I am absolutely sure that we are all glad that 2020 is now a memory, but 2021 hasn’t started any better, in fact its got worse again. First a little politics – skip to the next paragraph if you prefer. There is no doubt that the current lockdown is necessary but I also can’t help thinking that the indecision and prevarication by the government is the prime cause of our current woes. Yes, there is a new variant of the virus which is causing problems but the inability of Mr Johnson and his cronies to exercise any strategic thinking is the main reason why cases are rising again. Look up Sir Kier Starmer’s comments yesterday, he had it spot on! But no more politics, we need to look past this difficult period and look forward to what 2021 will have in store for us as musicians.
But what does this mean to us as musicians?
In the runup to Christmas lots of players who wanted to were able to join in groups of six to play carols, not completely like normal but quite close to it. This was great for those who were keen to get back to some group playing but, even if the opportunities were available, the rules now preclude any of this happening. Fortunately, I suppose it is something that isn’t required at this time of year and most bands are pretty quiet or normally starting to tackle test pieces.
More significantly, bands were able to rehearse in some restricted ways last year, provided they conformed to strict Covid guidelines, where they were limited to the maximum number of players they could get in the space they had available due to social distancing. Under these circumstances most bands could only get small groups together. This has once again stopped, which I know will be a disappointment to many who welcomed the opportunity to make music together.
There is hope
It is important though that we start this year with a positive outlook. What has changed of course is the rolling out of a vaccine which hopefully, by the summer, should allow some events to go ahead. I have always been quite confident that we will be able to undertake some park jobs and fetes, they may not quite be as we have always known them but nevertheless may be able to work. The biggest obstacle though is the amount of rehearsal time we may be able to get to rehearse for these events and, quite frankly, this will be down to when the social distancing guidance can change. It may well be that this may be one of the last things to be relaxed so this could cause some difficulties for a while yet. Bands who rely on contesting for most of their activities will, I think, be disappointed for a while, the very nature of contesting is weeks of rehearsal before an event. The regionals this year have been cancelled and I guess that many of the traditional Spring and Summer competitions will also not go ahead, which means that it may be the Autumn before those events are able to take place. If all the predictions come to fruition though, there is every chance that Christmas events for 2021 will be able to return so we can probably look forward to carolling and Christmas concerts again.
Can we be positive?
Yes of course, there is every reason to believe that by the summer we will be able to think about returning to some sort of normality and groups can return. This will of course be dependant on the vaccine roll out running smoothly and to plan, but we must bear in mind that this is being run by a government which does not have a good track record in getting things right. How much do you hear of “Test and trace” nowadays, that one seems to be given up on.
If it does all go to plan though then we should be in a much better position in the next couple of months to see a way out of all this, and that is a lot more than we have had for most of 2020.
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