Band uniforms

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by berkshire_baritone, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. What would be the effect on the brass band movement in the UK if we gave up wearing uniform and did concerts and contests looking like we do at rehearsal?
     
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  3. pbirch

    pbirch Member

    we would probably play like we do at rehearsal, and that is not what the public want to pay for (what happens in the rehearsal room stays there). Getting dressed for performance is not just a case of looking the same, it helps to put you in the right mindset to perform to your best, and whether in suits or band colours it is probably more important than you think.
     
  4. Space Cowboy

    Space Cowboy Member

    Many a band leave their best performances in the bandroom so maybe no bad thing.
     
  5. I dont mind uniforms, I'm just surprised that I don't think any bands at the areas played without uniforms. Why? Adjudicator can't see them! No one seems to have tried this simple experiment. Many bands allow no jackets for percussion, because they move around, but surely in an environment where quiet a few players buckle under pressure, why not allow people to be comfortable?
     
  6. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    I was always comfortable to wear uniform on stage. It gave us a common identity and symbolised that I was one of a team that were united in pulling together to produce a musical performance that we could be proud of ~ In a way it was our badge.
    I was always proud to pull on the uniform whichever band I was playing for ~ Better than looking like an indisciplined scruffy rabble on stage. That was perhaps a bit strong, but you know what I mean.
    Only my opinion,

    ~ Mr Wilx
     
  7. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Active Member

    I dislike wearing a uniform with any band label on it and dislike ornate uniforms even more, somehow they seem pretentious to me.

    If I was to play in a contest – it’s never appealed to me and I’m really not a good enough player for such things - and then only concerned with what the adjudicator(s) could hear then I believe that my own playing would be better in everyday clothes. However, wearing a uniform might well give others in the band a collective spirit that helps the band’s overall performance.

    When playing to an audience presentation is important, it’s part of the show. My own choice for playing to an evening audience would follow that of the amateur orchestra’s (i.e. dinner jacket), IMHO it’s just more professional, and a plain black blazer for afternoon work, again it’s more professional and less ostentatious.
     
  8. Euphman2

    Euphman2 Member

    I spent a few successful years with one particular band and I am convinced that our appearance in the muster room in our stage jackets had an effect on the opposition (once quoted as "Oh no, you lot aren't here are you? We've had it."). The change of jacket colour, I'm sure, lessened the fear factor at contests.
    The main point is that we had a distinctive "corporate identity"
     
  9. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    If you dislike wearing a band uniform, why join a band? That makes no sense to me at all. I would agree that some uniforms are a bit OTT, but many are well designed, warm in the winter, cool in the summer and give a group of musicians a sense of identity and of being part of a team (otherwise known as a band) that is working together to entertain the public who, I believe, generally enjoy the sight of a brass band in uniform. For many people, that signals the start of their summer!

    FWIW, I consider DJs and evening wear to be rather ostentatious - much more so than a band uniform. DJs are the uniform of the upper classes!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2014
  10. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    We just play in all black these days. Simple, unpretentious, distinguishes performers from audience easily, keeps you cool on stage.
     
  11. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Active Member

    Euphman2’s points, I think, sum things up nicely. IMHO Moomin Dave's band have got it right too.

    Mike has made some good points that I’d like to respond to.

    If you dislike wearing a band uniform, why join a band? That makes no sense to me at all. Unfortunately if you want to play in a brass band, to say enjoy collective brass music making, then it’s a case of like it or lump it.

    I would agree that some uniforms are a bit OTT, but many are well designed, warm in the winter, cool in the summer and give a group of musicians a sense of identity and of being part of a team (otherwise known as a band) that is working together to entertain the public who, I believe, generally enjoy the sight of a brass band in uniform. For many people, that signals the start of their summer!

    Our thoughts overlap and I do see your points. Some years back I watched Champion Section Flowers play in an afternoon event, as I recall they wore a plain black blazer with a badge and to me that’s just about perfect.

    FWIW, I consider DJs and evening wear to be rather ostentatious - much more so than a band uniform. DJs are the uniform of the upper classes!

    I used to believe the same, and there might well be regional cultural differences, but in my experience DJ’s aren’t the exclusive uniform of the upper classes. For example the sixth formers at our local state comprehensive school often wear them at their ‘prom’ events, and the very ordinary folk in our local amateur orchestra (who don’t play better than a fourth section band) turn out in DJ’s.
     
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  13. Pauli Walnuts

    Pauli Walnuts Moderator Staff Member

    Can't agree with that Mike - there's not a hard working underpaid pro or semi pro instrumentalist in this country who doesn't own a DJ out of necessity! The DJ is THE working gear of a majority of working musicians.
     
  14. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I think what has happened there is that what was once the 'uniform of the upper classes' has long been claimed by other people, people who would be accurately incredulous to hear that they are representing the aristocracy.

    It is my observation that traditional-style band uniforms are minorly declining in popularity. They're still predominant, but I think the number of bands that don't use them has increased in recent years. It's ironic that this is happening in parallel with the rise of walking-out uniforms (something I personally find simply tiresome).

    Btw - 2nd tenor, are you near here? No obligation to reply, just curious...
     
  15. I get the point of uniforms, and they do give a collective identity. However they can be expensive, and may put off some teenagers, due to their musty smelling naffness.

    It seems to be that once a musical group passes about 7 members, uniforms become the norm. I get the point for concerts to put on a show, but maybe we all just copy each other far to much. Can someone be original?
     
  16. markh

    markh Member

    I think an important factor in the decline of the formal band uniform is the cost. Traditional band jackets cost a fortune compared to a £35 Asda DJ (other, more expensive brands are available); they can not be used in other contexts (unlike the DJ which I use with various orchestras & the office Christmas party); and you don't have the dep nightmare of having to give the jacket that belongs to 24 stone Bert to 7 stone Sam!
     
  17. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I remember depping years ago for a chap who was one of nature's giants and having to use his jacket - I'm not a small chap (a little shorter than average, and definitely a bit too round!), but when I sat on the chair on stage, the sides of the jacket were brushing the floor like a train...
     
  18. I happy to wear a uniform, for reasons already given by others. Of the two bands for which I play, one wears a typical brass band uniform and the other dinner dress. I am happy with either. I do think, though, that the typical uniform needs to be brought up to date, as we are getting a long way from the 19[SUP]th[/SUP] century.

    On the idea of the DJ being is an upper-class uniform, well, that is way in the past. What is more, it was the upper classes that established the still-typical uniform. One way or another, they ran the bands. The uniforms presented the image desired by the company or municipality having authority. The players were told what to wear.
     
  19. chris.neufeld

    chris.neufeld Member

    As an alternative suggestion, the community choir that I accompany has a uniform of "Red and Black" - it doesn't matter what you wear so long as it is red and / or black
     
  20. kriseuph

    kriseuph Member

    How many bands still have the full set of jackets they brought ? Bet there is 1000's of band jackets hanging in wardrobe around the country. If there were all returned to the band they belong to more bands would be able to wear them.
    I think the whole black shirt/black dj is ok but coming very common surly one of the purpose of the uniform is to differ our band from every other band
     
  21. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    That's a very good point. If you were a Leeds United footballer (Eeuurgh) you wouldn't want to play in Manchester Uniteds strip (Even bigger EEuuurrgghh !)
    IMHO uniforms define an identity and engender team spirit.

    ~ Mr Wilx
     
  22. Euphman2

    Euphman2 Member

    One further point / opinion. A blazer for turning up at jobs and possibly for marching jobs (assuming it's fine) and a mess jacket (bum freezer) for formal contests and concerts is, in my humble opinion, the ideal situation
     

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