Today is of course the traditional May Day celebration, where the band ‘rehearses’ the Flora Dance at the early hour and again in the evening.
The band this morning numbered around fifty, made up of players from the Senior, Concert, and Beginners bands, with the vast majority living within just a drum beat of the town.
Despite the early hour, there was a decent crowd throughout the town and many stood at their doors or windows with bleary eyes, dressing gowns and a cup of tea in hand.
There was a light shower to wake us as we set off and another one on the way up Coinagehall Street, but other than that we got away with it. Although there were minimal dancers this morning, there is no doubt that by this evening their numbers will increase and the band will also swell in ranks. We will leave the rest of the day in the hands of Rick Stein and an oss and see you again at 7pm
So here we are, the first stop on our road to Flora Day, the Culdrose rehearsal, as always we were generously provided with a coach to and from the naval airbase and the band made it to the Ward Room where the usual nervous laughter could be heard around the room as those Naval Officers who will be taking part in this year’s Midday Dance prepared to be shown the ropes.
John Eddy gave the traditional speech about the history and origins of the dance, before introducing four Helston dancers to give a demonstration of the steps.
As the officers lined up to rehearse the dance with experienced Helston dancers intermingled, they all gave a valiant effort.
Once the officers had a grasp of the dance the Helston dancers withdrew and it was time for the navy to go it alone. After a couple of turns around the ballroom and a lap around the car park, we headed back inside for a pasty and a pint.
As we began our journey home our thoughts turned to the next event for the band, May Day, this coming Thursday where the streets will be packed with the Senior, Concert and Beginner members of the band. Being a school day, the morning procession will begin at 6.30am and the evening procession at 7pm.
Looking at the forecast it might be an idea to bring a mac!
Once again, we would like to thank Culdrose for their hospitality, check back during the day on Thursday for an account of the May Day morning procession.
7am on May 8th is just 16 days and 20 hours away (at time of writing!) and we have just one question.... are you ready?
As all involved in HTB begin the final run-in to the big day we will be providing regular updates on all the events we attend leading up to Flora Day, from our youngsters making their final preperations in the band room car park, to the senior band trip to Culdrose and of course the big day itself.
You can also follow our 'Flora Day Fortnight' on Facebook and Twitter -
It’s that time of year again, Flora Day is once again upon us - the senior band have completed their final rehearsal before the Flora Day fortnight, the beginners group have worn out the band room tarmac, and the usual mad scramble to locate enough blue jackets has ensued. For the first time in what seems an age, the 10 day forecast looks pretty good
for My the 8th, but let’s not get carried away just yet…..
In previous years I have written a ‘Flora Day Diary’ but as it was becoming increasingly difficult not repeat myself, this year I will be providing simple updates to each event we attend and of course a full write up of the big day itself - obviously with any interesting side notes or occurrences that may take place.
I will begin with a quick recap of the last 12 months.
An emotional finish to Flora Day 2013 saw MD John Hitchens stand down after an incredible decade of success at the helm of the band. The crowd and band reaction at the end of the 5 o’clock dance was really something special.
John’s departure ushered in a busy and transitional year for HTB.
The band began the post John era on the hunt for a new Musical Director, which ultimately led to the appointment of Derek Johnson. Derek led the band throughout the summer season as well to the SWBBA contest in November and he continued in the role until the end of 2013, also helping to establish the Helston Town Concert Band during his tenure.
During this period the band also appointed a new principal cornet in the form of talented 14 year old Andy Wingham, this followed Demelza’s regrettable but understandable decision to move to Camborne band.
The New Year saw a new man in front of the band, January saw RAF musician Jim Gribben take over the reins on a temporary basis and lead the band to the West of England Regional Championships. Jim made an immediate impact on the band with his enthusiasm and obvious musical ability. Our appearance at the West of England Regional Championships gained a mid-table finish thus securing the bands national 1st section status until at least January 2016.
Jim has now moved to Oman to take up another post with the RAF and we sincerely wish him well in his new career.
The band also saw the departure of some well-known players, as well as the afore mentioned Demelza, Louise Williams and Kathryn Stinton decided to take a break from banding and top young percussionist Justin Strike also made the move to Championship section Camborne. Justin has recently been successful in attaining a place in the Nation Youth Band of Great Britain where we wish him every success.
I also took a 7 month break from the banding world, but am delighted to again be back with HTB.
The band also welcomed back some old faces – Ann Pascoe, Lowenna Christophers, Ben Martin (who will play the bass drum this year) and Gavin Pascoe made their full time returns to the band. HTB also welcomed Shaun Carter, Katy Wilson, Steve Matthews and Hannah Matthews into their ranks, all of whom have made a positive impact on the band.
Long term, the band has some very exciting news about the appointment of a new full time Musical Director……..but you will have to wait to find out more about that one!
So that, in a very small nut shell covers the last 12 months.
Our fortnight, as tradition dictates, begins with our trip to Culdrose this evening to help rehearse those naval dancers who will be taking part in this year’s Midday dance. Check back tommorow for an account.
Calling all Helstonians! - Your town needs you to help it get ready for Flora Day and beyond with this year's Helston Town Tidy.
For full info click on the following link -