Unusual seating arrangements

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by stevetrom, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    Many years ago I played in the SA band in Rugby and the Bandmaster at the time (Eddie Dytham, anyone remember him ?) has the band in the following seating setup :-


    Bass Baritone Horn Cornet Cornet

    Bass Baritone Horn Cornet Cornet Trom

    Bass Baritone Horn Cornet Cornet Trom

    Bass Baritone Horn Cornet Cornet Trom


    I think the idea was to get all the vertical instrumenst facing out.

    Anyone elsed played in an unusal formation ?
  2. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    In the late 70s, the National Capital Band used the following setup (yes, we really did have two flugels :), also, note that we are an SA band, so the part names are those from the SP&S Festival Series). It's not entirely odd, but the placement of the flugels and horns always seemed weird to me.

    (Sorry about all the dots - this editor apparently collapses multiple spaces, and I couldn't figure out anything that would work as a hard space)

    Trom .... Flugel .................... Solo Cor .... Sop
    Trom .... Flugel .................... Solo Cor .... 1st Cor
    Trom .... 2nd Hrn ................... Solo Cor .... 1st Cor
    Trom .... 2nd Hrn ................... Solo Cor .... 2nd Cor
    ................. 1st Hrn .. 1st Hrn .. Solo Hrn
    B Trom ...... Euph .. Euph .. 1st Bar .. 1st Bar .. 2nd Bar
    ................. Eb Bass .. Eb Bass .. Bb Bass .. Bb Bass

    (Percussion wherever they could find the space - we had a small rehearsal room :) )

    I've also played in groups where the "front row" cornets are seated behind the "back row", usually on a riser. This is supposed to give the back row confidence or let them hear what the front row is doing, or something like that.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2004
  3. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly Active Member

    I have seen quite a few of the larger SA bands sit that way, though with only 1 flugel and with the horns reversed, so that the solo horn / horns are in front of the trombones. Manchester Citadel (now Sale) used to sit that way in the 1980's under Colin Wilson, and Kettering Citadel had the same arrangement the last time I saw them in 2002.

    Grimethorpe have also sat this way for a long time now.

    For a time in the mid- 1980's, Bolton Citadel SA band sat in the normal formation, but with the horns in front of the trombones and the euphoniums and baritones facing the conductor in front of the basses. My current band, Flixton (not a SA band) had the same seating arrangement when I joined them in November 2003, but have since reverted to the traditional seating plan.

    Probably the strangest seating plan which I have heard about was Pasadena Tabernacle SA band, who, while on a tour of Australia in the 1970's, sat in a V-formation, opening out towards the audience, wth the percussion at the point of the V, with the basses, euphoniums and baritones on the conductors left, going up on risors, and the cornets and trombones on the conductor's right, again going up on risors. Apparently it gave a very different sound to the more usual seating plans.
  4. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Currently experimenting with different setups as we tend to be a fairly unbalanced band most times. Using the traditional horseshoew shape:

    front Rows - Soprano, solo cornets (conductor's left)
    Tenor Horns (in front of MD)
    Rep, sencond and third cornets (Md's right, with rep at foremost)

    2nd Row - Basses on MD left (Eb then Bb)
    Euphs/baris (VERY strong section most nights)
    Troms as per usual on MD right

    Before this arrangement, I trialed (still in horseshoe)

    Front Row - Euphs/bari (MD left)
    Rep 2nd 3rd cornet (MD centre)
    Flugel (near cornets) and horns (MD right)

    2nd Row - Basses (as per above initally, but a Bb bass player chucked a spaz abvout room to put his bass down adn took it upon himself to move the band)
    Sop and solos
    Trombones still in ol' faithful

    Finally, when I first joined the senior band we had (and yes still horseshoe!)
    Front Row - Sop, 2nd 3rd (MD left)
    Horns THEN flugel (MD centre, with flugel on rhs)
    Trombones (MD rhs)
    2nd Row - Solo reps (MD lhs)
    Euphs and bari
    Basses (Md RHS)

    I quite liked the last arrangement, but it would probably only work now if I had a very strong cornet section......
  5. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I remember seeing Hollywood Tabernacle as they were called then, in concert at Massey Hall in Toronto in the same 'V' formation. Ron Smart was the Bandmaster and one of the pieces played was by Emil Soderstrom and featured a section in which half the band was playing in 3/4 and the other half in 4/4 - Smart described it as sounding like "A German band gone wrong!". The obvious intent of this formation is to have all the bells facing out to the audience.

    CWS (Manchester) released an LP titled "Journey Into Freedom" in which they changed the seating to, as I recall, two straight lines facing the mikes. They probably never used that formation in concert though. There was a picture on the cover showing the formation; anyone still having that LP might look at the picture and correct me if I'm wrong about the line-up.
  6. JR

    JR Member

    All the top bands except grimethorpe use the same formation these days. When I first started playing (late 60s) I remember my father telling me bands had a "contest" formation with euphs and barits in front of the basses, hns in front of them, and a "concert" formation with the euph/bari line in front of the troms. Most bands seemed to adhere to this - I believe Dyke won the national on Journey into Freedom with the old "contest" set-up.
    I don't know why this went out of fashion - it makes a lot of sense to have the euphs nearer the basses
    I think it was Elgar Howarth who introduced Grimey to their formation for the Granada contest in 1972 - I can't remember them using this set-up under George Thompson - it's interesting though that many other bands have copied their way over the years - it can be very effective particularly at entertainment contests where the flugel is featured alot
    It is only fairly recently that the flugel now almost universally sits with the horns though I can't understand why some sit between the 4th man and 2nd horn!

    john roberts
  7. Deano

    Deano Member

    When I was playing for Tongwynlais in the late 80's/early 90's we had a french horn player as MD. He decided that he didn't like the traditional set up so changed the band around so that it was in 2 semi circles.
    The inner circle started with the Sop on the conductors left, the solo cornets, rep, flugel 2nd & 3rds ending on the conductors right.
    The outer circle started, again on the conductors left with the solo horn followed by 1st & 2nd horns, 1st bari, 2nd bari BBb basses EEb basses, Euphs, Bass trom 2nd trom ending with 1st trom on the conductors right. percussion behind the basses.
  8. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Having the flugel seperated from the solo cornets makes a lot of sense to me particularly if there are answering phrases, whether the flugel is right at the front of the band or at the opposite end of a straight row of horns. I can't understand why some SA bands still persist with the flugel next to the sop - presumably a spin-off from when flugel and 1st cornet shared a part, but seemingly quite illogical nowadays.
  9. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I can remember playing "New World Symphony" at pontins a few years ago and we had a similar set-up to one of the above posts....

    solo Trom...flugel.......................soprano
    2nd trom .....rep ......................solo cornet..solo horn
    bass trom .....2nd cornet .........solo cornet..1st horn
    .....................2nd cornet........solo cornet 2nd horn
    .........................3rd cornet..3rd cornet
    ...........................euph euph bari bari
    .............BBb bass..BBb bass....EEb bass..EEb bass

    Can't remember why we did it now - have a vague recollection it was something to do with the cornet parts at the end of the piece. We did switch the basses over to (unusually for me it's not a typo) but I have no idea why.

    it didn't do us any good though I think we came 12th or something....

Share This Page