Turning adversity into advantage?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BoBo, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. BoBo

    BoBo Member

    In common with many other bands around the country Audley Brass have been slowly losing players over the last few years. Most have gone to higher section bands, a few have just stopped playing. New recruits are as rare as hen’s teeth and when our MD resigned unexpectedly last week, a couple more players decided to call it a day and the situation became serious enough for us to contemplate merger or winding up.

    There are numerous threads about how a band gets into this downwards spiral, so I am not going there, rather I can report a remarkable transformation in band morale resulting from a band meeting last Friday.

    The decision was taken to merge the main band with the training band which at a stroke solves our recruitment shortage. For the training band this should be something of a roller coaster ride as their learning curve is just about to go through the roof. It does mean us turning our backs on contesting, for a few years anyway but the thing that surprised me was the main band rehearsal last night, for the first time in months we had a really positive rehearsal despite the low numbers and everyone went home buzzing.

    Why did we all think like that? I think it is because we have had such pressure on us from a humiliating 2008 areas result and wondering whether we have enough players to avoid a similar 2009 result that it has really been getting us down. Now we have decided instead to concentrate on being a people band instead of a contesting band, the relief is immense and we have started to enjoy ourselves again.

    No doubt we have many trials and tribulations in front of us, not the least of which is appointing an MD who can nurture a bunch of players of very different ages and abilities back to a point where we can again contemplate contesting. Doubtless there are bands out there in tMP land who have been here already, any advice gratefully received.
  2. grausue

    grausue Member

    Hurrah for Audley! What a fantastic post. and how refreshing to read the obvious optimism and enjoyment you are now finding in your banding. :clap:
  3. ROB C

    ROB C New Member

    good luck with the rebuild,
  4. Whole hearted agreement

    Couldn't agree more Bobo. It was a super rehearsal and evreyone enjoyed it. It was a joy to be a part of it, and it sounded good!

    The future hasn't looked this bright for some time, despite the prospect of not contesting for a while!

    Let's hope we can find an MD who feels the same way. Onward and upward!!
  5. richard9

    richard9 New Member

    Good luck
    I hope it works out and I am sure there is a conductor out there that wants t build a band from scratch ( as it were):clap::clap::clap:
  6. choirmaster

    choirmaster Member

    Hi Bob
    Best of luck with the rebuild and am sure it'll work for you. You seem to have a positive nucleus and know from experience that anything can happen when you've got that. Won't say much more than that here but looking forward to seeing you down south very soon and maybe chew the fat then perhaps.
  7. BIG Paul

    BIG Paul Member

    Well done on such a positive attitude. Denton went through a similar experience. Many years ago when I first got involved through my son playing, the band suddenly lost all principal players, conductor and band secretary, leaving us with about 8 new starters, a committee who had no experience, no MD and very few instruments.

    Due to hard work and enjoyable rehearsals over a number of years we built ourselves up and are where we are today.

    Good luck to you from ALL at Denton
  8. bignige

    bignige Member

    Good luck to you all at Audley. With patience and determination you can pull through and get back to where you were.

    It is not all that long ago that Verwood were struggling with players and trying to get a new MD. We went a year without a regular MD but luckily were able to call in help from local conductors who were willing to help us out. We survived this with loyal players and eventually a conductor put his faith in us and we all responded to the challenge. We hadn't contested for two years but within two years we won four contests on the trot including the Areas and were in the top six at the Finals.

    The band has since gone on from strength to strength and though our MDs have since changed we have just had our third final in 4 years and been promoted to the 2nd section. Contesting isn't everything and we also attract sellout crowds to our concerts.

    So keep on blowing, keep your faith and better days will return. When they do they are sweeter because you know what is was like!

    Remember us to the band - James enjoyed his time with you and was sad to leave when uni finished. You were all so friendly and your good spirits will keeping you going.

    Last edited: Oct 14, 2008
  9. Thanks Nigel. Congratulations on your recent success at tha Nationals.
    It is heartening to have so many messages of support. Please give best wishes from all of us at Audley to James and the rest of the family! :clap:

  10. sandy

    sandy New Member

    Hi Bob
    Good Luck with the rebuild and if you ever need any deps i have loads of contact
    numbers that you can try
    Silk Brass
  11. Ellie Mae

    Ellie Mae New Member

    Change of MD will also change the vibe


    We recently went through an MD change and spent several months trialling new MDs. What we found was that people suddenly took ownership of their music and affilliate ensembles started to immerge. People's ideas began to galvanise and it was like starting on a whole new journey.

    I wish you all there the best of luck.

    Ellie Mae:p
  12. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    Well done on such a positive post! :clap:

    I joined Emley just as they had merged with another band and from there, we've since separated again and Emley have slowly built themselves up to be a good 3rd section band, with only 1 empty seat at this stage, 3 full time percussionists and a really good atmosphere in the band room (not to mention a few good looking trophies to show off now.)

    The best thing for you to build back up is a positive and friendly band room. If you have that you're already on the upward climb.

    Best of luck with your re-building, I wish you all the best. With an attitude like you seem to have the band deserves it.
  13. Beesa

    Beesa Member

    Its great to contest but contesting isn't everything.

    Contesting isn't everything. Oh, I already said that.

    Best of luck. Building up a decent band is hard work and I'm sure there'll be struggles to come but the challenge is well worth.

    Best of luck to you all.
  14. BoBo

    BoBo Member

    A quick update on how we are getting on.................

    The merged bands have done their first job together, Remembrance Day parade and church service, most appropriate for our renewed focus as a community band and for the first timers a baptism of marching and standing around in the cold, strange hobby that we have! The enthusiasm and turnout of the ex training band members (and I am not just talking about the children here) was an example to all of us in the main band, it made the event all the more moving.

    I can announce also that we had the first rehearsal with our new MD, Colin Hartley, on Sunday. Did I say we wouldn't be contesting for a year or two in my first post? I may retract that soon, we had a challenging practice, the toughest that any of us can remember, but again we enjoyed it and went home buzzing. I have an idea that Wednesday will see all the players in their seats eager to play at 7:30 sharp (now that really would be a first!!!).

    Thanks for the messages of support, I will keep you posted.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  15. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    Reminds us why we all do it - brilliant thread and posts, continued good luck to you guys.
  16. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    nice work BoBo - we've had two big incidents like this at Foss (and that's in the past three years :S:S:S) and we decided to keep it going and I think it's fantastic you've stuck it out and are on the up again.

    fab work :)

    AEHOWGATE Member

    We have just amalgamated the juniors with the seniors at Chapel en le Frith, it too has worked better than I could have dreamed of. The asmosphere is great and the band feel so much more solid. I'm now looking forward to a dep free 2009! Junior bands are your insurance policy for the future!! All i need to do now is start a new beginner band. Mini March here I come!
  18. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    Sounds great - well done Audley Brass!
  19. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    Great news. Hope the momentum continues. :clap:
  20. BoBo

    BoBo Member

    The baton came down at 7:27, no latecomers, nothing had been said, it just happened.

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