A CENTURY-OLD band which has been struggling to stay afloat amid the coronavirus outbreak has launched an online fundraiser in a last-ditch attempt to prolong its future.
Barnsley Brass Band, based in Worsbrough, has been hugely impacted by the virus as its regular concerts, parades and events were cancelled.
The group, which dates back to 1906 and is believed to be one of the oldest in Barnsley, fear the lack of income could spell the end.
Left with no other options, Martin Bland, the band’s manager, launched an online fundraiser in a bid to raise £9,600.
The money raised will be used to refurbish the band’s four 45-year-old tubas that have become almost unplayable.
Martin told the Chronicle: “Over the years brass bands have decreased in numbers.
“I think Covid-19 is going to be a real test for a lot of bands. People will have found other things to do, especially the youngsters.
“That has been our worry, that youngsters will go and play football or do something completely different, and we won’t have them coming back for the future of the band.
“We’ve not been able to play together since March. We had a pot of money saved that was intended to be used on these repairs.
“Now, we have been forced to spend that money on trying to keep us alive. Every penny has been spent.
“We need to save our brass bands, not just in Barnsley, but across the country.”
Barnsley Brass is one of hundreds of brass bands in the UK struggling this year due to concerts being axed.
Martin hopes the #SaveOurBrassBands campaign - backed by television presenter Melanie Sykes - will spread awareness of the urgent help needed.
“We’ve really got behind this campaign in the hope it will spread awareness on how brass bands have been hard hit by this outbreak.
“Our band relies solely on the income of performing at marches and concerts - we just want to keep the group alive.
“If we raise the money needed, it would be a lifesaver for us. It’s money we desperately need so that we can focus on getting back on our feet.
“Without the support of the Worsbrough Sports and Development Association that allowed us to rehearse in their huge hall free of change - we may not have lasted.
Martin has vowed to perform Christmas carols, from a social distance, to those who donate more thab £50 to the band’s fundraiser.
“When people donate, we hope to play carols outside the donator’s house from a safe distance as a way to say thank you.
“If people would prefer, we could play outside relatives care homes to show our appreciation.”
The band were shocked by an unexpected donation by the newly appointed Barnsley FC manager Valèrien Ismaël, who donated £200.
“We are incredibly grateful for this generous donation. The response to the fundraiser so far has been unbelievable.
“Our band has been running during many historical events - and we don’t want this outbreak to be the deciding factor.
“If we end up raising £9,600, it may help us bring music back to the people of Barnsley once again.”
To donate to Barnsley Brass, visit crowdfunder.co.uk.
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Historic band’s future in doubt
Author: Emma Shepherd
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