borrowing players at the areas

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by mr jinx, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. mr jinx

    mr jinx New Member

    just wondering how long it will be before the powers that be will decide to allow bands to borrow for the area?so many bands are strugling for players even championship bands struggle personal opinion is that at all contests you should be allowed to borrow four players not two or none at all.There are too many bands going for few too players.
    The fact is that bands do not go to the area because they are short of players and this in turn could lead to a band folding or losing players to a competing band.
    Anybody got any views?
  2. postie

    postie Member

    I agree with you entirely, but unfortunatly the powers that be won't let the rules relax on this sought of thing more's the pity.
  3. Craigsav83

    Craigsav83 Active Member

    You have a valid point. We are in the unusual position of having a practically full band (1xEEb tuba is our only empty seat) That is pretty good going for a 3rd section band in Fife.

    I think the main issue would be time, especially if the player had more than one test piece to prepare and rehearse.

    What are happening to our players???
  4. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Have you considered writing to said powers and voicing your opinion? One person might be ignored, but if everyone who thought this way wrote in it might at least plant the idea.

    Being an American, I have no stake in the British area championships, but I tend to think that relaxing this sort of rule probably won't really help. If the problem is a shortage of players in general, then allowing for more borrowing won't really help in the long term. The real solution is to develop more players, and this can only be done through instruction. If every current member of a band were to take one student (not necessarily a young person) in for free lessons, for example, you'd have a ready source for new players. Not that every student would progress enough to join the band, but some percentage would. From what I've seen written in this forum, and looking at the posts in the "Recruitment Corner" forum, most bands could benefit even from one or two new players. And players developed through such a scheme might have a bit more loyalty to their "home" band than players recruited from "outside".
  5. Hot Lips

    Hot Lips Member

    Yes, of course I do agree with you in this matter and we are doing our best to encourage younger players but this is a very long term solution. How many bands are going to fold in the mean time because they cannot compete in competitions?

    I know there is the arguement that a band can be just as fun and successful without contests but to me that is what the movement is all about, and particularly with dwindling audiences concerts are not as fulfilling as they used to be either.

    In the short term more leniancy in borrowing of players would keep bands above water but to prevent the movement dying entirely we do need to modernise and encourage new blood.
  6. LeDragon

    LeDragon Active Member

    I don't think that bands should be allowed to borrow players at the area's - I think that as it is a grading contest you should go there with totally your own band. I'm not against allowing bands to borrow players at contests such as Pontins, but I am against allowing it at the areas.
  7. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Maybe there are just too many bands and not enough players? Maybe it would be better if some bands folded?

    Personally, I would rather see a rule like (bands not in the championship section can have 28 players + percussion - instead of 25). This would encourage bands to carry a few extra players, not need so many deps and if a few people can't play areas then your still covered.

    If a band regularly only has 20 players, maybe they should either not compete, or fold.
  8. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Bands can register extra players. I think it is 40? players that any band can have on their books now, although only 25 can play at any one contest.

    also people 'sign' players just for the area contest anyway.

    I agree with the people that say bands shouldn't be allowed too many guest players (at any contest, certainly the area). At the end of the day, if you have a band full of deps, it isn't really the band!

    I think perhaps a relaxation on the re-grading system would be a better alternative. As far as I know if a band misses 3 areas in a row they would have to start again in 4th section. Also with the way the rankings are currently working out missing 1 or 2 areas can certainly mean demotion. If this was changed somehow then missing the area contest one year wouldn't be such a big issue for bands (and causing them to fold etc etc). I know this wouldn't be an easy thing to sort out as there needs to be a consistency in numbers in the sections but it could relieve some of the pressures on bands facing not competing at the area.
  9. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Can't see what all the fuss is about. I've been to contests and played in bands with as few as 18 players on stage, and we came second in the section. My current band went on stage at Harrogate in the second section with 23 + 3 percussion, and still achieve a 5th place. :-D
  10. JR

    JR Member

  11. Craigsav83

    Craigsav83 Active Member

    No!! There are not too many bands, and there are plenty of players! This problem lies in the modernisation of industry. The majority of bands were formed in mining and steelwork areas. These days people are flocking to larger towns and cities leaving many of the rural bands without players. Taking Fife as an example, there are lots of bands, but with exception of Kingdom Brass (correct me if I'm wrong) all the bands are in the lower sections, struggling for players at one point or another. On the other hand, I have amassed practically a full bands worth of brass and percussion players, in a matter of 2 hours at Edinburgh University.

    So, the fact is that because of the modern industry changes, the distribution of players has changed, and bands in the rural areas are suffering most. I believe that both Tullis and Lochgelly (again correct me if I'm wrong) have 'starter' or 'training' bands. This is forward thinking, and is essential in ensuring that bands have players in the future, especially in rural areas. If not, amalgamations have proved succesful, look at Kingdom Brass and Broxburn and Livingston recently.

    I realise this is a little off the original topic, but is still relevant to the topic of conversation.

  12. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    There are players out there..just look at the a recent article from Desford band saying they have 52 players "on the books" .I am sure the British Registry allows bands to register 40 players and I am sure a lot of bands would have that amount registered.
    It would defete the object of competitions just to bring in 4 ringers for the area competition , what is the point ( in some cases ) of getting 4 people in paying them ( which does happen ) play on stage for 15 mins and come away with nothing. why have a free for all situation , I am sure ( if memory serves me right) that a welsh band played an illegible player at the area ( around 1990-1991) and got the band disqualified.
    I suppose it's best sorting out your team so you dont have to borrow from another band.
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    The topic under discussion does for me beg the question "What is a brass band?" in terms of contesting. Is it a group of (possibly) elite players, getting together a few times a year to put on a high-profile concert, conduct a tour or enter a competition, or is it a group of enthusiasts meeting frequently to practise, and to put on concerts and fulfil various engagements in the community, who then have the opportunity once in a while to test their own standing against that of their peers. I realise that this may be more than a little contentious, but I hold firmly to the latter concept, and would certainly not go along with the idea of borrowing players for the Area contest.

    Having attended the London & SC Areas this year, a number of bands performed valiantly with depleted numbers, on both "Kaleidoscope" and "Coventry Variations": even though they must have known the odds were against them coming in the prizes, they were still ready to make the effort, and received the acclaim of the others in the hall for doing so. I think to borrow players, other than in the already-accepted scenario relating to illness, would be to give a very false picture, and could actually work against the prospect of an overall improvement in standards.
  14. Owen S

    Owen S Member

    On its own, thousands of people moving to the cities is a great explanation for the shortage of players in villages and small towns, but only if there is a corresponding boom in players and bands in the cities. There isn't.

    As you say, the city of Edinburgh has no band at all at the moment. Alternatively, look at London; Zone One and Alliance are bands founded recently, mainly for music students. Fulham, Brent and Regent are around about 20 minutes from central London, the existence of the latter two owing a lot to Paul Fensom's efforts in brass music education in the Borough of Brent. Looking through the L&SCR website, there are about 15 bands who are in the inner commuter belt, either just in or just outside Greater London, like Egham. While about 20 bands or so might seem reasonable for a single big city and its outskirts, depending on how you define the area, it contains 8 to 10 million people, and the population of the UK is under 60 million. Clearly the cities have a greater problem with numbers than exists in rural villages.
  15. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I can buy the redistribution argument to the extent that maybe there are more players that have moved into the city, but then why don't players just travel out from the cities to the rural bands? My guess is that either in some cases, the drive may not be worth the quality of band to play for (if there is a closer band in the city) or some players that depend on public transport can't get out to the rural areas.

    So the solution when bands are short on players is to form more bands in the cities to which players ahave moved AND form more training bands in the rural areas?! I just don't see that working both ways if there is a player shortage.
  16. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I agree with you Peter and I think that while some make argue with you as far as what a 'band' is, nobody should argue that definition for what 'banding' is.

    A band can probably actually play short 6 players (2 basses, 1 euph, 1 solo cornet, 1 2nd cornet, and 1 3rd cornet) and still sound good. I realise some split parts may not be covered, but the band should sound cleaner.

    Do bands get any official penalty for playing short-handed? I would think not as the adjudictors are shielded. I would think that as long as the parts are covered and loud enough there shouldn't be a problem.
  17. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    I am writing as someone who has participated in the banding world as both an unpaid enthusiast and as a paid dep (ringer, if you like). I have seen it from both sides.

    Does paying a player make them great? No.
    Does paying a player ensure you win? No.
    Does paying an extra sometimes mean that you are able to compete when otherwise you would not? Quite possibly.

    If you are without a front row player (due to other engagements - some people do have a life outside of the band) in many of the test pieces that can be a disaster. If the options are;
    a) not to compete
    b) promote, from within the band, somebody who might not be up to the challenge
    c) employ a dep who can play the part well.

    Which are you going to choose?

    When I have helped bands out for contests (both paid and unpaid) it has been due to somebody in their band not being able to do the day. The fact that some bands have paid me for my services is because they have realised that I do this for a living - when I am playing with them not only are they getting my services, they are also stopping me earning potentially more money doing other gigs.

    I know that this is not always the case, but there are times when deps are put in for legitimate reasons.
  18. Hot Lips

    Hot Lips Member

    BBCbari wrote

    There is no way a Championship section band could compete with this many players missing.
    It would be very noticable and many competing bands in this section can afford to pay people to register for them and retain positions. A band without this luxury cannot play short handed. If following the advice of some comments already given in this thread a band in that position should just throw in the towel and fold?
  19. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    I have thought for a long time you should be able to borrow for the area but I believe it should be restricted to 3 players from either the same section or below. Our band actually has 33 players registered BUT several of them are kids from our learner band. They are registered to allow them to sit in at contests if we are a player or 2 short just so they can gain experience of sitting on a stage and competeing. We certainly couldn't expect them to manage something like Tam o' shanter. We have recently lost our percussionist. I am doing my best to get a replacement but the sad fact is if I don't manage to find someone we either have to pull out of the area or go with a part missing that certainly can't be covered by someone else. The way bands are on the decline in some areas means we need as many bands as possible to compete otherwise it may come to the stage where it just isn't viable to put contests on.
  20. hoppiebari

    hoppiebari Member

    I think the practice of allowing bands to have upto 40 players on the books adds to the problem. In my experience there are players that find it difficult to give a full time commitment to a band week in week out, 2 reh a week plus engagements, but they are able to commit to do a number of rehearsals and a contest. These players tend to be signed on with bands as 'spares' that can be called on if theres a problem, this prevents them playing for other bands at contests unless they tansfer or the rules allow a band to borrow.
    One thought might be for registrations of such players to be pooled and if they are not required for a particular contest, bands could then use 2 pooled players without having to transfer??

    Steve Hopwood