Inevitably when one leaves a place there are many regrets, many things that one misses. One of those for us is the Wilshire Wind Band. I commented in an earlier note on the power of the scent of lavender to open our hearts for worship and argued that we needed to use more of our senses in church more often. But, of course, music is one of the major ways in which we do just that. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow congregants and singing hymns to the accompaniment of a grand organ really does seem to lift the soul. And listening to Wilshire’s Wind Band did just that for Nancy and me. We miss them.
We are blessed, though, to have discovered the local Cape Town Brass and went to hear them at our church last night. No flutes and the like in this band, just trumpets, trombones, tubas and the like, all making a really joyful brassy sound. The concert began with a Renaissance piece called the Earl of Oxford’s March and wandered through the centuries with pieces like the Radetsky March and ended up with Sousa’s High School Cadets. It was the sort of concert that makes one think of angels blowing their trumpets and lifts one to heaven — with toes tapping.
The band donates its services as a fundraiser for the church partly because one of its principal players is a member of our church. Russell learned to play his euphonium in Australia and in a Salvation Army Band. My mother’s family hails from Consett in the Northeast of England near Durham. It was a coal and iron ore mining town for many years and is notable for having the very first Salvation Army Band in the world. It was founded in 1879, consisted of just four players, and performed mostly at Christmas. Today their bands are universal.