By Margaret Betts and Jane Nichols
In 2006, two friends – Jane and Margaret – who both play the cornet in a brass band, sat talking over a cup of tea when Jane revealed it had always been a dream of hers to form an “all ladies” band but had only ever got round to ‘thinking’ about it.
Margaret decided it was time Jane did something about it and volunteered to help her.
Within six weeks they had enough volunteers to form the brass band and to perform a concert and it was decided that any proceeds from this concert would be donated to charity.
The charities chosen were the Ophthalmic Dept of Kettering General Hospital (where Jane works) and Breast Cancer Campaign – Researching the Cure, which they thought to be very appropriate.
40 female musicians – hence the name of the band.
The name in itself has raised a lot of curiosity – a non offensive name although some magazines are unable to promote our idea because of it containing the word “Boobs”.
First concert fundraiser
However, the concert, which originally was to be a ‘one off’, raised an incredible £5,000. After many requests from the players and supporters Jane and Maggie were persuaded to continue with this concept, and after five incredible years they are still going strong.
All England Masters, American Visitors, Dragonboats, and a CD
In May 2009 the girls were invited to perform a concert at the All England Masters Competition in Cambridge.
In June they again travelled north for the wettest Whit Friday Marches in 37 years – what a night!! This year we were honoured to be joined by two ladies from the USA who flew over especially to play with the band.
Fortunately, the weather was much kinder to us for our performance at the ‘Dragon Boat Races’ in Northampton in July. September meant extra commitment from the girls for the CD recording “Whatever it Takes” when we accompanied John Lee, the flugel player with Brighouse & Rastrick band on his solo album. John has very generously pledged the proceeds from the sale of the CD to Breast Cancer Campaign – don’t forget to buy one! Quite an eventful year!
Who knows what else will happen? Perhaps our wonderful American ladies will be invaded by the Brits – we laugh at some of the outrageous ideas we have – but strangely these outrageous ideas keep having a habit of becoming reality!!
We have built a network of female players – now from Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire Leicestershire, Hertfordshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Hampshire and Yorkshire – who want to be part of this concept – many of them having had close relatives or friends suffer from breast cancer. It is only because of the willingness of these players that “Boobs & Brass” is able to continue to raise funds for this cause.
The band continues to have fantastic support from both the general public and the brass band fraternity where we are now renowned for the ‘pink jackets’ – a very generous gift from First Choice Holidays and Dimensions Corporate Clothing Ltd.
All these girls love music and brass bands and play for the pleasure of it at their own cost so for as long as they are prepared to continue and whilst we are still being asked to perform, Maggie & Jane will carry on organising “Boobs & Brass” and hopefully the funds donated may help to make at least one person’s life more tolerable.
Support Boobs and Brass! Visit their website at: http://www.boobsandbrass.com