Wednesday 13th October 2010
Local musician Claire Atack is drumming up support and trying to secure the future of one of the area's longest-established brass bands.
Dronfield St John Ambulance Band can regularly be found leading parades and entertaining crowds across Derbyshire and beyond. But there's something missing from the usual stirring strains right now - because the band has lost three of it's drummers.
"One of our proudest moments was taking part in the Royal Tournament a few years back. We had 53 members then," says bandmaster Claire. "But we're down to 34 now and we really need some new blood."
In fact the band was so short of drummers during the summer holiday season that new mum Claire turned out for Barlow Carnival when baby Sophie was just 3 weeks old!
Now she's appealing for would-be drummers to come forward and join the band, which has been a regular attraction around the area since it was formed more than 80 years ago.
No musical experience is necessary: "We can teach anybody!" says Claire. "Our members range from 6 to 60."
New buglers, bell lyre and cymbal players are welcome too. And there are plenty of instruments available, they inherited a whole range when Hasland Band folded last year.
Dronfield Band was originally made up entirely of St John Ambulance Cadets, but these days is open to anyone - though it is still very much a part of the nation's leading first aid charity.
Highlights of the band's recent engagement calendar have included performing at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire and in the annual St John Ambulance parade at St Paul's Cathedral, London.
Anyone interested in joining the band, or finding out more about it should either go along to rehearsals, which take place at 6.45pm on Tuesdays at Coal Aston Village Hall, or call St John Ambulance HQ on (01246) 200272.
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