Using deputies for contests

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by Al, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. Al

    Al Member

    This subject has probably been discussed many times before but anyway:

    Our band has started the long haul rehearsal programme up to March for the Areas. Our MD wants to bring in a couple of players from a higher section to boost the band. It seems that the players will only be appearing for the last week before the contest.

    This makes me wonder is it really worth it. We have players available but admittedly not of the same standard yet, although at least they are there with us through thick and thin.

    Personally, I prefer that the band that is to be tested is The Band, the one that plays throughout the year. I can't see the point of (hopefully) doing well in our section when in fact that isn't a true reflection of our ability.

    So for that once a year chance to prove ourselves, do we pull out all the stops and beg, steal or borrow other players or are we just kidding ourselves?

    I think the tone of my post gives my opinion but I would like to hear what others think.


  2. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    I would be hacked off if this was the case, but you don't say if your band is in danger of relegation and are in need of a decent result to stay up?

    And before any one else points it out, yes I will be deping for a band for the areas and only attending rehearsals two weeks before the contest, but only because they are short of players and my wife wouldn't be happy with me attending three rehearsals a week for longer than that.
  3. a very flat b

    a very flat b Member

    Has anyone told your MD that your not happy with this?

    Also, if these players are from higher section band why are they seemingly not required for areas by their higher section band?

    Plus these players have to transfer or register for your band and then cannot transfer back to their original band.
  4. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Using players that would normally play for a higher standard of band because you have a vacancy is one thing, and can be very good for the band as players will generally try emulate what the better player is doing.

    Dropping regular players for the contest is quite another. If I was one of those players, I'd be off elsewhere.
  5. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Seems foolish to me. Let's say you get a great result and qualify for the finals; what then? Or if you get promoted? Presumably the "borrowed" (actually, temporarily transferred) players will have long since departed, leaving you with a band which may struggle. What's the point? Plus, how do the players who've been "dumped" in favour of the new players feel about it? Even if these are really top quality players, parachuting them in for a few rehearsals before the area isn't going to improve the standard of the band, IMO. It might make a few crucial parts more secure, but the things that lower section bands struggle with like intonation, quality of sound, overblowing, etc., (and bands that master these are usually the one in the prizes in the lower echelons) aren't going to be remedied simply in a week.
  6. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Are they being brought in to fill empty chairs? If so, fair enough - it makes sense to get the best deps possible. BUT, if they're just being brought in to improve the band's chances, and regular subs-paying-turn-up-twice-a-week members are being dropped, then that's a big no no imho and if a band I was in started doing that, I'd probably leave (whether or not it affected me personally)

    I strongly believe a band should do the best it can with the players its got. If that means you don't always get the best result or go down a section, so be it - at least its an honest reflection of the standard of the band
  7. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    As an MD you are always trying to get the right balance between progression and happiness. It is a difficult thing to acheive, however I would say that I would always try to involve current players before resorting to "deps" there is much more satisfaction to be gained that way.
  8. tpcornet12

    tpcornet12 Member

    Do you have a committee, if so has this been discussed? I'd be surprised if you were the only one feeling this way. I, for one would not be happy if regular members were the ones that missed out.

    However, are the people that are going to miss out fully fledged members? We often have players come and sit in on rehearsals that we wouldn't necessarily use at a contest. They come for experience but maybe not quite up to the standard to go to the areas. I would hope that expectations are managed effectively but I could see how your situation could develop with an arrangement like ours.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2008
  9. Al

    Al Member

    Thanks for the replies.

    I realise that this depends on any particular band's situation, so it is all a bit subjective.

    In our case though it seems to me that because it is the oh so important Areas then people's feelings aren't considered anymore - only what is 'for the good of the band', and that seems to be measured only in our standing in the Sections.

    And even accepting that I actually believe we will do better with the less experienced players:

    The above sums it up for me.

    All the other remarks make sense too.

    I would like to use the Areas to raise the standard of the band so that we can improve and enjoy our playing for the rest of the year. I feel quite strongly about this and if it comes to the committee then I'd like to be able to get my point over.

    Anyway - cheers.
  10. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    Maybe the time has come for you to move on...if you feel that strongly about it!!
  11. JimboFB

    JimboFB Active Member

    Although the area is arguably the most important contest of the year, this isn't the only way of raising the standard of the band. By doing really good gigs and rehearsals you can achieve this.

    In my mind its more important to have the right characters and people in the band than the best players. You could have great players who you dont get on with and not generally interested in the future of the band. This can potentially cause unrest in the bandroom and make it an unhappy place to be. This is even more important in the weeks leading up to a big contest like the areas!

    That said, if these players are in it for the long term, the band needs to make a decision that if they all want what is best for the band in respect of improving then some players may have to accept that at a certain time they may have to step aside for better players.
  12. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    If I'd had a quid every time I heard someone say that..... Using ringers to get a better contest result is a great idea on paper, but soooo short sighted, and I've seen it go horribly wrong before.

    First you bring in 'better' players for 3 or 4 weeks a year to get through the 'important' contests. Its great in the short term, the band gets better results and maybe goes up a section, BUT the deps don't stick around, and some of the regulars who didn't get to do the contest begin to get hacked off with putting in the rehearsals and turning up at all the gigs that earn the money to pay for the deps and contest entries.... if it happens more than once they'll start voting with their feet and leave.

    More vacancies = tougher rehearsals week on week = more p*ssed off players and a frustrated conductor. Maybe a few more people will start to leave. You also start needing more deps and spending more money just to field a full band at the gigs which you need to earn to the money to pay for the contests. Worse case scenario is the band runs out of money so they can't continue paying a decent conductor and/or deps, and start doing badly at contests. Then more people leave and sooner or later the band will either fold or spend a few years limping along with a core of 12 players, unable to contest......

    Which part of all that is "for the good of the band"? :-?
  13. brassed_off

    brassed_off Member

    Here here. You should use what you have, that is the true messure of the band. Why put on a false face if it might risk you using those highly valued players who stick with you through thick and thin??
  14. a very flat b

    a very flat b Member

    I can't see this doing any good for the band! It sounds like the MD's ego that being pumped up.
  15. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    I think bands should not borrow players for the areas as its turning the contest into a competition in who can borrow/sign the best unattached players. It gives a false impression of who the band really has playing for it especiall if the players are only playing at the areas, fair enough bands want to go and will do their best not to withdraw, but what would happen if the band then qualified for the nationals but were left with barely any players after areas?! Surely they should try and rebuild the band and look at the cause of their lack of players and change that before jumping in 'at the deep end' afterall people dont avoid bands for no reason....

  16. sudcornet

    sudcornet Member

    Sounds to me like you have a fairly new MD (to your band)...guessing he/she's a former top section player.

    It does sound like they are more interested in the area result (and their own kudos) than the motivation and morale of the current regular players. It is entirely possible that, a few months down the line, after hacking off the stalwarts until some leave the band...the MD moves on...and you're left with a depleted, de-moralised band. ( Unfortunately, I've seen just that happen.)

    I'm currently preparing a 4th Section band for the areas. We have a couple of empty seats which we are hoping to fill, but will not be filling them with ringers. Although I'm not the band's resident conductor, I'm trying to look long term and hopefully improve the band's quality whilst retaining the players and attaining a high level of morale and motivation. (Whatever the area result - if the band play their best, and, most of all - enjoy the process; I'll feel I've achieved something.)

    ...and yes...I'm a new MD to the band....and a former top section player.

  17. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    If you have empty seats and they need filling then a dep is better than nothing at all!!! What about thanking these players that try to assist lower section bands at the areas? They are more than likely just responding to requests from friends who need help. A lot of these so called "ringers" cant manage the commitment of top level playing for various reasons but will help out when and where they can. Dont get me wrong, no-one should stand regular players down to field a ringer but turning down short term help when it's needed would be barmy!
    As for looking at the causes of people not wanting to join and remedying it....Well, these things can take a long time to fix and deps are a stop gap measure.
    In short, if it wasn't for deps there would be a lot less bands attending the area!!
  18. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    I was actually talking about when its more than justa couple of players, whats the point in borrowing about 10 players for a contest when the problem will still be there after it?! Surely the time would be better spent resolving the problem than waiting for said deps to probably turn up the week before the contest and learn to play with the rest of the band who they may not have even met before?! Just my opinion.
  19. SuperCat

    SuperCat Member

    I think Leisa's right. If there is fundamentally a problem with the band which is why they are short of players then this should be sorted out. Borrowing players or temporarily signing players is just papering over the cracks. Perhaps there should be less bands and then there might not be as many struggling as there are now. The movement is dying, nothing is being done to try and stop that so maybe if some fold there would be less bands scratting for the same players.

    I think the point that there would be less bands attending the areas if it wasn't for deps is correct, but what is the point in that if the band is short of players for the rest of the year. The band just goes out to do concerts and all they do is manage to pay the deps/conductor. Totally pointless I think.
  20. sudcornet

    sudcornet Member

    I was under the impression that some players were being asked to step down for the contest, their places being filled by the higher level players. Hence, my point about de-motivation - perhaps I'm wrong.

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