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06 January 2017

A brass band funeral [More:]
I went up to Manchester yesterday for my cousin Bryce's funeral. He was a cornet player all his life, and had played in most of the brass bands around the north west, and his band friends were there in force.

Players came from all over the north to pay their respects. Most of them knew each other, but this was the first time all of them had played together as one band - about 70 of them in all. They filled one side of the chapel and the acoustics were perfect, every instrument perfectly balanced.

Bryce came in to the sounds of a march called "Death or Glory", which was a stirring piece he'd chosen himself. The hymn, again his choice, was "The Day Thou Gavest Lord Is Ended", which the band played beautifully.

Bryce's grand-daughter and son-in-law read some favourite pieces of Bryce's, and his daughter gave a wonderful eulogy. The band played Nimrod, which almost destroyed me, it was so moving. I've never heard it played by such a large band before, and it was amazing.

After prayers, blessings and the committal the last piece of music was a recording of Bryce playing lead cornet with the Black Dyke Mills Band (probably the greatest brass band in the UK), in a lovely version of Ave Maria (I can't find it online). Not a dry eye in the house.

The musicians were fantastic - to come together like that, with no rehearsal, under a conductor many of them had never played with before - they played as if they'd practised for weeks.

Afterwards we went to a local pub where we reminisced for hours about Bryce, lots of laughter and band anecdotes, and a few more tears. Bryce was one of the most gifted cornet players of his generation and was a wonderful mentor to younger players.

This is part of my heritage, and I'm thinking more and more that my roots in the north are leading me back there. If I get laid off this year, I might just think about moving up to Manchester. My family are all there, the only blood family I have. As I get older, I'm acutely aware of the importance of family.

But for now, I'm happy to have been there to see Bryce being given such a wonderful send-off from the band community that he'd been such an integral part of since he was 8 years old and first picked up a cornet.
That's a very moving tribute.

May you find peace during this tumultuous time which makes all the uncertainties move to the forefront of your thoughts.

posted by mightshould 06 January | 16:34
Hugs to you Senyar, it sounds like a lovely service. I have never heard the song Nimrod before, but I agree, it is very moving. I can only imagine how it sounded in person.

Your tribute and your thoughts on heritage and family are wonderful, thank you for sharing.
posted by msali 07 January | 14:26
So sorry for your loss-- sounds like a beautiful send-off.
posted by Pips 07 January | 19:00
Love, dear!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 07 January | 19:02
What a wonderful celebration of his life.
posted by jouke 08 January | 08:14
Friday Question NOT from the Book of Questions || Anyone heard of the demonetization