Strike Up The Band – Episode 21

The band members settled down to rehearse in the Golden Hind pub. They were all smiling now after their worrying night at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

After a lot of heated discussion, the objection made against their third place victory had been overruled. The officials had decided that Bethany had indeed been eligible to play the band’s cornet solo in place of Jason in the qualifying round of the competition. With a place in the final at stake, there had been many anxious minutes for Addersley Temperance until the decision was finally reached, but now the band was on its way.

There was a lot of work to be done before they played in the final, but while the band was jubilant and full of enthusiasm, Ken got down to practicalities.

“Bethany, I want you to practise all the solos alongside Jason,” he said with a stern glance at that young man, who had turned up unfit to play in Blackpool. “We can’t risk another situation like last time.”

“Bethany did brilliantly,” Rachel said, and there was a murmur of agreement from the band.

“I’ll be ready,” Jason defended himself. He knew he’d been an idiot to go partying the night before a competition. And he hadn’t liked seeing Bethany win the praise that was usually his. He wasn’t about to lose his place to a girl.

“You see that you are ready, lad,” Ken said firmly. “But anything could happen on the day. We need to be prepared.”

Then he had another piece of good news for them.

“I expect you’ve all heard about the draw for the FA Cup fixture,” he said.

There was a murmur of assent.

“Addersley Albion are playing Sheffield United at Addersley Stadium. It’s a big match for our little club and they’ve asked us to play at half-time!”

“Brilliant!” one of the bandsmen shouted.

There was an excited hubbub but Ken calmed them down.

“They asked Kemington Silver first, but luckily they had a prior engagement,” he said grimly. “Now, we’ve lots of work to do. For a start, we’ve to learn to play the club’s ‘Go, Go, Addersley’ tune.”

“The tune’s pinched from the ‘Pirates

Of Penzance’, isn’t it?” Janine asked.

“That’s right,” Norman, the trombone player, confirmed. “The policemen sing it. I think it’s called ‘Tantara’ but ‘Go, Go, Addersley’ is based on the melody.”

“We can easily get the music for it,” Ken said. “It’s certainly rousing.”

Norman’s chest swelled.

“The words were adapted after World War One,” he said proudly. “A lot of the Addersley players were in the war, you know,” Norman added. “The song was changed as a tribute to the war heroes,” he finished.

“You seem to know a lot about it,” Ken said.

Norman nodded.

“One of my great-uncles survived and played for Albion. I go to the local history class at the folk museum. There’s a chap there who is an expert on Addersley Albion.”

“Do they have an open day at the museum?” Janine asked, suddenly interested.

“I think so,” Norman replied.

“We could play outside in the car park,” she suggested. “It’d be good publicity for the museum and for us. I’ll go and check it out.”

Ken beamed at her. She’d been coming up with ideas for fund-raising all week.

There was an excited chatter about the side’s chances and whether their team of semi-professionals would have a chance against the league team. The general consensus was that, with luck, Albion might be giant killers and bring much-needed revenue into the club.

“Now, back to this match,” Ken began, bringing them to order. “Are you all up for it?”

There was a great roar of approval.

“Good. I expect you to play on the day, rain or shine, no matter what. Now, let’s get back to work. We need to practise for the finals.”

They worked hard all that evening, going over and over the same parts of the programme until Bethany’s head ached. She knew she must practise hard to get the solos right. If Jason didn’t come up to the mark, they’d be depending on her and she wanted to be prepared this time. She noticed Jason scowling at her as she spoke to Ken before they all left, but she wasn’t going to be intimidated. He’d let the band down badly, and she was angry with him, too, for throwing her in at the deep end on the day.


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