tMP Exclusive Interview with Pat Webmaster – Brass Band of Columbus Web Site of the Month Award Winner - November 2005 By way of an introduction, could you please tell us a little about yourself I grew up in a very non-musical family, so I didn't first start to play an instrument until age 15 at which time I undertook playing the american baritone in a school band. I later switched to trombone. While studying science education I was a member of the 225-piece all brass and percussion Ohio State University Marching Band. I then started playing in proper brass bands bouncing around between baritone, tenor horn and my current instrument EEb bass. I finished my Master's Degree from Ohio State in 2001 studying environmental science and am currently persuing my PhD in science education. In the mean time I lived in the Watford for a year and had the chance to play with many different British Bands. Are you actively involved in playing a brass instrument with any band, or do you simply undertake the web design on behalf of a band? I am currently playing EEb bass in the 2006 North American Champion Brass Band of Columbus. How long have you been involved in web design how did you first get involved in it? Do you manage/run any other web sites, if so, which ones? I started helping out with the BBC website in 2000. It looked like something fun to do. Since then I have also created teacher website's for my wife and myself (although those have been shelved temporarily). What applications did you use to build your site and why did you choose these? I'm not particularly good at programming html, so I use Frontpage to design the pages. However, I upload the pages using WS_FTP Pro Explorer. Please can you explain for us how you prepared and planned for the development of the site when asked to implement this for BBC ? What content do you feel should be included on a brass band www site? How long did this site actually take you to build? I had helped with the old site several years ago, but with the band's new logo and image the site was due for an overhaul. One thing I did was visit about 40 other brass band sites and tally what sort of information they had. It became apparent that the most important thing a website could do was help build audiences (everybody would rather play for a crowd than an empty house) and funnel money into the band to cover expenses. So I think brass band sites should explain how to listen to the band, buy CD's and donate money. Another thing that can help people want to listen to the band is if they feel like the know them and realise we are just ordinary people like everyone else. So the news section and member bios helps with that. To get the intial prototype running took about 3 weeks of long hours (outside of work). Do you use innovative ideas on your www site? Nothing particularly innovative that I can think of. Why should people visit BBC www site? Hopefully, people in the UK will check us out to buy some of our CDs (shameless plug). We have a new march CD coming out with many marches that have not been recorded before. Also, it'd be nice for some bands to contact us so they might do a concert in our area when doing a tour through the U.S. The Ohio/ Kentucky area probably has the highest concentration of bands in the United States (largly due to the great number of alumni from the Ohio State University Marching Band). How do you manage the content on your web site and do you have a publishing policy? It pretty much works where I put the information up. Our MD and band chairperson will sometimes send minor corrections to me after the fact. Also, I try to co-ordinate some information with our Newsletter editor, John Watkins (who by the way takes excellent pictures). What would you recommend as the best way to start to learn about designing and building www sites? Ask a lot of questions of people who know what they are doing (even if those others are only novices and not experts). Also, once you get going, save the main page of some website of which you like the layout. Look at how those people break down the graphics and how they format it. How do you see the influence of the internet assisting the banding movement over the next 5 to 10 years? I'll give you a perspective from this side of the pond. First, I hope it helps connect more bands within the U.S. and from abroad. If it can help with fundraising it will truly allow more brass bands here to connect with each other as travel is a large expense. Also, even though wind bands are still the dominant community band here, brass band websites are on average better (sometimes simply because they actually exist). I think it will help promote the growth in interest of brass bands over here...we still have quite a bit of catching up to do with the wind bands in terms of numbers. In most visited order, what are your 5 most frequently used www sites? www.google.com (it's my main page) www.espn.com (for all my sport...including footie) www.themouthpiece.com (of course) as well as www.4barsrest.com www.osu.edu (my university) Can you let our members know of any other www sites you feel are interesting to visit but are not in your top 5, and why this is so. Could you please name your all time favourite www site, and why so? Do you use online community forums, if so, which ones do you use? Other than tMP, I sometimes check up from time to time on some of the other band website's that have forums, TubaNet and the I-Bow Tie brass forum. We also have a forum through our univesity that I use to monitor my students' progress. What do you do to relax and unwind? I find going for a walk with my wife very therapeutic. We have a nice park by our house and seeing the plants and wildlife while talking about our day is often very relaxing. Tell us something about yourself that we don't already know. I used to train birds for the bird show at the zoo. What are your other hobbies? Band is my main hobby as right now my free time is really cut down because of graduate school. In the past I would enjoy going to movies; and playing softball and ice hockey. What do you drive? Being so environmentally conscience I drive a Honda CRV Actually, it helps a lot in carting around a tuba, baritone, my wife and I to and from band.