A Question of Morality.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Thirteen Ball, May 15, 2005.

  1. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Okay. First, I do not intend this to turn people against any particular individual or band, nor am I going to mention the names of any individuals or the band involved, but I’m so outraged about this I feel I have to say something. Anyone who knows me will probably know anyway but please post no details, for the reasons above. I have always known this to be a fair forum where conflicting views can be aired and discussed without venom and I am trying to be as fair as I can on all concerned. Mods please let me know if I've crossed any lines.

    Whit Friday is fast approaching, and bands across the country are warming up for it. Band X are no exception, but being a junior/non contesting band they’ve not enough to turn out a full band, they get together with another band with whom they share a conductor, to turn out a full team for whit Friday and save on costs.

    Inevitably, some players would have to miss out, as there were more than the requisite full band when both bands were put together. However some of the players dropped seems a little unfair. One of them was someone very close to me, who has taken her own action and resigned. As that situation is now resolved, I will not dwell on it as any bad feeling remaining there from me is purely on a personal level and has no place here. But one, I feel has been treated horribly badly.

    There’s a lad, on Euphonium in band X, who’s in his early/mid thirties, if my memory serves me correctly. When he was 15-16-ish and in his junior days, he was tipped to be a top-notch player, until he had a car crash. Is injuries were severe enough to prevent him ever walking again, due to head and spinal injuries, and left him with only one lung, and that in very poor shape. Despite this, he still turns in at band X every week in his wheelchair, practices his parts every day and tries his level best, and his parents ferry him around in the car to get him to jobs. His injuries will never fully heal, so for him he’s at the top of his game. He struggles with tricky stuff, but he always tries, and at junior level, surely that’s what it’s about. Notwithstanding the fact that aside from his friends, his Euphonium is just about all that the boy has left to cling onto.

    The conductor also rang him in midweek and told him he wasn’t playing, as the other band already had two Euphs. Again, if this was solely for musical/contest reasons, this could be understood and was not in itself completely heartless….

    …except that said conductor is a Euphonium player himself, and has being going to this lad’s house, to TEACH him the contest march that he was supposed to be playing on whit Friday. And, not just recently, for months previously. You can appreciate why I find this situation completely unacceptable when this lad puts more effort in just getting to band every week than most of us do preparing for an area championships, has done his level best to get the piece up and then gets a kick in the teeth. When faced with that sort of commitment, if the stick was in my hand, his name would have been the first to hit the sheet, just because he’d EARNED it.

    At every level, being in banding has, for me, never been about the winning. At my first time watching on whit Friday I saw a junior school band go past, who must have numbered seventy or eighty, playing Slaidburn. Or about half of them were at least. The rest were shaking tambourines, hitting side drums etc or just carrying cornets and miming. But they were all obviously delighted to be there and visibly swelled with pride as the people cheered them down the street in Delph. They had as much right to be there as much as the national champions. I saw a fourteen-year-old blind boy being guided by his shoulders in the Marching competition at the New Zealand national championships, playing his part from memory, just because he was proud to be part of the band and wanted to do his bit. And given his chance, I know for a fact he did not incur one penalty point against his band. Win or lose, every last player at any contest, from principal cornet of the winners, to fourth percussion with the last placed band who only has three cymbal clashes and a bass drum roll in the whole piece, shares the honour of taking part. When taking part and the joy of doing our bit for our bandmates ceases to be the main reason we are in our respective bands in the first place, then what joy or satisfaction can any of us take from it?
  2. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    I can understand your feelings, but in a way it was inevitable....some players had to go, in order to make the band "legal". Unless there are no restrictions on numbers.....are there????? If this is the case, then yes FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT for all its worth. Otherwise, you'll just have to accept that a temporary culling was on the cards from the moment the amalgamation was announced.

    Sucks, I know.... :frown:
  3. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I am familiarwith another band in a similar situation, that has joined forced to ensure they have a full band.

    As far as I know, what they are doing to help solve this very problem is that all 35 or so will be doing the street march and they will take turns playing the contest march at the different venues (as 25 is the limit there I believe - no percussion).

    I think this is a very good compromise and arrangement.
  4. brass journo

    brass journo Member

    In an era of banding when 100% commitment is often hard to come by in some players, it is a shame that when it comes to the crunch that the players who do actually give 100% commitment, time and dedication are the first to get dropped.

    Sometimes, commitment is more important than standard.
    HorniKaz likes this.
  5. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    THAT is one thing I do not like!!!!! Grrrr@ any conductors who choose ability over dedication.
  6. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    Whit friday should be first and foremost about fun.
    From your description of the band it seems that they will not be favourites for a prize at any venue. So if it would work the band should take all 3 Euphoniums and swap them around for each venue.
    However do we really know the full circumstances? You say the conductor has gone to this lads house and given him personal tuition in the piece. Sounds to me like he has gone overboard to accomodate the lad but in the final analysis has finally had to make the hard decision that it would not work. He should not be condemned for that. I bet he is more gutted about his decision than you are.
  7. Rambo Chick

    Rambo Chick Member

    There is no need for any 'culling' as the band in question could swap players around at each venue so in my opinion there is no excuse for people to be told they cannot play at all.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2005
  8. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Is it also possible that the band in question has received any grant funding to support its activities? There must be very few bands around these days that have not had some form of lottery award - in order to receive funding, applicants are obliged to confirm their equal opportunities policy and that they do no discriminate against any member/player on grounds of disability etc.

    Perhaps the reason he's not been asked to take place in the "march" is due to Health & Safety issues - but if it's a pure case of discrimination I would hope the rest of the band would make their views clear to the conductor in question.

  9. persins

    persins Member

    There was talk of a merger between two local bands in Tadley not long ago and this issue was one of the major reasons why it didn't happen. I can imagine that it would be quite frustrating when you didn't get the opportunity to play at some of the bigger events such as contests especially when you know that you have put more of the work into the pieces than some of those around you. Unfortunately, if there are rules governing the amount of players, then there is always going to have to be those who miss out occasionally. I can understand the sentiment involved with this but as people have already said, somebody has to make that decision and it cannot have been an easy one to make. I haven't actually been to the Whit Friday contests and so do not know all of the rules and governance around it but if there is scope to change the playing line up then it would seem that the easy decision would be to take all three and swap it around.
  10. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    As far as I know, Warwick Uni are taking several extra players (and we have more than a full band already) and we're going to rotate where we have people doubling on a part. To me, the road march is generally the fun part of whit friday anyway, so I'm happy to do that and not the contest march on a couple of occassions (although playing at Delph and Dobcross is something I might fight for...). Seems like the conductor might be a bit confused about the rules in this case...
  11. daveredhead

    daveredhead Member

    Hi I know it is late, but most bands I know will rotate so that all players get to play on contest, and everybody plays on march down, do not see any problem, WHY does some people see differant??
  12. Crazysop

    Crazysop Member

    It does seem mean. We have had many occaisions where we have had to rotate players which has worked out well in the end. Such a shame that a compromise couldn't be reached.
  13. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    I don't suppose it's an issue with top section bands so much because I'm assuming you don't stay in the top bands without showing 100% commitment anyway, but at lower level commitment should win over quality everytime.

    We don't know the facts behind the conductor in questions reasons for dropping that Euph player, but on the face of what we've heard it sounds like a pityful decision.
    If he showed up at out band week in week out, he'd be playing in some capacity or other on Friday, no questions asked.
  14. madsaz

    madsaz Member

    what a sad story.

    Few bands go out and actually win loads of contests. Having said that Whit Friday is generally great fun and should be available to all. The really sad thing about this is that it is unlikely he would be able to join another band whereas the able bodied players could potentially have hooked up with another band at short notice. There are always bands who would be grateful for another player.

    Even without this - there is no restriction on rotation and it commonly occurs. Perhaps its more to do with how many people they can fit on a coach. I don't think this is a question of an MD making a difficult decision. The idea of the merger was to allow people the opportunity to take part, not to allow the MD to pick and choose a better band?

    I'd feel very let down, even if I was a player who had been picked. It smacks of choosing a team in the playground - there is always some one left out and it is unpleasant.

    THis is after all WHit Friday and its meant to be fun.
  15. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Commitment to the band is far more important than ability.

    The conductor in this instance, seems to have taken a decision based on what he believes to be a musical issue, when it should have been a decision based on local knowledge. Not sympathy, but loyalty to a regular attendee to a band. What difference does it make that the person is A) in a wheelchair, and B) only has one lung. I don't want to make light of this, but that could quite easily describe an aged member of our band. Would we stop him marching or playing in general band activities. Certainly not, but he did make his own decision not compete at the areas anymore. The person in this episode, should be given the right to decide whether he is good enough, or whether he believes that going round villages whilst all around are getting ****ed is suitable for his needs as a member of the band.

    This is a shocking revelation if rotation is allowed. Without the loyal players, who have been dumped out by "better players from another band" through a merger, there would be no band to go to the contest with in the first place.

    Will the bands still be merged on Saturday morning after the contest. If not then there will be some royally ****ed off players in the original band. Not good for the future of banding in the local area. If they are to stay merged, it will decrease the number of playing spaces available and possibly cause a downward trend in the number of players starting up and continuing a fine tradition.
  16. EflatTenor

    EflatTenor New Member

    What a shame, I feel very sorry for the guy. This is not fair. I think you have to talk this out with him and the MD, so that it won’t happen again. Being part of a band (as described before) makes one happy, when someone (especially the MD) let one down, it’s awful. I’m blind and I know I have to study more than others to be able to play in the band, but it’s what I most like. First time in rehearsal we play a piece I don’t play, or try something my neighbour is playing, it doesn’t matter to anyone. When you talk about it, people understand your disabilities. I hope you solve the problem with the guy and the MD, I was astonished something like that could happen. I wish the guy all the best.

    P.S. With our band we don’t march very often, when we do at a contest, someone guides my or someone else takes my place (when I don’t feel comfortable walking and playing and after a talk with the MD). It is possible someone pushes his wheelchair, isn’t it?
  17. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    Of course it's possible for someone to push a wheelchair. Stan is taking part with tmp this year and no way could he have managed without Alison and Mark who are going to push him in his chair
  18. daveredhead

    daveredhead Member

    Hi just a quick note, i am more than willing to take turns push Stan, you do not always need a sop on march down, looking forward to meeting such a keen bandsman:tup
  19. sevenhelz

    sevenhelz Active Member

    personally i would leave out the entire question of disability and ability - three euphoniums is always better than two because rotation means we don't tire as quickly, and that means we can do more marches!! even if you only rotate for the street march it really saves on lip.

    on the one hand i would expect it to be extremely uncomfortable to play euph in a wheelchair, as they aren't the smoothest ride, but i agree it should be the player's choice.
  20. Di

    Di Active Member

    Nobody should be made to lose out on such an experience. Whit Fridays is all about atmosphere, meeting bands from all across the country, oh, yea and a bit of music as well. ;) If he has been left out purely due to numbers, as everyone else has said, oversubscribed bands can rotate their players. If he's been left out musical grounds, couldn't he, on this occasion be given an easier part, say play 2nd baritone on his euph, rotating with the bari player? Sorry, I find no excuse for his being asked to stand down.

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