So here we are, the eve of the biggest day in the towns calendar. Flora Day 2014 is less than 6 hours away and the sound of the big bass drum will ring out across the town in less than 13 hours.
The town has been transformed into its usual floral haven in preperation for the festivities tomorrow and although the streets are still open the atmosphere is in full swing, with one caveat.....the weather. Forecasts have not looked as promising as they initially indicated last week, but come rain or shine (or both) HTB will be there.
Tonight the band returns to the Epworth Hall in its final stop on the road to Flora Day to help rehearse those dancers who will be taking part in the Midday Dance. The midday rehearsal is always a little longer than that of last night as the dance is far bigger, but is always an enjoyable and atmospheric evening.
We would like to thank everyone who has been involved with the band over the last 12 months for the hard work and time they have put in. The band is a self funding group that receives no outside sponsorship and relies on the support of its members and generosity of the public, so if you do see one of our collectors tomorrow please donate if you can.
Finally we would like to wish you all a very enjoyable Flora Day 2014, regardless of what the weather brings. We will be providing regular updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the day.
See you all tomorrow!
You may have already heard, but if you are unable to make the trip to Helston tomorrow then there is a solution so as not to miss out on the Flora Day atmosphere.
For the first time ever Flora Day will be streamed live on the web through various cameras located around the town, visit new.livestream.com/visithelston and you will be able to watch the dances live!
As previously mentioned, the band has some exciting upcoming news on the appointment of a new full time musical director, but in the meantime we are delighted that two veterans of the band along with our Chairman Alan Trewella will lead HTB on Flora Day.
Alan, who has been an integral part of the organisation for many years, has decided that he will be stepping down from his role as Chairman at the next AGM, and as a token of appreciation for all his hard work the band have invited him to lead the way on Flora Day.
Accompanying Alan for the morning dance will be the bands Flora Day Veteran Russell Harvey. Incredibly Russell turns 80 this year and has been a member of HTB for an astonishing 70 years, with Flora Day 2014 being the 68th Flora Day he will play in. He told me last night that between himself, his brother, his son and grandchildren, the Harvey family have completed 157 Flora Days between them.
Another veteran of the band, principal trombonist Lester Ashton, volunteered to lead the band for the Children’s and Midday dancess. Lester leading the band also continues a family tradition as his father Edward was musical director of HTB and led the band on Flora Day for 30 years. Lester has been a key member of the band for many years and has been involved in Flora day festivities for nearly half a century - his biography is the first feature article on our new 'Articles' tab.
Lester commented on his role this year saying - 'As a Helstonian Flora Day is obviously very special to me, I have great memories and have been involved in the celebrations for almost 50 years, To wear the famous blue jacket on the big day is fantastic, to have led the midday in 1983 was a great honour and to now have the opportunity to walk in front of the band this year will be a great privilege, an experience I could only have dreamt of'
We are also pleased to say that the Musical Director of our Concert Band Ian Edwards has agreed to lead the evening dance. Ian has done a tremendous amount of work since his appointment last year and it is only fitting that he have such a role on Flora Day.
In all of this, we as an organisation must also pay tribute to our Bandmaster Kevin Johns - Kevin opted to play rather than lead the band from the front, but over the last 12 months Kevin has put in so much time, effort and hard work whilst the band have been between Musical Directors. It cannot be underestimated how much he has done for Helston.
So fear not, the band is in safe hands!
Tuesday saw the band make its first annual trip down to the Epworth Hall to help rehearse those dancers who would be taking part in the morning and evening and evening dances (could be more like syncronised swimming looking at the forecast)
After the obligatory band on the big bass drum to quiten the exuberant crowd, the history of the dance once explained and the leading four gave a demonstration of the steps.
The dance was was then put in to order and split in two halfs (first half and second half in case you were wondering)
After giving each group a quick run through we were done.
Check back tomorrow for an update of Flora Day Eve! and follow us on Twitter for regular updates.
Exactly twelve and a half hours later we were back outside the Guildhall setting off again, all having enjoyed a relaxing day at work.
I am still waiting for a final figure on the number of players, but around a 70 strong band formed, from the tiniest Beginners to the slightly bigger Flora Day veterans.
There was a long line of dancers this evening, all enjoying the opportunity to dance outside the watchful gaze of the stewards.
The weather has been a point of concern leading up to today, but aside from the two small showers this morning, we were very lucky, here’s hoping for more of the same next week!
As is always the case, the town was in a great mood, with plenty of people lining the route in what has seemingly become the ‘curtain raiser’ for the festive week. The only people that were perhaps not in a great mood were the people who were diverted down St Johns Road only to get to the other end and realise that road was closed off. The scene did resemble something similar to that of an Indian city, with cars strewn all over the road and bandsmen and dancers darting in and out of the gridlocked traffic. A few tuk-tuks’ and the scene would have been complete.
So, with May Day done, and knowing that in just 7 days it will all be over for another year, we have a few days to wait until Tuesday, where it is the turn of the Morning and Evening dancers to have a rehearsal (not that they normally need it)
We will be at the Epworth Hall with them so check back on Wednesday for an update (and keep your fingers crossed over the weekend that the weather forecast stays as good as it is at the moment!)
Quote of the day – ‘I don’t know what all the fuss is about Flora Day, it’s a bit boring’ – our new euphonium player Shaun, either thinking today was Flora Day or not realising how much different it will be next week.