what really is a ringer...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by sparkling_quavers, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    With a previous threads talking about the ethics of using deps for contests, it has got me thinking! You hear many complaints of "they brought in player X, who is a championship player". What really is a 'championship' player? If we are talking of a standard of performance then it has nothing to do with which band the player has previously been registered with. You could have a very good player who has been signed with a lower section band. Are they a ringer? If we are talking about anyone who has ever played in a championship sc band in their banding career, then half the players in many lower section bands are all ringers! If a player moved from a championship section to a 3rd section band and then to a 2nd section band, are they no longer a ringer as they have come from a lower section band? They could have just come straight from the championship to the 2nd sc band! With player movements being so common, both between bands and up and down the sections, I don't have problems with a lower section signing players from a higher section band to contest. The only problem I see if players being asked to step down for contests if a better player is avaliable, particularly if this is a short-term fix.

    What really is a ringer? I would say it is someone who is a better standard than the others within the band that are in a similar seat, but who is not staying with the band after the contest. For example, is someone is brought in to dep/signs for the band for the contest on solo trom and they are a similar standard to the other soloists that is fine, no matter who they have been previously registered with. If someone comes in for the day that is signiicantly better than the other players, no matter what band they are from, that is unfair in my opinion.
  2. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Personally I think this comes down to a lot of jealousy ie "they signed him - why didn't we know he was available?"

    I'm not sure there are such things as ringers TBH. Until recently we had a very good principal cornet player who is now playing for a top 20 band - was he a ringer while he was with us? Also a solo horn who is now at Brighouse - ditto? Players move around up and down the sections as their circumstances change - so if a band manage to land a great former top section player then well done to them - even if that player only helps them out for one contest. I've said before, one player doesn't make a winning performance.

    The only time I ever get slightly worried about this is when I hear of top, top bands flying in players from abroad to play at the most prestigious contests. There are two worries for me here: 1. that it seem wrong that a player registered abroad is totally exempt from our own quite strict registration policies. 2. That what the "top" bands do eventually bleeds down to the lower sections. I know an instance of a lower section sponsored band getting foreign players in for contests - how is that fair to their non-sponsored competitors? (I guess this is also true of the top section). IMHO this practice needs to be stopped before things get really silly.
  3. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Isn't there a theory that 'ringers' are players 'bought' by bands to gain unfair advantage in competition? The term seems to be from older generations of banders, when registration was virtually non-existent and the situation could easily be exploited!
  4. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Possibly, but these days I doubt there is that much money kicking around bands.

    I still stand by what I said before - you might have a great solo trombone for instance, but if the rest of the band is pants then they 'aint gonna win!
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I totally agree with that. Presently, there are many good players who are not attached (committed) to bands, because of work committments and family, who may sign for a local or former band to help out if available!
  6. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    To me a ringer is someone who doesn't play for the band full time, and is better than the general standard of the band they are helping out.
  7. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Ringer, in the US, is a term used a lot in sports. You would bring in a top player for one game to gain an edge. Now, say a basketball team with 5 players that can make quite a difference. A football team with 11, a difference, but less so.

    In a 31-33 piece band? Even less so. But I agree with sparkling_quavers that players from abroad should have to comply with the same rules.

    Now where it might make a bigger difference is in percussion. If a test piece, for example, requires and extremely good percussion keyboard player, bringing one in could make quite the difference.

    But why should the rules be different for players abroad?

    Now if you look at the Bandman's/WOB rankings, you would think that no one could play outside the UK. ;)

  8. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    Hiya Rach!!!!!

    I think a ringer would be a player who has been bought in especially for a contest from a mid-high champ section band.
  9. bertiebass

    bertiebass New Member

    And also for a high profile contest, where the band are trying to prove they are something they are not. You can spot them a mile off
  10. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    Not necessarily! Holmfirth contest usually has quite a few hanging round! I think most bands who do that contest are guilty of that!
  11. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    OK, this Yankee does not quite get this. I understand if rules do not apply evenly to overseas players - there is a potential problem. But don't the rules prohibit someone from being a ringer if they are already attached or registered with another band?

    I thought most "ringers" were brought in to record CDs so the band would sound better recorded. Believe me, I have heard some CDs that they should have brought in 5 or 10 ringers!

  12. bertiebass

    bertiebass New Member

    I meant to say concert not contest!!
  13. JR

    JR Member


    Definition of a ringer? - easy - see "New Zealand National Championships 2005"

    Time for the first football analogy of the day:

    A Championship side, let's say West Brom, gets to the FA Cup final.
    They drop their 2 strikers to borrow Rooney and Ronaldo at great expense
    And they win

    But it's not allowed in football is it?

    It shouldnt be allowed in banding either - we have safeguards - it's called "registration" (for what it's worth these days...)

  14. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    ah right! Yes then.
  15. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    So explain to this Yankee, what the overseas "loophole" is. And I have no idea what happened at the New Zealand Championships in 2005.

    I know our registration rules in the US are close to what the UK does. But we really only have two major contests a year. North American Brass Band Association Championships (NABBA) which has four divisions and the U.S. Open -- more of an "invitational."

  16. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    I think that sometimes we give status to people who have no status. The question is what is a championship player as opposed to any other player? I think the answer is fairly simple and that is no difference except the experience he or she has obtained. I have played with players who hold regular championship section seats who shouldn't, just as I have played with players from lower section bands who would quite easily hold their own in a championship section band. So what is the difference? Players in championship bands experience a constant drumming of good practice, expectations on them are much higher, they are forced to practice more, there is more insistance on taking notice of dynamics and the extent of dynamics, more attention to detail on the technical aspects of playing and so they appear to be better players. If lower section players were to be exposed to the rigours of championship life then they too would become better players.

    As to ringers well, I think it depends on the attitude of the band using them. If the ringer is a good one and can teach the attitudes learned from playing in a top band to the rest of the band all well and good if they are just brought in to gain a couple of extra points then the band that uses them are not doing themselves any favours except weighing down the trophy cabinet and usually emptying the bank balance.
  17. JR

    JR Member

    There is no European or worldwide registry unlike football (soccer)
    Perhaps we should have one (can of worms)

    Anyway - we're about music not sport are we not?
  18. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    I think there's a very fine line between ringer and guest. All bands fill their empty seats with the best players possible. No Worries. Band that move players around to bring in stronger ones who are only doing the contest, those are ringers, usually (but not always) there for some cash!!

    Malton contest is under the Y&H rules, you can borrow 4 players from any section "in the spirit". So in the B section (bands from 3&4) you always see a smatering of top section players helping out although they are usually only filling empty seats it certainly helps when they are filled by Grimey/Imps/B&R boys etc etc Still having said all that, the bands with their own team usually win!

    So to sum up after all that waffle for me a ringer is a short term player who is being paid whilst taking some else's seat!
  19. Keith Stanley James Lever

    Keith Stanley James Lever Supporting Member

    Didn't we have a similar discussion to this in September 2005 under the thread 'The Spirit Of Contesting'
  20. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    The other side of the coin is that for one-off occasions, many bands have to borrow a player/players from other bands/countries for contests in order to survive. There is often a complete shortage of suitable people to step in and join the band given an illness/sudden departure/unforseen circumstances, and the band will have to look elsewhere to provide temporary cover or have to retire from the contest.

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