tMP Contribution to Banding Award 2005
As you are probably aware, we have recently been running our annual awards here on tMP. Earlier tonight, the winners of Awards #1 to #19 were announced, but we left one special award out of this announcement. This year we introduced a very special award - 'The tMP Special Award - for services to the movement' - which is to be awarded by the tMP Team to whoever we feel deserves it.
When we started to think of names for possible recipients of this award, and of course many names have cropped up, the one name we all felt deserved to be the very first recipient of the award is someone who has given so much to the movement in the last three years - someone who has given, at considerable cost to himself, the opportunity for banders from all walks of life, with any level of experience, the chance to voice their opinions about today's banding scene.
Of course, you may feel we, as a team, are being a bunch of creeps here - but we truly feel that the first winner of this award simply has to be TheMusicMan - John Burns, and we are sure that you'll agree with us. John has been kept well and truly in the dark over this, so we are hoping that this is a huge surprise to you, John! However, some of you already know that we’ve selected John as the winner – more of this a little later!
It is now three years since John noticed a niche in the market for an online meeting place for brass players from all walks of life – regardless of age, ambition or playing experience. John was determined to provide the platform for everyone to air their views. Since its origin, tMP is now widely recognised as providing the voice of the true brass bander.
What we have today at tMP is completely unique in the brass banding circles – we’ve had various other forums in the past, but none have lasted as long and been as successful as tMP has. We believe that tMP is not only an extremely friendly community – but that it is much more than a web site these days – it is a way of life – something reinforced by the recent activities of the tMP Band in raising funds for Children in Need, Hadleigh Youth and Brass Band Aid. All of these success stories are down to a combination of factors – but there is one thing, one man, which has remained constant since the beginning – that man being John, of course.
I think it’s fair to say that tMP has left John somewhat out of pocket these last few years – of course some funds are received through the considerable goodwill of our sponsors and supporters. However, we as a team felt it was the right time to attempt to honour John’s contribution by giving him something, albeit a small gesture, in return.
And so, a massive cloak-and-dagger operation was put into place!
How do we collect the necessary funds for a prize – without John finding out? Naturally, John being the site-owner and administrator, has an all-seeing eye! All-seeing – apart from tMP’s Private Messaging system that is! So, the team – excluding John of course, came together and a completely different discussion site was created – totally independent of tMP – where all our discussions and planning took place – away from the prying eyes of Mr. Burns! Once we decided on what the prize was going to be, we selected a number of tMPers to approach to ask for a minimal donation. This selection was done in a totally unbiased way – we simply reeled off a list of names that first came to mind – so if you feel offended in any way that you weren’t approached, please accept our sincere apologies, and if you also feel like you would have liked to have contributed – you can still do so by contributing towards the running costs of tMP – I am sure John would agree that this will mean as much, if not more, than contributing towards this prize.
The response we received to these PMs was staggering – so a huge thanks you to everyone who replied – we, and we are certain that John will be too, are extremely grateful for your continued support of tMP.
Of course, we had to let these select few know who the recipient was – and we also thank you for managing to keep this a secret for so long – it hasn’t been easy I tell you – personally I nearly let slip once or twice to the man himself - but it seems like we’ve managed to keep it from him – until now!
We did decide though, that we wouldn’t divulge what the prize was – simply because we though it’d add that small element of surprise to everyone, seeing as we’d spoilt the surprise of who the first recipient of this special award was going to be!
So, on to the actual prize itself! What exactly do you get a man who has everything? We certainly had no idea until Dinie came up with the perfect solution!
Apart from his family – what else does John love more than anything? Yup – tMP, of course! And no, we haven’t bought him tMP – he already has that! We wanted to buy him a constant reminder of the site – something he’d see every day – when driving to and from work, to and from the shops – everywhere he went he’d be reminded of tMP. John has mentioned once or twice in private conversations that he was looking at purchasing a private registration number for himself – so we set about looking at the options available.
So, as of last week, John Burns is now the proud owner of J13 TMP. John we know you’ve wanted something like this for a long time – your wife told us – oh yes, sorry, we forgot to say, she’s been in on the secret too! So, until we get the chance to make up the plates for you, you’ll have to make do with a mock-up, but even so, this is now yours:
To close then, and to thank you for everything you’ve done for the banding scene John, here is a brief selection of quotes from tMPers (@everyone: feel free to reply to this thread with your own messages of congratulations and thanks).
"An award so well deserved by a man who has pledged so much of his current time and energy into creating a platform for the voices so often ignored. Well done John and thanks for all your work." Tabby Clegg, TMP News Editor.John – from the whole team – and on behalf of every single tMPer – thanks a lot mate – and long may the success of tMP continue.
"Many congratulations on your award. You've done and are doing a brilliant job. Many thanks for all your hard work and I hope you're able to continue long into the future." bagpuss
"John - he's a decent chap who had a great idea and in the process has contributed to the trials and tribulations of my life over the last few years in one way or another. Without his genius idea I would spend much more time working and much less time sat in front of a computer, but I'd know half the number of great people that I now know (feel free to get your tissues at this point)! Cheers John - keep coming up with genius plans like this and you'll become a millionaire soon and then can share it will all of your little baby tmperers!" Big Twigge
"Many, many thanks John for all that you have done and continue to do for tMP. My life is all the richer because of it." Brian Kelly
"I'd like to thank John particularly for inspiring me to take up banding again. I hadn't played for 10 years when Jessop-Smythe pointed me in the direction of "this fantastic new web forum" and I'd missed it for every one of those 10 years. Now, having bumped off the rest of the section I'm playing solo horn, have contested for the last two years and made loads of new friends. I think John may well have quite literally proved to be a life-saver. Thanks John." bigmamabadger
"*Winston Churchill mode* Never, in the field of human banding, has so much been owed by so many to one man */Winston Churchill mode*" PeterBale
"tMP has brought banding into the 21st Century. It's a great platform for bands to say 'Here we are, like us or hate us, we just want people to hear the bands and don't judge us" nickjbeaumarisband
"John, thank you very much for creating this wonderfull website, enabling brass band enthousiasts from all four corners of the world to meet each other. At least partly thanks to you, the world of brass bands is now turning into a global family, from Europe to the U.S. and Australia, and from the very top bands down to the lowest sections. Personally, I've met a lot of wonderfull people thanks to tMP, both online and in real life, and I'm looking forward to meeting many more in the future!" jan_h
"Thanks John for Tmp, long may it last and pleae don't tire of it!!" Cornishwomble
"John - what can I say? The banding world is a much better place for having tMP in it - the amount of people who have benefitted is staggering - charities, bands, individuals, and so on - and it's all down to your little brainwave! Enjoy your well-deserved award and prize, and apologies for going behind your back on this one! Diolch yn fawr." dyl
"I'm pleased to be associated with this special award to TheMusicMan as the forum he created has done so much to bring banding enthusiasts around the world together." Brian Bowen
"Thanks John for your marvellous work and insight. For joing hands across the world and for introducing life-long friendships. Thanks. " Alex Kerwin
"If it wasn't for you John, starting up tMP, I would never have been able to play with one of the first tMP Bands at Children In Need in Birmingham on that cold, foggy windy day back in November 2003. What a fantastic day....thank you! I would also probably not have had the invitation to join the Emley, which means I wouldn't have had the pleasure of meeting so many great people. And 2ndmandown! So thank you for tMP John, you really do deserve this award. I'm truly an addict of this wonderful forum. (Just not as addicted as some!)" manx_yessir
"Well John, did you ever imagine from that little idea you had that tMP would grow and achieve so much? tMP has had a huge impact on me. I’ve made a whole host of wonderful new friends. I've been to tMP events and enjoyed every single fun packed minute of each of them. And now I’m a Supermod and I love be part of this fantastic team, it has opened up a whole new approach to tMP for me. For all this I'd like to thank you very much and congratulate you on a much deserved award. " Di x
"I hope that John is completely taken by surprise!" brassneck
"Hey John, thank you so much for providing this superb website. There is no avoiding the fact that the Mouthepiece.com has been a major factor in making the brass band world a more close-knit, friendlier community, helping to forge friendships and relationships between players and bands that otherwise would never have happened. When I registered my band was less than half the band it is today, and mostly thanks to the recruitment we've been able to do on the Mouthpiece we now have a full band and are really hopeful of a bright and upwardly mobile future." 2nd man down
"John, You are a star. What you have done for the brass band movement is amazing,you have enabled so many people to come together and share their experiences, Your also such a nice guy and make everyone feel so welcome. Thankyou for everything" lausonbass
"John, tMP has given every bander, regardless of age, experience or ability, a public voice to speak about their hobby, much to the movements benefit. For that alone you deserve this award. For the constant drive, dedication, and determination to make tMP work you deserve a whole lot more. It’s a pleasure to work with someone so passionate about tMP and long may it continue. The continuing success of theMouthPiece.com is down to you and your ability to do the right thing. Well done mate, this is thoroughly deserved." WoodenFlugel
"Hello John and congratulations on the the award. I cannot think of anyone better to receive it. Your contribution to Brass Banding and music generally has been nothing short of outstanding. It is very easy to critisise people for there efforts and endeavors however, I would say that your initiative is one of those projects that just does not come close to that category, indeed the wide ranging concept of tmp is as no other, embracing every bander no matter where they come from or, importantly, who they play for. Well done on this amazing and worthwhile achievement, you are making a positive impact on the Brass Band world. Please dont retire just yet, Im sure we will need your support and that of the other tmp's in the future. Many thanks, from all at Brass Band Aid"
"Words cannot express how much tmp has done for myself & lots of others. The time & effort you put in to this "hobby" is unbelievable. We can never say THANK YOU enough." Hornikaz
"Hi John, just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for the effort and innovation (that the right word!) you put into tMP every day! It's allowed us all to meet new friends, discuss endless things, and help with our problems (whatever they may be!). Long may tMP continue to be a wealth of knowledge, and so much fun to chat on, and i'm sure we'll all chip in and support you all the way! Best wishes." Seedhouse
"Dear John, When I heard what people wanted to do to you this year, I wanted to leap to your defense, but found I was completely unable to do so. You are totally guilty as charged. For making my life so much better and giving me something to look forward to I just want to say thanks and I thought this was the best way of doing so." Mike Lyons
"Without John I wouldn't have opened my eyes to the general wider world of banding and even though where I am based now means I'm somewhat out of touch with the banding scene in general, it's always a pleasure to contribute to this forum to the best of my ability. I wish John and indeed the rest of the tMP team a somewhat early Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous tMP filled 2006 and would like to make my appreciation known of what John Burns has done for the brass community as a whole. The guy's a diamond geezer (as they would say where I was born!" Dave Payn
"I have participated in many forums on many subjects, and I can state positively that this forum is the most well-moderated and active one that I've ever been involved in. As a person who is separated from the main brass band world, participating in discussions on this forum has helped me become re-energized about playing and music in general. John should be commended not only for the idea and implementation of the forum, but for keeping it free, keeping it fair, and keeping it going for three years, which is a very long time in the volatile world of the Internet." BrassCrest
"I'd just like to thank John for all the hard work that he puts in on a daily basis for tMP. Cheers." Gaz Wynne
"When I began publishing my brass band music in January 2004, I asked John about advertising on tMP. He created an excellent banner for me, and the next day I received my first order." Tim Paton
"nice thought of you all to give something back to John, hes been Fantastic. its been a pleasure to know him in the short time that i have. hes always there to help when you need him, and without him i deffinately wouldnt be playng were i am today, and had the opertunities i have over the last 3 years. nice one folks." super_sop
Merry Christmas and a Happy and Successful 2006!