What do people think of novelty pieces? The MD of our training band has dug out Sand Paper Ballet from the library. This fills me with dread, because I know one of the older members of the training band, a member of the full band, or worse still an unsuspecting member or the audience is going to get picked on. Sometimes these items work great but at other times they don't and I find myself cringing with embarrassment. Last summer we did a job at a local school fete and played Teddy Bear's Picnic. There was a representative from a toy shop dressed in a teddy bear costume who decided to dance about at the front of the band. Unfortunately this bear did not possess any sense of rhythm at all. It just shook its big backside, knocked music stands over and looked completely stupid. Many of the youngsters couldn't play their parts because of the giggles. Ok for 20 seconds or so, but after 2 or 3 mins it was just pure embarrassment. During the same concert season the training band played Jamie's Patrol and as the sound diminished and parts dropped out the players walked off stage, leaving just a bass and solo cornet. That seemed to work ok. Question is - what's the secret formula. What makes one item work and the other cringe-worthy? Any funny stories? Suggestions for pieces that go down well?