'Scratch' Bands.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by The Godfather, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. The Godfather

    The Godfather Member

    Should scratch bands be allowed to enter Regional/National contests.? I don't include Whit Friday in this topic, and by 'scratch' bands, I mean bands of picked players who are not rehearsing on a weekly /regular basis, but come together just to go 'Pot-hunting'.
  2. Adamskied

    Adamskied Member

    Isn't there a band in the midlands that does that already?
  3. The Godfather

    The Godfather Member

    There may be. My question is simply should it be allowed ?
  4. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Leaving aside the question of whether or not it's a desirable thing to happen, legislating against it would be unpoliceable...
  5. The Godfather

    The Godfather Member

    I can't see why it would be unpoliceable, but a business associate who is a member of a good SA band mentioned that he had been approached by a group of SA guys (all top class players, some ISB, and some pro's) who were getting together just to do contests. He was'nt happy about it so did'nt follow it up. I did'nt think the SA did contesting, and I'm not 'knocking' them, I have lots of respect for the SA , our movement owes a lot to it, but SA or not, is it fair to other bands to round up a bunch of pro's and top-line players who really would or could be at an advantage over ordinary bands in their section.
  6. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    I don't see why they would be at an advantage over bands who rehearse together regularly?
  7. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    It would be unpoliceable because it would potentially demand that all contesting bands supply evidence that they rehearse together week in week out. It would be a major faff if one's band were asked to supply such proof.

    I have no problem with this, though I suspect the SA authorities might possibly. Send someone round to listen to them, and put them in the section most suitable for their ability as an ensemble - presumably the championship section if they are that good (although those who evaluate this seem to be a little shy of putting in any new band fresh in the top section, preferring instead to put them in the 1st section to make them prove themselves a little). Then let us see who is how good. No matter how good the players, they'll find their contesting level as a band, and I suspect that a scratch approach will ultimately limit them - "champion band" vs "band of champions", etc.

    We already have bands containing professional players, as both regular members and superstar deps (or sometimes not-so-superstar deps), and we accept this. We already have a very few players that are in the happy position of being effectively salaried by their band for playing. We already have bands that are predominantly filled with people who earn their living from brass music (i.e. instrumental teachers). We already have an SA-branded scratch band that competes at the Whits every year. I don't really see any problems here, although it's an interesting new slant.
  8. cockaigne

    cockaigne Member

    Why go pot-hunting at the regional contests, where no prize-money is on offer?

    I agree it could make things more interesting at the bigger contests (Spring Festival, Masters etc.) but most of these are by invitation, based on a band having a proven track record. Similarly the various Association contests, whilst open to all, would probably insist that a band which wasn't registered for the regional/national championships competed in the "unregistered" section (instead of, or in addition to, any others).

    Probably unworkable, unless it's in the context of a free-for-all open section, where the main prizes are open for all to make a bid for.
  9. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    Thats about 80% bands, so therefore about 20% enter the contest, waste of time turning up??
  10. Chris Hicks

    Chris Hicks Member

    The SA don't contest, but if the players decided they wanted to compete they would enter as a band that had no links to the SA other then the players attend the SA, which isn't uncommon practice nowadays. It'd just be like cornerstone would it not, who the vast majority of players were SA bandsmen, but also decided they wanted to do some competing so decided to get a band together for contests.

    I'm not sure there'd be many SA bands that could compete in the top section as it is, I'd even suggest that in a completely hypothetical situation, if the ISB decided to compete, I don't think they'd make much of a mark at contests such as the nationals or the Open if they competed there.
  11. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    If players are registered with another band, don't have the time to rehearse regularly, and are willing to pay the expenses needed to participate. Then I don't see a problem. Isn't another brass band a good thing? Furthermore, it's not like it's weakening other bands, because these players don't want to be in full-time groups.
  12. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    I think the day will come when the registry is extinct and part time banding will replace what we have now. There are so many players who cant commit to a band these days that scratch bands will become more common. Within 4/5 square mile of my house would be the best band in the country quite easily. Most players are traveling 20/40 miles to Yorkshire, and Cheshire. I reckon I could form a band that rehearses once a month that would win everything.
  13. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Any rule that limits what bands and players can do should be discrouaged, as should any rule that excludes people from participating in events. Can we afford to turn people away who want to do things a different way?

    Auckland has a struggling youth band scene at the moment. There are 3 or 4 who are doing ok and they compete annually at the local contest. Last year, I played for two of these bands (on 2nd trombone for one and a composite euph/trom part for the other). Each band has three or four helpers from top section bands who go along regularly. Without these helpers, these bands would not be able to exist.

    The conductors of each band are friends and understand the situation - there is no money to be made, the important thing is to be able to put a good programme together and compete.

    The comment came forth post contest last year from some (not involved with the bands I should add) that there were too many a-grade helpers on stage with these bands and it wasn't a fair representation of these bands, and that the rules should be tightened up to prevent this. I replied pointing out that this would probably end with the bands no longer competing... it was interesting that the complainers didn't seem to think this was a problem!

    Fewer rules = more fun, creativity and innovation.
  14. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    Once of a Day yes but now - No. O&R's no longer preclude membership of other bands.

    Surely though if players are not registered, what is the issue with them getting together to compete? Would you turn one of them away if they wanted to compete with your band and were good enough?

    Most rehearse regularly anyway (maybe just not together).
  15. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    I really hope it does. I'm one of those ex players who cannot committ to playing for a band full time, mainly due to work committments. I would be more than happy to do the area with a band, and the fact that so many bands can go to the area with part time players who don't committ to them full time, just highlights the issue and problem even more.
  16. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Pete - thanks for the clarification. Would they also be happy with a band with a name that clearly identified itself as being of SA extraction being on the regular contesting scene?

    Stella - the thing is that a band requires people running around to organise it, it doesn't just happen magically. If you need to get 10 deps in for a rehearsal, that's 10 phone calls (at a very minimum - probably more like 25 to 30) and 10 favours owed. If you have a regular team that you can rely on to turn up, you can take out a big chunk of the effort that's needed to run the thing. The band is run by the players for the players, and those who run things get very little in the way of thanks. What incentive is there for somebody to run something as busy and thankless as a contesting brass band when you have to assemble the whole team from scratch every time? Sure, if you think you can win things, then contesting becomes more fun, but the number of bands that consistently win things is small. Small-scale banding would die if it wasn't for regular commitment.
  17. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    Small scale banding will also die if bands don't become more flexible. There is a number of people like me, who have a real interest in banding (I wouldn't be on here otherwise) who cannot commit, and whilst people leaving the movement grows, so will scratch bands. Its not what anyone wants, but simply ignoring it, the problem isn't going to go away.
  18. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    Have I misunderstood you Stella?

    Do you really expect other people to organize a band, players, music, MD, instruments , rehearsal room, etc so that you can come along and play when you fancy it?

    I hope I have got the wrong end of the stick, and I apologize in advance if I have, but what is it that you would expect ti persuade you to play for a band?
  19. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    Its me not making myself clear, because I'm rushing!! Of course you need committment, but relistically not everyone can. I've played for a band that everyone was 100% committed. Not the best band in the world but we put on a good performance I feel, so it is important, but I didn't have the work and life committments I have now. Off topic I know, there was one band who didn't like the fact I could do a number of jobs during the week and I had to be there at 630pm. I just about walk through the door of my house then. I find these organisers in bands are people who work, live, and play for a band in the same town and assume everyone else is the same. Unfortunately it leaves them to pick up the pieces which isn't nice I understand, but I feel (and I'm beginning to know far to many now) there are to many ex players around who cannot commit and bands and players give me the evils, making it uncomfortable.

    All I'm saying is your cannot ignore whats happening, there are to many scratch bands at contests and it is time bands did something about it , ie be more flexible rather than complain that people like me aren't putting any committment in or help out in any way, because I do appriciate what these people do.
  20. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    It may be that, with the rise of individuality and the fragmentation of the traditional working week, the player base that is able to commit to banding is shrinking.

    Simply put, there is a gap between the lifestyle that growing numbers of people have to lead and what amateur bands can realistically do to accommodate them. It may be that much small-scale banding is doomed whatever we do.

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