Academy Newsletter - August 2021


At last, the long time away from Band comes to an end and we are back and on track for a return within the next few weeks.

Some of the Senior Band have been busy since early June beginning with a quintet rehearsal in one of the players’ back gardens on a warm sunny evening as we prepared for a set of music we had been asked to play on Bourton Primary Schools’ playing field. Since then a small group played outside at the Gillingham Beer Festival hosted by the Royal British Legion and recently with the kind assistance of a few players from neighbouring Bands, we played three sets of music on the Wednesday of the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show. It was great at the show to see two of the Academy players. We have been a long time absent and now it is the turn of the Academy to get back to some Covid-Safe rehearsals and tuition. Most of this ‘Newsletter’ will be focused on ‘Return of the Academy’.



We are all hoping that everyone is coming back to Academy but it has been a considerable time away (18 months) and in that time I for one completely understand that some of you may have considered giving it all up. If these thoughts have been crossing your mind because you have found it difficult to practise at home and are worried that you will struggle on return, the messages are these -

  • Don’t worry, you are most likely not alone – I would imagine most will be in the same boat!

  • There is no pressure – I have been planning over recent months as to how we will approach a return to playing and that includes going back to basics if needed

I know that some of you have been playing regularly in lessons with me both at school and as private pupils and making super progress. Some of you are in the Training Band so under the expert guidance and direction of Jim Bennett you will not be held back and will enjoy your return and playing as a team. Those who are with me will not be held back either as I have made plans to ensure that everyone, whatever their standard and capabilities, will get the maximum benefit from the sessions on return



TRAINING BAND -I know Jim would like to start Training Band rehearsals on Friday the 17th September at the usual time. I will need to just confirm this nearer the time and will do that via email.

BEGINNER BRASS – I would like to get what ‘were’ the Monday groups back and all together at 6pm sometime the week beginning the 20th September. I have added ‘sometime’ as I am asking the question regarding changing the previous Monday evening arrangement to a Tuesday – would that work for you please? I only suggest this as it helps me out considerably as I am teaching all day in the Shaftesbury/Gillingham area and a Senior Band rehearsal follows on a Tuesday evening which all works out good. If we can do this then great as it will save me travelling to Gillingham three times a week by condensing it all into just two evenings. However, I will work with that which works best for yourselves, if we stay with a Monday then I will happily go along with that. Please do get back to me with your thoughts, thank you.




Hopefully all instruments are working well – valves/slides not stuck, mouthpiece clean. I would suggest checking the instrument now and getting in touch with me if there are any problems – I can arrange to meet up at the Band Room or at your address to look at and assess any problems with the instrument and either myself or an instrument repairer can get the instrument back to good working order. Happy to help so please do not hesitate to contact me if there are any defects/problems.



Steve (Ingham) has carried out a risk assessment and this is what we are doing as a Band to make sure that all of our members and visitors are Covid safe -

  • Facemasks – all adult members/visitors (unless exempt from wearing a facemask for health reasons), should wear a facemask. Playing members can take their facemask off when sitting in their rehearsal chair. Younger members (under 16 years of age) need not wear a facemask, the choice is yours

  • Hand sanitising gel – a dispenser has been fitted at the base of the staircase and all members/visitors should use this when entering the building please

  • Ventilation – we now have two open-able windows to the South side of the Band Room and additionally the Fire escape Door on the North side is being opened.

  • Chairs in the Band Room have been carefully set out to maintain at least 1 metre distancing between players

  • Instrument bell covers – some of you who have lessons with me will have these already and I would ask that you please bring these along to Academy rehearsals. For those of you who still require one we will provide these on arrival at an Academy rehearsal so do please let me know if you are coming back to the Academy so that we can order a few more. We have some left from a first order but hopefully you are all returning and if so we will happily get some more delivered

  • Water from instruments – we are asking everyone to bring along an absorbent cloth in a plastic bag to collect water from instruments

  • Instruments to be clean inside and out please. If you are not too sure of how to give your instrument a bath then just get in touch and I will be happy to talk you through it. Give the mouthpiece a good clean and brush through. If you need a mouthpiece brush please let me know as I do have a few for sale at/around £2

  • Seats, stands, door handles and stair handrail are all wiped down with a sanitising spray after each rehearsal

  • Register kept of all members attending rehearsals


So just to sum up-

  • Please let me know whether or not you are coming back to the Academy - hope the answer is a ‘Yes’ - you are all good players!

  • Please let me know if a possible change of evening to a Tuesday at 6pm is workable for the previous Monday groups (no problem if not – we will endeavour to find a way around any problems with certain evenings)

  • Do get in touch as soon as possible if parts of the instrument are not working and I will spring into action to get it all resolved and if you are not sure about cleaning the instrument then also email or call me and I will help. Just two things on cleaning, please don’t use any polish on the outside and when taking the instrument apart for a bath don’t mix the valves up or else you will end up with a puzzle of the century in the process of reassembly!

Looking forward to hearing from you soon and do not worry if you have not been playing much during the past 18 months – we will plan a gentle return to brass playing and that is a promise!!



Taylor is doing extremely well and has successfully completed his Army Basic Training Course in Winchester. During basic training, he was asked to sound Reveille on Cornet one morning to wake the troops up for Parade, breakfast and another day of gruelling training. During these last few weeks, Taylor has been back in Gillingham and has been along to a few rehearsals with the Senior Band.

Taylor will be travelling up to Birmingham shortly to continue with his specialist Medical Corps course which he has already started prior to this recent spell of ‘leave’. Great news that he is still playing his Cornet – well done Taylor!!



The Band Room does look good – much improved by both Band Members and Contractors. So I do hope you will be all coming back to enjoy making music with your friends in a bright, shiny, clean and sparkling Band Room and facilities. It really is a magnificent makeover. Hope to hear from you and see you hopefully sometime very soon.



Best wishes to you all,

Marcus Adams

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MEA - 31st August 2021

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