Local band gives adults opportunity to learn
It’s never too late to learn to play a brass instrument – that’s the message from Sian Buss who runs the historic Warbleton Brass Band.
Since Sian, who has been the conductor of the main band for more than 10 years, put out the call for adults to join when the band was running low on numbers – she has been amazed by the response.
“We decided to start a band to feed into the main band when people became experienced enough. We always need more players as many have to leave because of work or going to university. As they progress they can join the main band rehearsal.
“I was convinced that there would be some adults in the area who would like to learn to play. I advertised and 14 people responded. They all came along to practice and we laid out the instruments and they chose what they wanted to play.
“There was a mixture of experience. Some were able to read music and others couldn’t read it at all. The great thing was that every person was able to get a note out of their instrument.”
After around five weeks the new band members were invited to join the main training band which is now called the Warbleton B Band. There were 23 players aged from seven to nearly 80 years old. There is a range of brass instruments including cornets, trombones, tubas and horns. For Sian the band is a real family affair with her husband playing principal cornet and her daughter playing the flugel.
“One of the new joiners had played the saxophone in the past and he chose a baritone which is like a small tuba and he got a great sound straight away. You don’t know what you can achieve until you have a go. All the players are loving it and I really think that the music keeps people going and in the main band I have had players aged up to nearly 90.
“Everyone helps each other – it’s great fun and a great hobby. For me it is about showing people that there is somewhere to play your instrument after leaving school. Lots of children learn an instrument at school and hand it back when they leave which is a real shame.”
Sarah Hutton who is a recent joiner said: “I am loving the opportunity to try something new without pressure to excel at it. Sian is brilliant at encouraging us all regardless of whether we have aptitude or not. Taking up the tenor horn appears to be good for motor skills and learning to read music is a challenge. And it’s fun too!”
Sian donates her time to the band and finds it very rewarding. When the band played their last concert it was standing room only. Each year the band supports a local charity and last Christmas they raised money for Teenage Cancer Trust. They perform at various venues such as Eastbourne Bandstand and at events such as Le Marche, Rushlake Green Flower Show, Proms on the Green as well as fetes and garden parties. Their next performance is on 17th March at the Heathfield Farmers’ Market
Warbleton Brass Band has been going since 1896 and some of the current players are related to original band members. Practice takes place every Friday at the Dunn Village Hall in Rushlake Green. Players and learners are always welcome. Instruments, uniform and tuition is provided free and if you join it’s just £1 per week.