Sylvia Silver ~ A Tribute
(Sylvia passed away suddenly, early on Christmas Day 2018)

 I first met Sylvia in 2007 when I called in to the Falcon Hotel, to make an enquiry about the Band using the ballroom to rehearse once a month.

We had always rehearsed at St Richard’s School, but I had an idea that if we went along to the Falcon for the first Friday in every month, we, as a band, could meet socially after the rehearsal, and also raise the band’s profile in the town.

John was the first person I saw on entering the Falcon. On making my enquiry he said, with a slight hint of resignation in his voice, “You had better speak to my wife”.

On meeting Sylvia, I was immediately put in fear of her. She came out of the kitchen, and although having never met me before, started to moan to me about a member of staff she had just sacked, for being, in her opinion, “incompetent”.

We did, however, agree terms for us to rehearse, as requested, and this was the start of what became a long and mutually convivial friendship.

The band started our “once a month” rehearsals, and when in 2014, we could see that St Richard’s was likely to close, we made the Falcon our full-time rehearsal “home”. From this point onwards Sylvia took the band to heart and our friendship became even richer and deeper.

I do remember the first time she “told me off”.  It was Christmas Eve, 2007.

“You can’t leave your instrument case there”, she said in her teacher’s voice as I and the band were getting ready in the bar to move to the street outside to play Carols for a local charity. I replied (cheekily), “I can, because I have. Do you mean I’m not allowed to? I wish you teachers would use the correct verb”. She did laugh at this, but then told me more bluntly, but with a cheery smile, to move my trumpet case “or else”.

Strangely enough, we had virtually the same conversation last Christmas Eve, the day before she passed away.

 

 

                             
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Sylvia’s support for the Wind Band was immense. She would help organise concerts in the ballroom, and always ensured we got a full-house; she was a good liaison for us; if I needed to sort anything for the band, or needed to speak to a particular person, she was always ready and willing to assist.

She always went the extra mile for us.

The band was honoured to be asked to provide music before Sylvia’s Funeral Procession and in St Peter’s Church before the Service. Although a very sad occasion, it was a most bittersweet experience.

In as much it was a privilege to play on that day, it was also a great privilege to have met her and, over the years, experience her great influence on the Wind Band and also the town of Bromyard.

We miss her already; our love is sent to Jane and John. I went to see John and Jane as soon as I heard of Sylvia’s demise. Even before I could offer my condolences, John said, “Right. Nothing has changed for the Wind Band. We carry on exactly as Sylvia would wish.”

I appreciated his comment, but things will never be the same again. We miss her presence, her involvement, her constant lively enthusiasm.

Yes she could be impulsive and try one’s patience to the limit. She suffered fools lightly, and was never afraid to speak her mind. Diplomacy was usually forgotten ~ but we loved her to bits.

Thank you Sylvia for simply being you.

God bless you Sylvia. May you Rest in Eternal Peace.

 

David Thomas

Bromyard Symphonic Wind Band

March 2019

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