Keeping hold of the shed!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by MarkGillatt, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. MarkGillatt

    MarkGillatt Member

    Just wanted to throw something in the pot regarding the forgotten section of the band. As a percussionist myself, I sometimes get incredibly frustrated with the inconsistency of the test piece choice panel. I know that we have had a similar discussion, especially regarding the debacle that was Images of the Millenium and now Carnival, but bands will always have set make-up 3 trombones, 2 baris 3 horns etc...but the percussion sections vary! My question is how many bands find that they are having to recruit percussionists for once test piece and then losing them for the next?
    For example, Images of the Millenium needed 3 decent players (except for Strata who had Robosheddy:clap: ), whereas just 2 months before was Promethius Unbound which just needed someone at the back to stay awake long enough to hit a bass drum somewhere near the end!
    Similarly again this year, Carnival. What is the point of bands recruiting 3 percussionists last year to have to say that you can only play bass drum, snare drum or cymbals this year.
    Could we make it easier for my rhythmic brethren (and sistren?) to pick and choose which section to play in without the 2 moves in 12 months rule? This would help to keep percussionists interested enough to stay with our great movement and not to disappear onto the club scene or give up all together?
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2007
  2. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    It's an interesting point that comes up periodically. One of the problems is that the modern test piece panels to a certain extent have their hands tied by the fact that so many older test pieces had to be performable without percussion becasue that was the rules - but that shouldn't mean that the older pieces aren't chosen!

    Speaking personally and going back to when I was playing, I didn't mind so much not having a lot to do in a test piece if I was kept occupied the rest of the time. If the band and MD are considerate, then you just have to accept that there is nothing they can do about which test piece gets chosen. I know it's frustrating though!

    I think a more pressing problem is getting percussionists into banding at all, but that's moving away from the point slightly...
  3. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Keeping a percussion section interested in lower sections is not easy, especially if for 3-6 months of the year (depending on how many contests you do) they haven't much to do. Percussionists are the one type of musician that can (and do) play with any type of ensemble, orchestras, bands, rock bands, jazz, just about everything, all have percussion.
    Given the choice, why would they spend hours at the back of a bandroom to do next to nothing?
    Thing is, for concert work you virtually cannot do without one, and preferably two if you have timps and kit.
    One solution is to find someone within the band willing to swap between, say, 5th man down for concerts and 3rd percussionist for contests, but this assumes you have enough players and that they are willing to do so.
    Perhaps what's needed is for an arranger to be tasked with writing sympathetic and sensible percussion parts for those (mainly older?) pieces that don't have them, if they are to be used as test pieces.
    (within reason - wasn't it Rienzi that needed 6 percussionists?)
  4. Craigsav83

    Craigsav83 Active Member

    Yeah, Reinzi requires 6 percussionists, and most sort of modern test pieces require 3-4 but the problem arises with older pieces, and with some not so older pieces. Its really difficult choosing pieces, because these pieces, like Lorenzo or Labour and Love are all very much still an important part of the repetoire. Its not an easy job trying to keep 28 brass and percussion players happy now, is it?!

    On the note of adding percussion, it has been done to some expent, though I'm not entirely sure who by, I'm sure someone on tMP will know. I'm against that though, I feel that adding percussion where its not written would ruin a piece of music, however sympathetically done.

    There is quite a shortage of percussion players on the go, I dont see why some arrangement cant be made just for percussionists, perhaps being able to be signed with 2 bands at the one time, or something along those lines?
  5. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    I have a great deal of sympathy with the kitchen sink department. As an MD i find it very frustrating knowing I have three willing percussionist who are prepared to attend regularly only to either bore them rigid at rehearsal or beg them not to come.
    Come on the panel take a serious look at what you are choosing, remember once you choose we have no choice.
  6. Gorgie boy

    Gorgie boy Member

    It was Phillip Wilby who added more percussion (including a timp part) to "Pageantry", if I'm correct for a Grand Shield about 10 os so years ago, at the request of Bram Gay. If I remember correctly, it was quite a controversial affair at the time.
  7. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    Philip Wilby for the 1995 Grand Shield , included new percussion parts ( the timp part was taken from the 1936 Kings Herald used at the coronation ).
    The current transfer system , needs an overhaul.what is needed is one central registry , swipe card identification a bar code reader at the competitions and a laptop, will get rid of all the paper work and hassle to do with registration and bring the admin of band competitions into the 21st century. Just an idea BFBB could look at , it could even be implimented at a European level.
  8. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    Oh how I long for the frustration of having three percussionists at rehearsal regularly!!