Scilly’s Popular Tea Band Could Reform As Smaller Group

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA new musical group might be formed to perform at some of the Scilly’s biggest events after the Tea Dance Band has struggled with falling numbers.

The group has been popular with both locals and visitors and first performed at hotels and summer fetes in 2006.

It was formed from attendees of Chris Garratt’s adult education class on Jazz Improvisation, which was held weekly in the old music room of the former secondary school in 2006.

Over the years the band has used a host of names including Ritz Carlton, the Savoy Tango Orchestra, the Blue Tango Orchestra and more recently the Red Sayles Orchestra.

But saxophonist and clarinet player Malcolm Martland says numbers have halved from a peak of sixteen musicians as people have moved away or have been unable to spare time, due to family commitments.

Malcolm says a passion for performance brought together a wide range of occupations including farmers, a professional violinist, a police sergeant, a doctor, a vet, instrumental teachers, a fireman, an ex Guardian cartoonist, guesthouse owners and an electrical engineer.

And the range of venues and occasions required some special skills.

Malcolm says playing outdoors on grass could prove problematic when chair legs sank into the ground, upsetting both the musician and instrument to the amusement of the audience.

Windy conditions meant the band couldn’t hear each other and music blew away unless firmly secured with clothes pegs.

And bright sunshine meant players needed sunscreen, which then brought the challenge of playing with slippery fingers.

An email on future options has been circulated amongst the group and we’re told it’s likely that a smaller band will still provide jazz accompaniment to craft events and the annual pantomime.