After watching a rousing performance by the Stroud Red Band at The Prince Albert, I was hooked on their energetic music.
I chatted with founder Jeremy and musical director Mark to find out what they are all about. Jeremy tells me there are two main aims of the band…
“Firstly we are politically progressive but not party-political. We all have Left or Green leaning sympathies and our dress code is red and black with flashes of green to reflect that. We play at events and protests, for example International Workers’ Day, the Gloucester Incinerator protest and land rights protests. We regularly busk for refugee aid and we were proud to support Extinction Rebellion’s walkers by playing them off at the beginning of their walk from Stroud to London.
“Secondly we try to keep alive the tradition of playing and marching for progressive causes, although we like to amble rather than march. One of our members recently suggested that we should refer to ourselves as a mooching band, rather than a marching band! Our repertoire includes political marching songs from around the world such as the Italian anti-fascist anthem, Bella Ciao; Cossack folk dance, Kasatchok and classic socialist theme, The Internationale. We also like to include Latin and African tunes as well as some fun disco numbers like Funky Town and Papa’s Got a Brand New Pig Bag.
“Someone recently asked us whether they could audition to join us and we laughed. Everyone is welcome and we don’t hold auditions. All we require is a love of the music and an affinity with the causes we support.”
If this is really the case, I’m left wondering how they manage to sound so polished. My musical skills are rusty but I can’t resist the fun vibe of the music and I really want to join in. So I resolve to dust off my old clarinet and go along to their next rehearsal. The band rehearses once a month and say they are always keen to meet new potential members.
The line-up currently includes drums, trombones, trumpets, flutes, clarinets, saxophones of various sizes, euphoniums, an accordion, a concertina, a vocalist for some pieces and an occasional sousaphone. Search Stroud Red Band on Facebook to see some of their performances and get in touch if, like me, you’re interested in playing along!