Brass Sounds Inverclyde is a growing brass band based in Greenock, whose members include school pupils, music students, full-time workers, and pensioners. The band organises and performs at several outdoor gigs, concerts and local charity events in Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Renfrewshire throughout the year. (Further information can be found at www.bsiband.uk.)
On 13 March, Brass Sounds Inverclyde won the national championships in Perth to be crowned Scottish 4th Section Champions. The band has now been chosen to represent Scotland at the British national contest in Cheltenham in September and will then be promoted to the 3rd Section. The band's management team is currently organising a wide range of activities to raise the necessary funds for travel to and stay in Cheltenham.
The plan is for a small group of band members (probably seven) to climb Ben Nevis, with instruments and music, and hold a one-hour concert on the summit, sometime in early July. (We cannot specify the exact date since the weather on the Ben is unpredictable, but we are aiming for Saturday 9 July.) As far as we know, this has never been attempted before. The group members are getting fit by taking regular runs, fast walks, and by hiking up hills with heavy rucksacks. We aim to stay overnight in Fort William, and then start the ascent early next morning, reaching the summit by noon, and then hold a concert sometime between noon and 2pm.
Those who are involved in brass band circles know that winning a British/regional brass band contest is a rarity, often a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many brass musicians. Being invited to Cheltenham to participate in the 'nationals' is a real privilege, and we are determined to go there and do our utmost. All donations to this campaign will be greatly appreciated.
Risks and challenges
Last year, Brass Sounds Inverclyde ran a successful Kickstarter campaign - over £800 was raised for a sponsored cycle along the Outer Hebrides, from Vatarsay to Lewis. We learned several lessons from this experience: transporting bicycles using public transport, and finding accommodation in the Highlands, can be challenging. This project is expected to be significantly easier to organise and complete, although there are potential risks:
* Most members of the band can drive, and so the plan is for the group to drive (and transport instruments and music) from Inverclyde to Fort William. Ferries may be cancelled and roads might be closed during poor weather, but as the plan is to go to Ben Nevis in early July, so the weather is likely to be good.
* It should be possible for the group to book hotel accommodation in Fort William for two nights - we aim to book accommodation by early May.
* The main risk is the weather. There may be torrential rain in Glen Nevis and on the mountains. We plan to stay two nights in Fort William, just in case we have to hold over and wait until a second day before climbing the mountain. Last year the sponsored cycle was timed perfectly: it was dry and sunny throughout the three days; but there had been torrential rain all the previous week. Fortunately, this event will only last one day. If the whole week in which this event is scheduled turns out to be a 'wash-out', we will return later in July and camp in Glen Nevis.
* Another challenge is carting the instruments up 1344m. The aim is to have seven band members playing cornets (very light), flugel and tenor horns (fairly light), trombone (quite heavy), euphonium (quite heavy) and E flat bass tuba (heavy). All participants will therefore spend the next three months preparing for this by taking daily runs or walks, and by hiking up hills carrying rucksacks.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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