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The Bare Necessities of a community concert band…

So, while a global pandemic has put the grand pause on bands meeting and rehearsing, I’ve been thinking about why we do what we do and do we miss it if we don’t do it.

Building and fostering community is at the heart of Tutti! Leeds Community Concert Band. Sure, we love making the music, the challenge of a new piece, perfecting that tricky passage, the thrill of really finding that groove and the joy of performing to people, but it’s about being with others in order to achieve those things. We want to hear the combined sounds of wind, brass and percussion, while also being with the people who make those sounds. In Tutti!, we joke that coffee and cake are the most important parts of our Saturday morning ritual, but it actually is crucial to the cohesion of our group.

I grew up playing in concert bands, brass bands and stage bands: at church, school and in the community, and it was the ‘being together’, the combining of forces that brought the greatest boost to my mental health and well-being. Right now, we are missing that in Tutti!

Our name actually means “together” in Italian. It’s a term we use in music and it’s the term we use to make our music.

I asked the band what they love about band and miss during the 'lockdown', and here is a selection of their responses:

“I miss the excitement of playing in a large ensemble”.

“I relish the challenge of playing my individual part that then makes up the group


“I miss seeing my friends…”

“I miss the fun of playing and making music together – and the tea, cake and giggles”

“I love hanging out with all you fabulous musicians and the wonderful positivity and

encouragement you bring.”

“I have been accepted for whom and what I am”.

“I miss being part of a team who… are all doing the same thing and learning


“There’s no way of replicating what we have without being in the same room”. ..

So, like people all over the world, we are scrambling to maintain a sense of community in isolation. We are sharing photos of our younger selves playing music on our WhatsApp group, and we’ve had varied success using Zoom to meet and play together. There’s talk of having a Zoom pub-quiz and we’ve jumped on the (literal) bandwagon and made a video of us playing one of our favourite tunes.

Look for the bare necessities

The simple bare necessities

Forget about your worries and your strife

I mean the bare necessities

That's why a (BAND) can rest at ease

With just the bare necessities of life

Of course being ‘a tutti’ in Tutti! is what we’re all looking forward to, and once baking supplies are again available in the shops, we’ll be set for that first coffee break! But for now our group remains strong and connected, which is a simple bare necessity of our community life.

Joelle Braithwaite, Musical Director/Conductor

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