OTLEY Brass Band has returned to the band room for the first time since March 2020.

Covid restrictions had made performances impossible but an easing of the rules meant brass musicians were able to get together and practice indoors again this month.

An Otley Brass Association spokeswoman said: "While restrictions have ebbed and flowed for many sectors, banding has been off-limits for most of the banding community throughout, and Tuesday night saw the welcome return of brass in Otley.

"The Coronavirus pandemic has hugely impacted the music and performance sectors and for many communities, music is a focal point that brings people together.

"In a normal year, Otley Brass Band would be playing to raise funds for local charities, collaborating with local churches to offer seasonal concerts, parading in annual carnivals and competing in regional banding competitions. All of this, plus the fulfilment of working to a shared goal and sense of community has been on hold since March 2020.

"While many players have been able to practice individually at home, some players, including the percussionists, played their instruments for the first time last week, with larger instruments having been locked away in the bandroom for over a year.

"Like all businesses and community groups, the band have had to adhere to strict Covid regulations including social distancing from other players, wearing masks when not playing, and keeping track of contact tracing."

"The band were able to start practicing outdoors in groups of six in April and have gradually invited more members as restrictions have been lifted.

"After 16 quiet months, the full band were finally reunited for the first time to play some fond favourites and prepare for their upcoming performances.

"Based at Otley Courthouse, the band work closely with the local community and are looking forward to kick-starting the local music scene again, along with many friends and fellow musicians to remind us all just how important music is for our communities and our well-being."

Otley Brass Band will be performing outside at Otley Courthouse at 3pm on Saturday, July 31.

The town will also be treated to some live music from the band as part of Music On The Streets of Otley at The Woolpack on Sunday, August 7, and at Ilkley Bandstand on Saturday, August 21.

On its website the band says:"Otley Brass Band is a traditional Brass Band based in Otley, a town at the eastern end of the Wharfe Valley in West Yorkshire.

"Founded in 1973 the band are proud to be at the heart of the local community. A regular series of concerts are played throughout the year ranging from summer afternoon music in the region’s parks to shows and carnivals and evening concerts.

"As well as details of events which can be found on this website, information is also circulated in the local press and displayed on posters in the surrounding area."

Otley Brass Association encompasses the three brass bands in the town. Otley Brass Band is the senior band, Wharfe Brass is the intermediate training band, and Stepping Stones is the junior band.