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Thread: Registration, do we need it?

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    tMP Senior Friend simonbassbone's Avatar
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    Registration, do we need it?

    Before starting I want to say that this is not in any way a criticism of The Regsitry, any local registration or anyone who does or has worked for any registry. Also, I do realise the historical reasons why a brass band registration system was needed, I do think that times have changed and the current system is an unnecessary expense and achieves very little, if anything.

    As I understand it the point of the registration system is to prevent any player playing with more than one band (at the Areas at least as many local contest allow borrowed players and other relaxations of regitration to get bands on stage). I don't believe its the registration that achieves this but the fact that brass banding is such a small pool nearly everyone taking part is known to players in other competeing bands and anyone playing for more than one band would be noticed and run the risk of all the bands they played for being disqualified, and no bands are willing to take that risk, especially at the Areas.

    Over 500 bands will take part in the Areas this year, each band paying 60 to The Registry, a total of 30,000 going from bands, most of it to a landlord for rent I guess.

    Would a simple system where each band sends the contest organiser a sheet containing the name, photo and signature of their players a week or two before the contest be simpler, cheaper and just as effective? Each player would be checked against this sheet as they go on stage. Anyone attempting to play with more than one band still has the same chance of being spotted and reported as now.

    What do you think? Is it time to ditch the Registry and do something easier to manage?
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  2. #2
    tMP Friend for Life Anno Draconis's Avatar
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    I've long thought it's an utter waste of time, especially in the lower sections. Registration rules do more to prevent 4th section bands entering contests than they do to help, especially the area.

    I can maybe, at a stretch, see the argument for registration in the top section, but nowhere else. Even then, I'm struggling to justify the benefits against the downside.

    It was needed when bands of ringers were brought in to win contests, or players were sitting in with three or four bands in the same section. It was worth bands chancing this in t'olden days because the prize money was proportionally much higher and the chances of somebody spotting you much lower. Now, the financial incentive isn't there any more - it costs most bands more than the first prize money to enter most contests in the first place, so they can't spend fortunes on pro players or "ringers". The few bands that have the level of income which would allow them to bring in a band of pros, generally don't need to. The technical demands on the players are higher - imagine someone trying to cover the solo euph seat in 2 or 3 top section bands at Blackpool on Sunday. They'd have to miss a pile of rehearsals at each band to be at the other one(s) and would have the potential of playing in 2 or 3 performances back to back if the draw went badly for them. The few players technically capable of doing this sort of thing have too much professional pride to want to do half a job for multiple bands, and as far as I know, don't need the few hundred quid that they'd get for it that badly. And even if the rules permitted it, everyone in the country would know, and be moaning about it within 24 hours because of the internet coverage.

    I can think of multiple examples where registration has caused problems, but here are a couple.

    1) Recently a player I know moved to another local band and after a few months, decided that the new band wasn't the right move and re-joined the original band. Registration rules meant that player couldn't play for their original band at two subsequent contests, and a dep had to be found and paid for despite the fact that the band had a full time member in that seat at every rehearsal and concert. Nobody was trying to cheat, or in any way "pull a fast one", but both band and player were penalised by this; the player by missing out on a couple of good contests and the band by paying for a dep they didn't need.

    2) A number of years ago a fourth section band I was conducting had to withdraw from the area because they couldn't get a full band of registered players in time. This band had a lot of regular "helpers" who were registered with other bands but would have helped out for the contest if needed (and this was how the band entered other contests like Preston). The band wouldn't have got near the prizes but without having to abide by registry rules could have at least turned up and participated.

    In neither of these cases has registration helped the cause of brass bands, and I can think of many other similar examples. I am aware of all of the arguments about how unfair it is for some bands to be fielding "other bands' players" when your particular band has a full team of its own, and I'm also aware of 4BR's badly thought out recent editorial on the subject, but I'm afraid that's a very shortsighted view and takes little account of the wider state of bands up and down the country. Our obsession with rules and fair play has led to the baby being thrown out with the bathwater, IMO, and is a luxury that modern banding can ill afford. Surely the most important thing is to ensure that our particular form of music making thrives and continues into the rest of the century in a healthy state? Surely we should be encouraging people to participate and trying to get attendance UP at contests (or at least halt the decline in attendance)? When all of our competitions are over-subscribed we will have the luxury of excluding bands without a full complement, but not before.

    The only useful purpose that the registries could serve, in my view, is to serve as a driver for National Association membership - so to compete, you have to be registered. To be registered, you have to be a member of your particular National Association.

    Just a slight tangent to finish: If it's so appalling for bands to take the stage and win a contest with a band that includes high profile deps (for example the fuss about Marsden's performance of Les Preludes at Pontins a couple of years ago) why is it OK to pay another band's conductor to come and conduct you at said contest? If Richard Marshall showed up on the end chair of a band on Sunday in Blackpool, there'd be hell to pay. But if Nick Childs was wagging said band, no-one would comment! If you're expected to take the stage with the same players that you would take to a concert, why not the same conductor? Why is one cheating, and the other not?
    Andrew Baker

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    tMP Prime Friend rutty's Avatar
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    I would tend to agree with Andy. Perhaps the cure is worse than the disease?
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    I mostly agree with the above, but surely one of the intentions of registration is to prevent a lower section band using a number of top section deps. I can't really see how this could be avoided without some form of registration, other than by self policing and it eventually becoming 'socially unacceptable'.

    However I have no issues with bands fielding as many 'same section' deps as they want, and think the requirement for all players to be registered for the Area is a self defeating anachronism.

  5. #5
    tMP Friend for Life Anno Draconis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boourns View Post
    but surely one of the intentions of registration is to prevent a lower section band using a number of top section deps.
    Maybe so, but in practical reality how likely is that? I struggle to imagine that ever happening, in all honesty. And that's not really more "unfair" than a 4th section band signing a bunch of ex-top section players for the area, and them all leaving afterwards, and yet the latter scenario would be perfectly within the rules. Had all of Sellers, or Pennine's players gone straight into a local 4th section band with the intention of going on a 4 year pot-hunt through the sections, that would have been perfectly "legal", but were one of them were to sign for Dyke and then help out the same 4th section band on, say, 4th man down at the Flobberthorpe & District BBA contest then that would be against the rules. Illogical, no?

    A lot of these rules seem designed to legislate for situations that were an issue in 1920 but simply wouldn't be these days. We have much, much more serious issues to worry about, and spend money on. Even if a 4th section band DID use a hatful of Brighouse players in order to win their local tin pot association contest, or even something like Butlins, that band would most likely permanently lose the the resident players displaced by superstars for the contest and would therefore be struggling to put a band out for park jobs a week later. Therefore they fold, and problem solved (or due punishment meted out by the forces of Karma, depending on your perspective).
    Andrew Baker

  6. #6
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    I agree that the more extreme examples are not particularly realistic, but I have played in middling section bands with sufficiently good contacts to allow them to borrow first class players to cover absences and vacancies. The only thing stopping them was that these players were registered with top section bands.

  7. #7
    tMP Friend for Life Anno Draconis's Avatar
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    I see your point, fair enough, and I can see how the post-contest pub arguments could be, erm, lively in that eventuality! But for every band in that situation, I would contend that there are two or three for whom registration rules simply act as a bar to contesting - they don't want to put out a band of superdeps, but only have maybe 19-20 around the stand and need some help to make it to the start line. If relaxing the rules so the latter are accommodated makes it easier for the former to take advantage, I would argue that we could and should live with that.

    Had the bands you mention borrowed those players, would that have raised the standard of the band sufficiently to make a difference? See, I'm not convinced that putting a couple of decent players into an otherwise average band makes for that much of an improvement. Those players shouldn't need as much rehearsal, which is one clear advantage, and in a piece where there's a crucial solo (e.g. the cornet solos in Resurgam or Oceans) having a really good borrowed player in the seat might help, but it doesn't make the rest of the band suddenly play tighter, or more in tune. Much as I might stick the boot into adjudicators now and again, for the vast majority of them it's quite rightly the overall band that wins or loses contests, not a couple of key players.

    A couple of really good players permanently signed to the band and attending regular rehearsals could make a difference to an average band, but of course that's within the rules anyway...
    Andrew Baker

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    I think the registry wants scrapping.....I m fed up of having to wear wigs and glasses when I go over the border to play with other bands at the area.
    Last edited by STUART HAIGH; 21.02.2012 at 17:02. Reason: spelli

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    some form of control must stay and i think the regitsry do a great job.
    with out it all hell will break loose

  10. #10
    tMP Senior Friend tojo's Avatar
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    i would like all competitions to allow the use of 3 unsigned players , only proviso is that they be under the age of 14 , this would promote youth in banding , and give experiance of top level playing to many. I do of course mean these to be extra players , over and above the 28 an average competion allows
    Last edited by tojo; 28.02.2012 at 18:15.
    the person who invented marching must have been a cornet player

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Pegram View Post
    some form of control must stay and i think the regitsry do a great job.
    with out it all hell will break loose
    No it won't - there is no evidence that anything of the sort will happen. There are plenty of contests that allow day transfers and still, I have yet to see Phil McCann appearing at a Scaba contest with a Fourth section band.
    Also as a conductor, I wouldn't want loads of these people turning up on the day - you need a band at rehearsals and so most MD's simply won't want their band to be disturbed by loads of "Ringers".

    I raised this best part of 10 years ago in the South and was accused by registry staff of taking the movement backwards. Consider how many people have left our movement in that time and I think you'll find the movement is taking itself backwards quite nicely by NOT changing!

  12. #12
    tMP Friend Space Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by STUART HAIGH View Post
    I think the registry wants scrapping.....I m fed up of having to wear wigs and glasses when I go over the border to play with other bands at the area.
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    tMP Friend in Training KernowSop's Avatar
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    Why can't it be acceptable to change the rule, so that if a band is short of certain players they can bring another player in, which is registered with another band, but in the same section. I.e a band short of a cornet player in the 1st section can only deep with a cornet player already registered in a 1st section (or lower) band. I know of a lot of bands that either have struggled to get enough bums on seats for contests like the areas, or haven't been able to go at all.
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    Bands are permitted to have upto 40 players registered. If bands were required to confirm 30 players they intend to play for a particular contest a month in advance, those players not involved could be considered by the Registry as pooled players that can then play for another band in the same section or above without the need to transfer, subject to say a limit of 2 pooled players per contest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoppiebari View Post
    Bands are permitted to have upto 40 players registered. If bands were required to confirm 30 players they intend to play for a particular contest a month in advance, those players not involved could be considered by the Registry as pooled players that can then play for another band in the same section or above without the need to transfer, subject to say a limit of 2 pooled players per contest.
    I think that's a brilliant idea, as long as the orginal band doen't lose out due to last minute unavailibility/illness
    Last edited by Backrowdiva; 29.02.2012 at 16:58. Reason: addition

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