Top bands, benificial or parasites

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BIG Paul, Oct 11, 2004.


Are top section bands Beneficial or Parasites?

  1. Benificial

    25 vote(s)
  2. Parasites

    3 vote(s)
  3. Bit of Both

    15 vote(s)
  1. BIG Paul

    BIG Paul Member

    In my limited experience of banding. I often wonder what the top section bands give to banding in general?
    Are they good for banding? Do they put anything into the banding movement? Or do they just take?
    If they need a new player, do they train new players in a training band or just rely on their name to recruit from another band who then does the same. When it is then left to the lower section bands to do all the training of new and young players.

    Are top section bands willing to play to their local populations in supermarkets and local markets or are they totally contest and large concert orientated.

    No offence meant by these questions. Just interested to know the answers and of course peoples views on the subject.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2004
  2. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    It seems to me that, whatever failings there may have been in the past, a number of the top bands are going all out to become involved with bands at the lower levels, organising master-classes, joint concerts etc. When BAYV came down to Rayleigh a couple of years back, several players had spent all day working with the local training band, who then had a couple of slots in the evening concert, as well as joining with them for the finale.
  3. Rebel Tuba

    Rebel Tuba Member

    What must you think of top section bands????

    Obviously the top 15 or 20 bands are elite and have their own agendas. they do not need to train their own as they have lists of people who want to join them. they probably don't do many local jobs as most of the players will travel 100s of miles for a rehearsal (I knew a guy who had a 250 mile round trip for eac rehearsal)

    However, the majority of top section bands are just like any other band in the country. they paly the ASDA and TESCO carolling jobs, they play in the local church, they visit local hospitals and old folk homes.

    Don't tag all top section bands as a "Dyke" or "BAYV", these top bands in the whole senario of brass banding in the country are way off being the majority.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2004
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    As a slight aside to the original question, it does disturb me a little when I read in BBW of one of the finalists for the RAH stating: ". . . the band found that promoting concerts was costing money. So now the focus is on contest work . . . " Whilst it may not be against any of the competition rules, it does not seem quite in keeping with the spirit of existing, active bands competing against one another.
  5. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    ^ all depends on your definition of a "band" Peter!
    How many times do we hear about "bands" who ship in a bunch of deps for contests, or who just get together a few weeks before a particular contest?

    <controversial> If you go with the standard interpretation that a band is a group of people who meet regularly to make music and do the odd concert/contest along the way, then you could argue that some of these ensembles aren't "bands" and therefore shouldn't be allowed to compete alongside the rest....... <controversial> Subject for a whole other thread perhaps?

    But back ot - Rebel Tuba's right, most top section bands have to do the same bread and butter gigs as everyone else, and have the same issues with vacancies/attendance/internal politics as those in lower sections. I think there is another elite or super league above that though, and imho in addition to the points Peter made, what they give to the rest of us is new repertoire and something to aspire to.
  6. Rebel Tuba

    Rebel Tuba Member

    Indeed, however, "top" bands do not have the need to worry about promoting concerts, this is done for them by the organisers.

    Rehearse, Turn up, Play, get Paid,

    By having a "Season" of music they can concentrate more on contest work and those ellusive top prizes.

    Lower down the table of Championship bands is the larger group of those bands that have to earn money to play for rent, MDs etc......
  7. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Here, here!
    Playing with Cottingham in the top section is like any other band i have played with. Rehearsals are serious but good humoured, socialise after rehearsals.
    As much emphasis (if not more maybe) is placed on evening concerts, outdoor jobs, carolling round the local village as their is on contests.

    Most band can't afford to turn down jobs as money aint exactly aplenty unless you have big sponsors under your belt, like the YBS's and Buy as You Views of the banding world.

    Maybe the really top bands are different in the way they accept jobs (gonna need some confirmation from the 'big boys' on that though) but as Rebel Tuba said, most top section bands are like any other. :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2004
  8. Rebel Tuba

    Rebel Tuba Member

    Accidental, well noted - Nail, head and hitting

    As a bread and butter earning championship band player, I'm sure local bandspersons want to aspire to our standard.... and in turn I certainly would love to be a standard to play with DYKE, YBS etc ....... (the dreaming starts)

    Lets not ever mix up the Top bands with "normal" "everyday" brass banding
  9. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Is it not because revenue for bands (sponsors, council support, grants etc.) has decreased over the years that this position is observed? Is it not more a case of survival to pay the heating costs, instrument maintenance, music purchase, expenses etc. that more active involvement in fund-raising is required?

    My only gripe about the top tier of bands is the number of deps some use to fill seats in concerts. Okay, work commitments can deny even the best of players the opportunity to give 100% attendance, but when I pay for a ticket and find the stars I wanted to listen to replaced by A. Nother, I feel a little disappointed. How would a punter feel going to watch their favourite group and only a couple of the original members are present? Luckily, for me and others, YBS hade virtually a full turn-out in a recent concert I went to.
  10. Syrup

    Syrup Member

    Although I agree with lots that has been said on this, one thing to bear in mind is the level of sponsorship some of the top bands get, such that they don't need to do the ASDA thing or carolling, and they can go out and buy a replacement player to some extent.

    As an ex-player with Brighouse (all these views are mine and not necessarily B&R's!), I think they are probably the exception to the rule amongst the 'elite' bands, as they don't get thousands sponsorship from building society's etc. Although they don't have a junior/feeder band, they do have to earn all their money, they do promote their own concerts (see front page of last weeks BB), they do quite a few local concerts, and have also done workshops.

    I'm not saying that the likes of BAYV don't do these sorts of things (I'm sure they do), some will have to through necessity, some do cos they want to put something back in.
  11. jpbray

    jpbray Member

    Its the way things are. If you look around you see a lot of bodies where there is an elite section i.e F1, the Premiership, top athletes. These people don't fit "normal"; this is the cutting edge the gold standard to which people try to aspire to. In my view, even the local bander who has not got a snowballs chance in hell of reaching the top, should be looking to a least in some small way be looking to the top bands for inspiration so to be continually try to improve.

    Why do we play ASDA and TESCO at Christmas; 1) because we have to raise cash and 2) the enjoyment of just playing.

    I think we need the top bands; parasites in some respects when it comes to poaching players, but benificial overall with respect to setting a standard.:) :)
  12. Phil Green

    Phil Green Supporting Member

    I can only speak for Fodens but they do:

    ... play local concerts - Sandbach Park on a rainy August night is not glamourous
    ... providing coaching for youth bands - at least one full day every month
    ... run week long summer schools - Armagh for the 4th time this year
    ... raise money for Charity - NSPCC is our chosen charity
    ... promote our own concerts - Sloane Square with the Opera Babes next month civic ceremonies, christmas carol playing in Sandbach town square, fund raise for "mayoral" appeals and charities, loan spare instruments to local bands, have "open" evenings where kids can come and play along, hold free patrons concerts.......

    The term parasite is a strong one and one that certainly doesn't apply to any of the bands that I know.

  13. Anonymous_user

    Anonymous_user New Member

    Long, long ago Black Dyke had a junior band. If they still had this, maybe they wouldn't have had to 'attract' players-in such as Pete Roberts. It's nice, thought, that lots of current Black Dyke players do a lot of work with bands lower down the pecking order.

    Interestingly, both Pete Roberts, Stan Lippeat, Roger Webster etc etc all came through Grimethorpe Juniors, who still exist with active input from many of the senior band players.

    The standard bearer for corporate companies investing in youth has got to be Yorkshire Building Society. Not only do they sponsor the European Champions, but they also support both YBS Concert Brass (second section 2nd place at Nationals, first section from January) but also a junior band - if my information is correct.

    Additionally, Sellers International have a thriving youth band policy with the baton taken by their senior band's solo Euph.

    You only need to look around some of the current lower section bands to see the huge input from the so-called elite, both current and retired players both waving the baton and playing.

    So - Syrup - hope this helps fill in some of the gaps.

  14. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    At the end of the day the TOP15 Bands in the country are some thing us lower section bands can look up to and maybe one day join them.

    I do not think they are parasites at all and do a very good job a example of this is FODENS BAND.
    But it as already been mentiioned by one of the FODENS BAND
  15. Syrup

    Syrup Member

    Yes it has done thanks. As I said I am sure lots of bands do these things.

    I guess one of the main complaints the bands in lower sections have is that they nurture and bring on good young players only for them to then be poached by the top bands. But the young players would only go if they wanted to, and in lots of cases I'm sure that what they were aspiring to. Some players will use a band as a stepping stone to the next level, and there is nothing wrong with ambition.

    On the other hand you will find players who will stick with a particular band through thick and thin, and perhaps like the level they are at from both a playing and social aspect. These are the nucleus of any band and are the real hero's. When I look back at the band I first started playing with at 10 years old, some of the players are still there, these are the ones I take my hat off to.
  16. foxyflug

    foxyflug Member

    I'm glad you replied to this Mr Green.

    I'm gob smacked that lower section bands could ever feel this way about top bands!

    I always wanted to play for a top took me a long time but I'm just so grateful to have a seat at a band like Fodens!

    After 23 years of banding at a lower level and 5 years at Fodens, I can honestly say that I work harder now than ever I have. We are a very busy band, as are all the other top bands. Jobs nearly every weekend, and not just round the corner from home either!

    Fodens do indeed give plenty back to the banding world.......all over and above the "rehearse, turn up, play, get paid (We wish!)". A large proportion of the band spend their nights off rehearsals teaching young brass players from all over the North West.........I certainly have lots of pupils, and we are involved with lots of youth bands. I spend every Saturday morning (when not out with Fodens) at Stockport Schools Intermediate Band helping the kids. (I'm on the committee there too).

    Oh, and ofcourse there is all the personal practice required to keep that seat in the band!

  17. BIG Paul

    BIG Paul Member

    When i posed the initial question I was already aware of the work Fodens do in the North West and was interested to find out if other Top section bands were doing similar work. The word parasite was used in the poll to induce a lively discussion. I hope this continues.
  18. Sonny Barker

    Sonny Barker Member

    I'm no doctor, but I can sense the pain in this post! A player seems to have been lost to a top section band and Big Paul has vented his spleen on the forum.

    Get over it!

    All bands do the work. Don't tell me that your playing to the 'local population in supermarkets and local markets' is for their education? I bet there was someone in a silly jumper shaking a tin or bucket in time to some cheesy TV theme...

    Why do bands consider players as 'property'? The player has the ability, puts in the hard work, carries the rubbish along, but as soon as the opportunity comes along to join a more like-minded band, the hangers on (usually committee and their relatives) start this wounded bleating.

    Perhaps if you did a little more work yourself, you might get asked too (but, I suppose 'loyalty' would prevent you!).

    My prescription? A liberal application of hot Arban, three times a day for six months. You might find yourself in a top section band yourself then!
  19. BIG Paul

    BIG Paul Member

    How wrong can you be

    our band has never lost a player to a top section band. we have occasionally lost players to bands that contest more often and we wish them all luck. Yes we are disapointed when players leave but most still come back to our rehearsals for a blow and a pint with their friends.

    So NO you are totally wrong about pain doc Barker!
  20. craigyboy1

    craigyboy1 Member

    A band can only provide an opportunity to a player.
    It is the individual who decides to leave or stay.