Condon’s Manger Scene and Peter Graham’s Silent night. The large audience were also given the chance to sing along to favourite carols , and the band's flugel player, made his debut as a choral conductor leading the QVSR choir in some unique performances.

This was an enjoyable evening, with something very poignant about playing these Christmas tunes to an audience of perhaps marginalised people in the shadow of the monument to rapacious capitalism and state-sponsored corporate greed that is Canary Wharf .


On Sunday 17th, and a small number of the band performed in
Chadwell Heath Park. Initial signs were not good as it looked like we would be playing to the proverbial two old ladies and a dog , but with the appearance of Father Christmas, a clown and the Mayor of Barking and Dagenham a sizeable crowd soon appeared and joined in the singing . Although still unseasonably warm at the start of the job, it was turning a little nippy by the end , and we hardy players were glad of the mulled wine on offer.

The organisers were grateful to have us there, and it looks like this could become a regular fixture . It was good for the band to be connecting with the grass-roots community from which we draw our name.

The band's final job of the season took place on Wednesday 20th in Trafalgar Square to accompany choir singing under the Christmas tree featured six players including a colleague from the Ipswich and Norwich Co-op Band.

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Neil Samuel