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.