Has your band got "Floral Dance itis"?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Shaggy, Aug 20, 2007.

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  1. Shaggy

    Shaggy New Member

    I recently turned out to help a Band in my new capacity as "high-plains-driftin-hired-drum", and I happened upon a classic example of this terrible affliction called "floral dance itis".

    Yep, ok, we all hate the ****** thing. Its become an Albatross round the neck of the banding world, its the only piece of music the average sun reading white van driving half wit, is able to associate with a Brass Band.

    Sadly this means that Mr and Mrs Half wit will often request it on a concert. The more professional bands amongst our number, will smile through gritted teeth, pretend its just what they wanted to play at that very moment, and give a tidy rendition of the dreaded ditty.

    Yes its that simple to pull off folks, no one got hurt, the punters are happy, and the dent in your pride as a band worthy of better things will soon fade after your first post gig pint.

    Unfortunately, this is not always the case as this partucular gig proved.

    The MD received the request as if he had just been asked to french kiss Anne Widcome, and then announced to the audience what the request was, and informed them how much the band hated playing it and made it quite plain that they were doing so under duress. Fortunatley the audience laughed, presumably because they thought it was part of an act or joke of some kind, or maybe they were just plain embarrassed.

    The band then obliged with a perfectly appalling attempt at the wretched thing. They were ably assisted in their mission to show their contempt for the piece by the MD, who (as many of them do) decided to really stick two fingers up to the paying public by "getting it over with" as fast as possible, thus making it harder to play and easier to mess up.

    I am, nowadays, always prepared for this eventuality. Any drummer who has played this piece, will know how difficult it is to play the actual, correct, written rythm pattern, at the kind of speeds now fashionable amongst arrogant snobbish MD,s anxious to leave their "intellectual" mark on the great unwashed audiences.

    Thats all very well for the tin pot, two bob, wannabee "James Gourlay's" of the brass band world, but how about sparing a thought for the poor sod at the back who's arms are about to fall off, just so you can show the public what a towering musical academic you are.

    Its all very well expressing your contempt for a piece of music in advance of its performance, but you dont half sound a bunch of clowns if you cant actually play it!!!

    Yes, I hate the ****** thing as much as anyone, probably more, (having heard so many bad renditions of it) but bands must remember it has to be PLAYED.
  2. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I agree with all you wrote, It is a bad piece but it still needs to be played well to save embarasment on players. If Im were embarased at a concert by playing badly I would be leaving said band very shortly afterward.
  3. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    I'm not a huge fan of Floral Dance but is it really that bad?

    I mean compared to Instant Concert, anything by Edrich Seibert, etc Floral Dance is actually a pretty decent fun pice that the audience (remember them the people that pay money to hear us play, the money we all want so we can buy new music, instrumenst etc and go to contests) actually enjoy and want to hear.
  4. Big Ste

    Big Ste New Member

    We have found a unique cure, or at least a relief from the symptoms caused by "Floral Dance itis". This is easily done by going round each of the pads and removing said piece and filing it.

    This method does have side effects in the form of looks of puzzlement from the requester when you say that you do not have the Floral Dance in our pads (like they expect us to have scarred our minds by memorising it!)
  5. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    Played this in Peasholm Park, Scarborough 2 weeks ago (played it last week too,suprise ,as Shaggy says, it's always on the menu!)
    Has anyone sat there hoping somebody falls down the grass banking into the lake or is it just me??
  6. Shaggy

    Shaggy New Member

    Well thats an interesting solution to the problem Big Ste! and in your terms an obvious one. You have put your finger on the precise point. I have long campaigned ( in my days as chairman at Barstonworth) for numbers such as the Floral Dance and other such "undesirable" selections, to be ALWAYS, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, A MANDATORY PART OF THE BAND REPERTIOR.

    It does not mean you will include them in the performance voluntarilly, of course you wont,but if someone asks you to play it, whats the problem? since when has the brass band movement been the standard bearer of impecable taste in music for christs sake!!!

    You are putting a show on, its show business folks! you are not in the business of casting pearls before swine for cryin out loud, leave that to the Berlin Philharmonic.

    This kind of situation applies to any number of musical settings, take my background for instance, Modern Jazz. I know what I want to play on the gig, I know what the guys in the band want to play, and together we hope the paying public enjoy it. However, I know the type of stuff that joe public is likely to want me to play, those few numbers that he or she equates roughly with the genre I am playing in, and it used to be the same every time "Can you play that take five thingy mate?""..... " Can you play that thingy off the cigar advert mate?"....." Can you play that Barry Norman film night thingy mate?"....."Can you play that Flintstones thingy mate?".....and so on.

    So, how do I respond?....."Sorry mate we dont play that kind of rubbish, we are serious musicians"...er......nope, certainly not. Whats the point of ****ing the guy off,or making him or her look a clown in front of their mates? no point what so ever.

    What I would do is this. Start by pretending I dont know it, ask the guys if they know it (they look suitably confused) I ask the bloke to sing me a bit of it, I furrow my brow, try a few chords on the piano, the bloke crys out "yes thats it! thats it!!" I stage a fake technical conferance with the lads in the band and we somehow, miraculously stumble out way through the request.

    The audience think we are some kind of supernatural beings and the guy who requested it thinks he helped us to play it.

  7. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    That would be even better, if somebody died rolling down the banking into Peasholm Park Lake. Well, not actually rolling down.Drowning in the lake I mean.Instead of drowning in the racket coming from the bandstand.
  8. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    If you kept said pieces as a permanent fixture on the repertoire (that's how you spell it Shaggy) I'm sure you would more or less end up with a full concert.How would you fit the "new" pieces in?


    Floral Dance, Cavatina, Instant Concert, Hey Mr Music Man, Danny Boy, Hot Toddy, Castell Coch, Amarillo, Beatles Medley, Abba Medley, Tom Jones Medley, Buddy Holly Medley, any Disney Medley,James Bond Collection,Y Viva Espana, I will Follow Him (not the trombone trio), Lion King, Spread a little happiness, Lets Face the Music, Puttin on the Ritz, You'll never Walk Alone, Can Can, Orange juice.

    How Many more have I missed?
  9. Robhibberd29

    Robhibberd29 Active Member

    Maybe we could all just play the score from Brassed Off. That would sort it.
  10. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Funny you should bring this up. I asked for Floral Dance to be gotten out only last week. Should never have watched Brassed Off on TV.
  11. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member


    As a person who regularly plays the Floral Dance on a weekly basis I probably have more sympathy than most for insanity. However, there is a serious point here.

    When choosing a programme of music for the ordinary public you need to use the pieces that they recognise in order to provide pieces that they don't. A general punter may not know about a transcription of Verdi, but will know the Floral Dance, or vice versa! Therefore, tunes like the Floral Dance, were at somepoint, even before 1977, a staple of the band repertoire. Who would believe that the band contest held in Burton Constable in 1845 would actually have a band in the first three places playing Hail, Smiling Morn. Dance Hall tunes are still played in most concerts anyway, think of the person who plays the Holy City or The Lost Chord.

    Playing "cheesy" music is a necessity to perpetuate the audiences that we attract. Nevertheless, it does not mean that you have a programme that solely consists of the stuff. Last Night of the Proms, a good example. People actually think that the only pieces they play in the concert are the same every year when in reality there are differences, primarily in the first half. Keep the cheese but use it wisely or both the players and audiences will get sick of it.
  12. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I think it would help if bands actually rehearsed the piece. Fulham's players were full of contempt for Lil' Darling, mainly because it had always been used, but when the MD actually REHEARSED it over a period of a month or so, the band found out a new depth to the piece, and the style of playing required improved no end.

    If you are going to play a piece, you should not play it on auto pilot, and do your band proud when you do.
  13. Nowt wrong with Floral Dance.
  14. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    Excellent comments.
    I have played this piece a great deal in concert. I have VERY rarely rehearsed it. I have very very rarely heard it being played well.
    Bands assume that they don't need to rehearse the "standard cheese" repertoire, but if you don't rehearse those pieces then they will sound less than musical. This gives the impression to the general public that bands cannot play musically (just because you play something faster than other bands DOES NOT make it better). If these pieces are to be played (and I think they should be - they are as much part of banding history as Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is to the classical orchestral world) then bands should rehearse them and play them to the best of their ability. Anything less than this shows an amazing contempt for the audience.
    If you don't like a piece, that is your problem, you should never let the audience know that you are not a fan - ESPECIALLY in your performance of it.

    Yes, Floral Dance is often requested and often overplayed, but very rarely is it played well. Maybe if bands spent a little more time rehearsing these pieces then the performances might improve, leading to a possible perception that bands can create a musical performance, even when presented with something as familiar as the Floral Dance.

    Playing a well-known piece badly does nobody any favours.
  15. Hootenanny and of course anything that has a little "bom ditty-bom di, bom ditty-bom di" horn / bass amalgamation.

  16. Liz Courts

    Liz Courts Active Member

    I've just come back from a week in Malta with St Stythians Band, and the Floral Dance was of course included in our programmes, bringing a bit of Cornwall to Malta...what we didn't expect was the Maltese Band to open their part of the first concert with the piece as a welcome to their town! It looked like they enjoyed playing it, and we certainly enjoyed dancing along to it!
  17. tpcornet12

    tpcornet12 Member

    It would be quite interesting to hear a B&R view on this as I'm sure (especially in the old days) they played this more than anyone! I'm also quite sure that they played it brilliantly everytime regardless of how bored they might have been of it!
  18. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    Here here! :clap:
  19. Mr_Chairman

    Mr_Chairman Member

    We have a similar affliction - perhaps not as virulent, known as "Lincolnshire Poacheritis" !
  20. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Think we've already had it ^ post No 11 from Richard above.

    At KSB I adopt a policy of leave it in the library for at least 5 years before it comes out again - it's kept in the same vault as Born Free and Choral & Rock Out.
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