Friday, 31 May 2013 21:11

Whit Friday

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Wow! Manannan Brass, the name chosen for the band, partly due to the fact we travelled over on the Steam Packets fast craft of the some name, have just returned from an enjoyable and memorable visit to the Whit Friday marches. The band was made up of members from Castletown, Douglas Town, Rushen Silver and Ramsey Town bands, with friends from off-island, some of which were student friends of Ian (our MD), ex-members of Castletown who are at university and other ex-Manxies. We also had a number of supporters with us.

The core of the band met at the sea terminal in Douglas at the unearthly hour of 6:45 for the sailing to Liverpool. An eventful trip as the sea was deceptively choppy. It was then onto the hotel in Manchester where we were meeting the rest of the band. This was the first opportunity for the band to rehearse as a full band, and even though it was in a tiny room close to the hotel reception, it sounded quite good. Not sure what the other hotel guests thought.
At our first village, Denton, under dark skies and a little rain we managed to get on without waiting. We were the second band to play here and although we had a slight faux pas with our marching (front rank!), Manxland, the piece we had chosen to play on the march, went well as did Punchinello. 
It was then straight back on the coach and of to Heyrod where there was a small crowd trying to shelter from the light rain. As soon as we finished the rain stopped.
The longest wait between arriving and playing was at Friezland. This is an up hill march with the smell of burgers and hotpot wafting down giving an incentive to get up the hill. There was a good sized and appreciative crowd and we were now just getting into the swing of things. ass and hotpot waftibg doqm
Uppermill next, we now knew what we were doing and were enjoying ourselves. So much that a couple of players almost missed the marching! Whilst waiting to go onto the stand to play we were asked where we were from, and when told we were from the Isle of Man they asked us did we know a David Karran, who we do! Apparently they were at university with him. It’s a small world. This was probably our best performance helped by there being a large and welcoming crowd.
Then onto, Delph. This was the best in terms of crowd and reception. However we did loose one of our solo cornet players who had to be excused just before we went on to play Punchinello. One of the bands in front of us, a Scottish group, wowed the crowd by playing Walk 500 Miles whilst waving a very large Scottish flag. But their rendition of Flower of Scotland was good humouredly booed.
It was then up into the hills to Scouthead. It was quite exposed up here with a breeze blowing, so was quite cold. The band in front of us, Rainford, had also decided to play Punchinello, only they were doing it on the march! They then played Knight Templar. A difficult one for us to follow. The marching part took us up to a field which by the time we got there was starting to get a bit muddy. Some of the girls were glad they weren’t wearing heels. Considering the cold there was still a good crowd but they sheltering in the marquees.
By the time we got to our last venue, Greenacre, the band was starting to flag, with tired lips and the effect of some of the socialising! The light was starting to go so most of us had trouble seeing the music clearly which also had an effect on the standard of playing. There was only a small crowd, however they had had a record number of bands at that contest, 47 and there were still another 2 after us.
The consensus of the band was now to call it a night as far as the playing was concerned. So we headed back to Manchester where the older members either went to bed or relaxed in the hotel bar, whilst the younger members went to party in a student bar opposite the Royal Northern College of Music, a regular haunt for a number of our friends who joined us, most of whom had been there with Ian.
The trip back to Liverpool the next day was somewhat quieter than the journey round the villages!





Thanks to all who took part and especially Ian and Simon for organising. Here’s to next year.



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