In another few weeks most of the bands in Northern Ireland will be seen fulfilling their greatest public role – playing at the Twelfth.
This is a great public spectacle, especially in Belfast, and doubtless the bands will be out in greater numbers than ever before.
This is an important event in our national life, but it is not an occasion which makes the strongest appeal to the more pensive bandsman.
True, it usually helps his band to build up useful funds, but money is not everything to an aesthetic musician.
Many bandsmen find the Twelfth a worrying and wearying experience.
Bandsmen realise, in a way which is completely foreign to the spectator, that their band cannot give of its best on the Twelfth. What musician could be in top playing form during a 15-mile marathon walk?
It is to be hoped that the public will appreciate that bandsmen are only human and that impressive as their playing may sound, it would be all the more tuneful if they were seated together in a band room and not pounding the roads as if trying to prove that perpetual motion is not impossible.