Abbey Brass (Abingdon) MD Stands Down after 34 years

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by abbey-brass-tuba, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. abbey-brass-tuba

    abbey-brass-tuba New Member

    In August 2010 the MD of Abbey Brass (Abingdon) resigned after 34 years in the role. As i am sure you can imagine a huge hole has been left to fill and the committee are working to plan a way forward for the band.

    With the assistant MD standing in until the end of September the committee are looking to the talent within the band to see who would like to put themselves forward.

    Abbey Brass (Abingdon) are a 4th section band who have not contested for many years, but would like to...

    With the Assistant MD, Training Band MD and Solo Euphonium looking the likely candidates to take on the role of MD there is a good selection open to the committee.

    Some players are looking for a new MD to be drafted in and for the Training Band MD to take on the role of assistant conductor

    Some players are looking to bring in a new MD for formal concerts and for contesting and then the other 3 players given the chance to conduct for the informal concerts.

    What are your thoughts.... would you look to bring on the talent within the band or bring in experience from outside...?

  2. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Depends on how talented they actually are, and how likely to command the respect of the band.

    If you've all been mates for years, it's very hard to then step up and be "the boss" in a band where you've been one of the members for years. Especially if it's a first conducting gig - a former band member will be cut precisely no slack regarding the odd dropped beat or dodgy tempo, in my experience.

    Also depends what your budget is, and what your plans for the future are. You say you'd "like to" contest - is that a definite decision, or a vague hope? If it's definite, are the entire band behind it? If so, maybe you need someone with contest conducting experience.

    You could always go down the Bandmaster/Professional route like some bands do (mine included). The Resident Conductor or Bandmaster does the weekly rehearsals, band training, run-of-the-mill concerts, etc. The Pro comes in a fortnight before a contest to add polish and does any high profile concerts. Then your Resident could be one of the 3 players - or even all of them, jointly, if they can agree a strategy for this.

    The most important thing, though, is to ensure that anyone who does end up conducting the band is going to be properly supported, particularly by the committee and particularly if it's their first conducting post. It's a bit lonely at the front sometimes...:rolleyes:
  3. abbey-brass-tuba

    abbey-brass-tuba New Member

    Hi Anno Draconis... The Training Band Conductor (Me) has been conducting for 15 years , so plenty of experience but at a lower level than the Main Band, I have never been given the chance to conduct the Main Band. I am hoping to be given 3 months with the Main Band in the new year and to then do a concert at the end of the 3 months. I agree that the step from Mate to Boss is a big step, but the advantages of chosing from within the band is that i already know the capabilities of most of the players, the one's that struggle each week and the one's that are far more capable than they seem and need to be given the chance.

    The band want to contest and for that bringing in a conductor with experience would be the best approach.

    The committee will back the decision of the band members and they will be given their chance to speak up at an EGM...

    My preferred way forward is for me to become the Bandmaster, for the other 2 players to be given time with the band, rehearsing specific pieces and assisting me with additional rehearsals and sectional rehearsals. Then for the contesting we look to a Professional to take the band...

    Can this approach work or would we have too many cooks spoiling the broth...?

  4. MartinT

    MartinT Member

    Sorry to hear that Chris M has resigned, though I'm sure he thoroughly deserves a rest! I've always had the greatest respect for him.

    As Anno Draconis says, if you're aiming to do contests, the Bandmaster + (semi-)professional may well be the best approach. If you find yourself advertising for an MD on that basis, you could do worse than emailing the ODBBA-Bands mailing list as a first step - there may well be aspiring conductors in the area who would welcome the opportunity for a try-out with Abbey, and who wouldn't cost you an arm and a leg if you hired them.

    I could perhaps point you at one or two people locally whose views would be worth canvassing - PM me if that would be helpful.
  5. abbey-brass-tuba

    abbey-brass-tuba New Member

    Hi Martin

    He certainly deserved a rest, after 34 years and only missing a handful of rehearsals and even fewer engagements in all that time...

    The Bandmaster + Semi-Pro route sounds like a good way forward and we can review it after 12 months and see how we are going. It's a very new situation for the band, something we have never done before.

    Hope all is well at Wantage, hoping to be organising a concert with the Training and Youth Band for 2011 to come and have a blow with our Training Band.

    Are you playing at the Entertainment contest at the end of the month...?

  6. MartinT

    MartinT Member

    I'm on the ODBBA committee, so helping to run the Entertainment Contest. Have Abbey made a late entry?

    Joint concert sounds a nice idea, I'm certain our Youth Band would enjoy it :tup. I enjoyed playing in the last one we did.
  7. abbey-brass-tuba

    abbey-brass-tuba New Member

    I am helping out Witney... hoping to get Abbey Brass along next year...
  8. MartinT

    MartinT Member

    See you there then :).

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