After the impact of the pandemic held La Ronde Concert Band back from celebrating their 40th anniversary properly, they are ready to catch up with an exciting 41st birthday celebration.
The band's 2023 outdoor concerts are taking place on various evenings through the summer at Howard Davis Park.
Their anniversary concert is planned on Wednesday 5 July at 19:30.
“We’re trying to celebrate that we have been together from 41 years now and the band has gone from strength to strength,” said Charlotte Cooper, who has been the band’s conductor since 2013.
People are invited to drop by for some of the concert, stay the whole time, or even bring a picnic blanket.
Other concerts will take place at 19:30 on Wednesday 21 June and Wednesday 13 September.
No tickets are needed, though the band passes a bucket around at the end of the concert.
The band is also scheduled to play at Government House on 16 June.
The band’s repertoire features “something for everyone”, according to Tracy Bromley, a founding member of La Ronde who handles their publicity.
Pictured: Charlotte Cooper has been La Ronde's conductor for the last decade. (Rob Currie)
“At the present time we have in our practice pads ‘Batman Forever’, ‘The Lion King’, ‘Schindler's List’, ‘Fistful of Dollars’, various marches, sea songs and music that highlights various sections of the band,” she said.
The band was formed in 1982 by a brass teacher at Highlands College, who wanted to encourage people to keep playing after they left school – and the band still meets every Wednesday, though their rehearsals are now held at Chateau Vermont.
Tracy has played the flute for the band since its first rehearsal in the Highlands College canteen.
“I can remember going," she said. "I can remember feeling nervous!”
Tracy added: “I was there for a year so I knew where I was going. I was going to the old canteen with a wooden floor.
“We were sat in a circle – that's why it’s called La Ronde.
“We didn’t have a conductor, Neil played the trombone. He would start us off.
“Trumpets can play their instrument with one hand. Neil would direct us from where he was sitting.”
Tracy said that after over 40 years of playing in the band, Wednesdays have become synonymous with rehearsals for her.
The band’s 35 regular members come from a variety of backgrounds, with former teachers, military, accountants and luthiers all represented. One of the band’s members, David Perchard, was even present on Liberation Square in 1945.
With the Covid-19 pandemic, the band’s members weren’t able to rehearse together, though they met up socially on Zoom. And when rehearsals could start again in 2021, they had to sit at a distance from each other and be careful with their hygiene – with flautists, for example, using a towel to catch their saliva.
But now that the band is fully back up and running, members are looking forward to a summer of concerts at Howard Davis Park.
Clarinet player, Sarah Cornish said: “What keeps me coming is enjoyment of the wide range of music as well as the camaraderie. Playing music is also a great way to switch off from things and to be ‘in the moment’.”
The band is open to any adult brass, woodwind or percussion players from around Grade 5 level to join.
They would be able to join rehearsals for a few weeks to see if they enjoy it.
Pictured top: La Ronde Concert Band plays for Liberation Day. (David Ferguson)
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.