Outdoor carolling and older players

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by euphojim, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. euphojim

    euphojim Member

    It may seem a long way off but now I have had my summer holiday the Christmas season planning starts.

    Our band has a number of players in their 70’s and 80’s. Some opt out of the outdoor jobs at Christmas but others do not and, unfortunately, during each of the past two Christmases we have had players who were taken ill and needed paramedic assistance whilst out carolling.

    The band gets the same pep talk each year about older players and those with health problems not being expected to turn out if they feel it is going to be too much for them and for static jobs we always ensure that chairs are available for those who need them. But some of these players have banding in their blood and do not like to miss out.

    As we make plans for this year’s festivities, I wonder if any other band has policies on older players participating in this type of activity.
  2. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    At the band I conduct we have an older player who had a heart-attack during one of our Christmas gigs a few years back (one difference here though, it was high 20s and 100% humidity). He is the same, a keen guy who doesn't want to have to stop. Of course, he has quite a serious heart condition and we told him that unless we are sat down in the shade he is not to play in future.

    He wasn't too pleased but accepted it was a sensible choice (what if the question of culpability was raised?) and, as a band, we are now far more alert when planning jobs about things like seating, exposure to sun, temperature etc to accomodate this fellow and some of our other more experienced members.

    Your situation sounds more difficult if you have several players who maybe shouldn't (but want to!) be playing out in the freeze.

    Perhaps you could round up the candidates and explain the dilemma, these more 'senior' members may well have spent more time thinking about this situation than you think and have some workarounds in mind (jolly along that youth band! :D).

    Sorry, I don't have any better advice!

    Good luck, Marc
  3. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Currently, our oldest player (on flugel!) is a positively geriatric 52, and I'd... er, he'd... love the band to have a policy whereby the greybeards don't have to stand about in the frost and snow.

    Dream on, Derek...:rolleyes:

    More seriously, though - how do you stop players from doing what they feel they have a duty to do? For my generation, and older, if the band had a job on, you moved heaven and earth to try to make sure you were there, whereas (some) younger members nowadays seem to feel that fundraising jobs are optional (and not only my band...).

    If the old 'uns feel capable, do you have the right to say otherwise? (unless, of course, they have a pre-existing medical condition that the band knows about...). How do the "senior members" find out they can't do it any more?

    I suppose, really, common sense has to prevail on both sides :-?
  4. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Too true. Man, I feel old!!
  5. Di B

    Di B Member

    Can you arrange shorter spells of carolling?
    Can you have a couple of pub stops/house stops along the way to warm up?
    Even think about having a job share rota (and again, you could apply this to the whole band so everyone does less carolling each but the band benefit at the same level)

    I think banding and illnesses are interesting as people say it is only a hobby, but if your health isn't 100% then you can find yourself sidelined.

    Let them know you want them there and they are not being sidelined. Tell them the band is worried about them playing in the freezing cold and getting ill, when the band will need them for contests! If they get ill they won't be able to play at the contest!
    This approach shows that the band does still want them - in fact they want them so much they are prepared to do whatever necessary to keep them. Seems a much nicer way of approaching it :)
  6. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    We generally sit down, wrap up warm, and try where possible to get into Malls. However King STreet in Manchester is flippin cold, and the lovely people in the nearby shops send us out the occasional hot drink. KUONI - you are very kind to us
  7. euphojim

    euphojim Member

    Thanks for the comments and advice so far.

    Some of the suggestions we are already doing - like using rostas, scheduling breaks and trying to get more indoor sessions.

    Although the band does not contest at the moment, I think Di's suggestion and Marc's approach is the right one and whilst there are a couple of players who that would definitely apply to this year, there are a few others that I would regard as borderline.

    Should make an interesting discussion at the next Committee meeting.
  8. GordonH

    GordonH Active Member

    Somewhere along the way we lost the "big deal" of being asked to play in "the band" (whatever band that happened to be). Might be due to fewer kids learning, but when I was a teenager the pool of players was very large and the number of seats in the band limited therefore it was a huge deal getting into it and you had to take all the responsibilities seriously.

    Thats why older players tend to want to keep going. Its in their blood to turn up.
  9. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    i find it's normally the cold snap in january or february that gets them - i think the thought of a bottle of brandy over the xmas pudding keeps a lot of our band going through december.