Necessary Evils?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by brassneck, Feb 10, 2005.


Would you consider a merger for competition purposes only?

  1. YES

    6 vote(s)
  2. NO

    17 vote(s)
  1. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    A while back I posted a hypothetical solution to manning levels of bands for contesting ... that bands could merge for contesting purrposes only whilst keeping their independant status for reasons of history and pride for concert work. It seems that two bands have taken this hard decision and taken the plunge ...

    I also suggested that unused players could form a registered dep pool that could be used by other struggling bands to help them compete at contests.

    ... Is this going to be something that will feature more in the future as we struggle as a whole to bring new blood and former players into the movement?
  2. Sam Atherton

    Sam Atherton Member

    It's an interesting thing to do. They must be quite lucky in that the two bands players compliment each other well for contest purposes, and the appropriate people don't mind sitting out of contests.
    I imagine that in many cases, you'd end up with doubling of several parts and still get empty chairs elsewhere. Often, bands in a particular area all seem to be trying to recruit the same players!

    Is there anyone from the bands in question on here? I'd be interested to know how they've worked it out.

    Personally, I'm not sure I'd want to do it. I think that there's a risk of players drifting away, and you just ending up with the one band. Good luck to them for the areas though!
  3. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    In this situation it would have to be all or nothing, as the bands would not only be competing for the same paid jobs, but also for the same deps, bearing in mind the obvioulsy close geographical proximity to each other.
  4. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    I cant see the idea of 2 bands merging working on many occasions

    1. Players ego - try moving the solo euph from band A to 1st Baritone in the mixed Band

    2. Cover all parts - will the massed band really have only 1 Bass Trom/Flugel and not 2 of one and none of the other

    3. Conductor - which one?

    4. Rehearsal - where?, traveling, etc

    I like the idea of a pool of 'spare' players though, look at the thread

    while some bands are looking for players others are dropping some for the Area contest, surely a way can be found for a short term transfer .
  5. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    It is a sad sign that bands are having to do this, but fair do's to Potters Bar/Enfield for trying something positive. The problem is that nearly all of the mergers I can think of simply haven't worked.

    When two bands come together like this there will almost always be duplication of players etc and suddenly you have the problem of two committees who have run "their" band and done things "their" way for x years coming together to try to make the merged band work. The whole lot is a recipe for in-fighting, fallings out, arguments and general grief. In the end [in my experience] most merged bands have ended up back in the same situation after a year or so - still missing players and stuggling generally, or worse still has exploded totally due to politics or whatever, and both bands have died. Admittedly these have been all full-time mergers, not the contesting only meger that this one is.

    Mergers are probably best viewed as an unfortunate but very occasionally practical short-term solution to a bands terminal player shortages. As a movement we need to find a better long-term way of encouraging more players into Brass Bands...after all you can only merge together so many bands before you have none left to merge!!

    As Sam has already said it would be intersting to see how they've sorted the various merging problems out. I really hope this works out for them and wish them luck.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2005
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    If the purpose is only for competition, surely a separate committee from both bands (including MDs) is sufficient for decision-making and fund-raising. I couldn't see this being done amicably without the consent of both sets of players though. Not everybody in a band wishes to go through the stressful period of contest preparation and stage nerves since really it is only a hobby for them. The interesting thing about the scenario is that foundations of either band is preserved, at least, for the short term. Whether the new environment of contest works is observed as being more pleasurable for the chosen ones than their current band setup (resulting in a change of committment) is an area that will have to be tracked with time.
  7. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I'm sure this decision has been made amicably, with the full support of the players. But it's an easy trap to fall into - you've been struggling for a while with no prospect of things getting any better, then suddenly your rehearsal attendance is doubled and things seem to be great - it really looks like the answer. The problems start to arise when the practicalities become apparent - all of which stevetrom has listed.

    One other point - presumably the "contest" band will improve in standard (isn't that why we do contests in the first place???:confused: :confused: ) but then how will the players react when they go back to their respective "concert" bands and the standard isn't as good?

    As you say brassneck - it's an interesting idea, and will be worth keeping a track on over time to see if both bands manage to maintain their seperate "concert" identities.
  8. Sam Atherton

    Sam Atherton Member

    I think that it depends on the quality and the frequency of your concerts, doesn't it? Most people would admit that it's easy to become complacent playing run of the mill park type jobs, but I think that putting together a challenging and interesting program can be used to improve a band in much the same way as contesting.
  9. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    I can see the outcome being the non-contesting players being left out to dry.
  10. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I had a chance to dep with the Whitewebbs band for one of their Christmas concerts this past December.

    From what I understood the merger took place sometime ago (Definitely before Harrogate, probably before last year's areas and maybe even before then). All they have done in the past week or so is formalise the name change to give both bands credit.

    Also, my best understanding is that the regular bands rehearse one night a week each (not sure if it is the same day or not) and the contest band rehearses on Sunday. In some regards it is not that different than how some other bands have a concert band rehearse one night a week and the contest band rehearse a second night (eg YWDB).

    While my experience with them was limited to 1 rehearsal and 1 concert. Everybody seems to be friends with the people in their own band and some enjoy the extra challenge of contesting (while others don't and a few aspire to some day be in the contest band). I think anybody saying it won't work out for them underestimates the circumstances that have lead them to this point. Merging bands for contests may not work everywhere, but I think it is working well for them.
  11. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Unless they've only really got 1 whole band bewteen them anyway, how can this NOT cause a conflict of interests? As others have already said, there's so many potential issues with egos, who-plays-what, paid gigs, rehearsal schedules....
    Surely after the honeymoon period the players who aren't too fussed with contesting will get hacked off with all the complications, and the players who are serious about contesting will find themselves another band entirley? Or am I just an old cynic? :rolleyes:

    I really can't see how this will work long term, but for the sake of seeing another couple of bands survive, I really hope it does!
  12. sarah munn

    sarah munn New Member

    Just to clarify the situation, being a player of both Potters Bar town band and EMM and PB contest band. The bands have not merged but have infact formalised a situation that has been running for a number of years.It was felt that after winning the national finals we would make the situation more permanent and give both bands credit in the name. Both bands have players that wish to contest and players that do not. Therefore all we have done is created a new band of players who wish to contest. Rather than putting anyones noses out and having two contesting bands with unhappy or very few players we have three bands and everyone is happy.
  13. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Thanks for posting Sarah...I was trying to stick up for you, but it sounds so much better from one of the actual players!!! Best of luck at Stevenage!!
  14. sarah munn

    sarah munn New Member

    thanks for your support.
  15. hellraiser

    hellraiser Member

    I think dual membership is something bands should look at. No doubt this would be helpful for students.

    It's understandable the disappointment felt by bands who lose their best players to better bands. It's also understandable that people wish to move on to better bands, sadly these people are often labelled as traitors and often if they had the choice they would like to play for both bands anyway.

    Why not allow some kind of dual membership? There must be a way around this problem. The concern might be that some lower section bands would get top players in for a contest, of course, and gain an unfair advantage perhaps.

    As a very quick suggestion, maybe something like a life membership of a band where you spent your youth playing at, which would allow you to compete with them for life?
  16. Sam Atherton

    Sam Atherton Member

    Thanks for letting us know more about how your set up works! I don't think that anyone here is being critical - we're just curious. In my case it's hard to imagine, because it wouldn't work with the bands I've played in. That doesn't mean it can't work anywhere else, of course, and you've proved that it does.
  17. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I've just got one question regarding their set-up ... do I assume that the players in the contesting band are no longer part of their original bands?
  18. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I presume it's just a question of transferring their contest registration - for all other purposes they can stay as they were.
  19. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    It was just that the way Sarah was explaining the situation, the contesting band members are a separate unit, and not involved officially with their former bands. Furthermore, have the original bands dropped their contesting status?
  20. Sam Atherton

    Sam Atherton Member

    Sounds to me like the original bands don't contest. The players that want to contest from both bands have a joint contest band. Sarah says they've had the set up for years, so I doubt there's a registration problem, if that's what you're getting at.