FOR over a century, Wotton Silver Band has given a free public concert on top of Wotton Hill on the first Sunday in May.

The event is a highlight of the calendar for both the town’s residents and the players, and traditionally heralds the start of the band’s summer outdoor concert season.

Members of the band hike up the hill on the edge of the town, to a spot which offers fantastic views of the countryside, and there they play a selection of marches and hymns.

Last year, due to the global pandemic, the band gave a virtual concert instead.

Directed by David Lawrence, a video rendition of Highland Cathedral was recorded by each band member in their homes on phones and tablets then stitched together by clever technology to become “Cathedral on the Hill”, the music being matched to drone footage of Wotton’s iconic landmark, the Jubilee clump. Tradition had turned 21st century.

Thwarted again in May 2021, the band simply postponed their annual outing, determined this year to do the real thing when safe to do so responsibly.

Socially-distanced rehearsals resumed in July, the players spread apart in a large hall at Berkeley power station.

By September the band was back in its own band-room in Old Town, putting the finishing touches to its concert programme for Under the Edge Arts. The band was back!

And so to the return of Band Sunday on the hill - on Sunday, October 17, the players gathered to continue the tradition. Surrounded instead by autumnal colours rather than the sights and sounds of spring, musical director David Lawrence brought down the baton to strike up the band, the music drifting on the breeze over the town, signalling a return to normality.

After an hour’s performance the players carried their instruments and music stands back through the trees and fields with a sense of happiness and contentment that they had carried on a wonderful tradition which has after all survived two world wars and now also a global pandemic.

Through it all the band has played on.

Included in this year’s Band Sunday repertoire were two pieces composed by Gordon Phillips - The Whole Wide World and Festive March. Gordon is celebrating 50 years involvement with Wotton Arts Festival this year.

For further details about the band see: