IT IS going to be a busy run up to Christmas for Tavistock’s Stannary Brass Band as things finally get back to normal after covid.

The band has always been a key part of Christmas in Tavistock.

And members are currently rehearsing carols and other festive music for a packed calendar of events which started last week when the Trees of Light are switched on on the town hall.

They will be playing a rousing collection of carols and other festive music at their annual Christmas concert in St Eustachius Parish Church on December 17, with their patron Angela Rippon.

Band chairman Steve Gray and his wife Jenny both play the tenor horn in the band.

‘We are the same as lots of other parents, we took our children along the stannary band and then we got involved ourselves,’ said Steve. ‘I think for children it gives them confidence and self reliance.’

Jenny added: ‘It is fun for children doing something in a group. If you take music lessons at home you are on your own. They can take it further it they want. Some want to go on and do grades, take exams but whatever they do, it is a skill for life.

She added: ‘The band provides instruments on loan because the bigger instruments are out of the reach of a lot of people.’

There is no membership fee to join; all that is needed is enthusiasm and a commitment to coming along to the practise sessions on Wednesday nights, which are held at Mount Kelly. Adult beginners are as welcome as children. ‘We have an open door policy, it is as simple as that,’ said Steve.

During covid, the band could not perform or meet to practise, so it was a difficult time. ‘We did try playing on Zoom but because people play at different speeds we couldn’t do it,’ said Jenny.

They did continue to meet on Zoom, but ‘it was more of a social thing,’ said Steve.

This September, with the covid crisis abating and activities restarting, the band started meeting and making music together in person.

‘During the pandemic lots of children lost interest so since September we have had beginners again and then they are progressing through to the training band and then the main band,’ said Steve.

‘Our recruiting has been very successful and we have almost had stop recruiting which is a nice place to be. Mums and dads bring their children along and then they become members too.’

The band plays for the Remembrance Day parades in Tavistock and in Bere Alston and is now gearing up to a busy Christmas, with dates including Dickensian Evening in Tavistock.

A packed diary includes their fundraising concert on Saturday, December 17 at 7.30pm in St Eustachius’ Parish Church.

The concert’s return this year is a sign that Christmas is returning back to normal in Tavistock. The concert is one that supports the band’s activities throughout the year.

‘A vicar of Tavistock once said he felt Christmas had started when we held our concert,’ said Steve. Tickets for the concert are available from Stags in Market Street.