Brass bands nationwide have been invited to take part in a day of special events to celebrate the anniversary of the National Health Service and to recognise the efforts and sacrifice of social care and frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Plus we'll be offering a year's FREE BBE membership to one lucky band that performs our newly commissioned piece and posts a video on social media!
NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers' Day, to take place on 5 July 2021, is the brainchild of Pageantmaster Bruno Peek LVO OBE. Over recent months, Bruno has worked with event partners Brass Bands England (BBE) on ways to support bands across the UK to engage with their local communities during this national celebration. As a result, BBE has commissioned a special anthem from composer Liz Lane. The anthem is designed for bands to perform to coincide with the Nation’s Toast at 1.00pm on July 5 as their tribute to those who give so much 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The music, entitled Hear the Call, contains subtle musical references to the four UK nations and is designed to be played by groups of all sizes from six players upwards. Full scores and parts are downloadable free of charge from the BBE website and to aid bands in their preparations for the event, a recording has been made by Grimethorpe Colliery Band. Funding for this new commission has been supplied by the Norman Jones Trust.
Composer Liz Lane commented: “I was very honoured to be asked to write Hear the Call. The brief was to compose a celebratory and uplifting anthem, which as Bruno Peek said in our initial conversation 'the whole nation can get behind' - and would be suitable both for this year’s first NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers' Day and forthcoming years. I wanted the musical ethos to portray something of the incredible and diverse work encompassed, to give gratitude and remember, as well as look forward. The concept is a journey of one person (the solo at the beginning) who is supported by frontline workers so that they are able to return to family, friends and community.”
Liz continued: “The brief also requested Hear the Call to be playable by as many people as possible, and it is written for 4th section/youth band upwards. If there isn’t a full band, it will work for a minimum ensemble of six parts (cornet, flugelhorn, tenor horn, baritone, euphonium and Eb bass) and others can be added. Feel free to put together combinations, but these six parts are crucial to make it work properly. The addition of a small drum kit would work especially well. There is the option to add vocals - at the briefing meeting Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 was suggested as a model. Hear the Call is in a different style and modern-day context, of course, but like the march, the melody is heard first in the band and repeated with voices; these could be solo, choir or even audience. The opening is a slow, solo version of this melody - it would be especially suited to flugelhorn but any soloist could play it; the choice can be quite personal.”
Liz Lane concluded: “I am indebted to friends who helped collaborate with this in a number of different ways. Tracey Moss (nurse), Trevor Moss (policeman) and Zeph Churchill (nurse) gave up their time to share what it meant to them to be on the frontline, and as brass players, they also had an understanding of the musical perspective. Their thoughts were invaluable to both concept and lyrics; Andy Rashleigh, with whom I've worked for several years, wrote the words and the front cover was designed by Georgia Lowe with an illustration by Gary Andrews. Thanks to all involved for helping make this such a special project and to Brass Bands England for asking me to write Hear the Call. I hope everyone enjoys playing it and I can't wait to hear it live!”
Pageantmaster, Bruno Peek, commented: “We wanted to have a special, unique anthem written for NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers Day on 5 July this year to pay tribute to all those who work so tirelessly within the NHS, social care and on the frontline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, without any thought to their own safety. Who better to organise this than Brass Bands England, an organisation dedicated to involving people of all ages in the playing of music. We all look forward to hearing brass bands playing it across the country on 5 July!”
Brass Bands England Chief Executive Officer, Kenny Crookston, concluded: “We are delighted to have been asked by Bruno Peek to participate in this unique celebration and would like to encourage bands everywhere to get involved. The past 14 months have been very challenging for all bands, but with the gradual easing of restrictions it is hoped that they can all be back to something approaching normal activity when Hear the Call receives its first performances. Liz Lane has taken these challenges into account and given us a very appropriate and engaging piece that can be accessed easily by groups of all abilities from six players upwards. We are very grateful to her for getting involved in this uplifting project and look forward to hearing from bands on social media as they get to work on Hear the Call!”
How to take part
Those who will be performing the piece, either on 5 July or a date of your choosing, are asked to register your involvement as soon as possible, so that you can be added to the programme of celebrations this July.
Join in on social media with the hashtag the #NHSFrontlineDay and follow @brassbandseng and @nhsfrontlineday on Twitter for updates. Don't forget to post a video of your performance of Hear the Call to be in with a chance of winning a year's free membership to Brass Bands England.