This is an extract from the Australia's Band World, dated December, 2003, written by Kathy Clark. It is funny, yet insightful to the Christmas wishes of many a conductor. Therefore, I thought I should share it with you.
As I sit to write this year's list I would like to review my wish list from last year.
I wasn't really expecting the sponsorship from Sir Richard Branson to come off, nor to have the Black Dyke Band move into our street, but there are a few things I know you can fix if I explain them a bit better.
A good sop player does not mean a reincarnation of Frank Spencer.
Yes, we have a full cornet section at last, but I didn't mean eight 3rd cornet players and one rep.
And having two flugels is a bonus, but trying to keep one of them in tune is beyond me, and when the other shows up as well...
A nice fat bass trombone sound is an asset to any band, I agree, but not coming from the solo horn player.
I remember asking for a euphonium player with light fingers, I'm just not sure if I requested he be a light fingered ex-inmate who once was known for bringing her Majesty pleasure. If you find him in your travells, you might like to remind him they are the band's trophies, not his.
The new baritone is very enthusiastic, but I think the Male Welsh Choir might be missing him by now.
Our three asthmatic bass players have a remarkable attendance record indeed, but still don't make up for that one that never seems to get to practice before closing time.
It was delightful to have a fully equipped and fully staffed percussion section at last, and I know the band will appreciate their presence more when they all learn the same meaning for the words rhythm, dynamics, follow me...
The temperature controlled bandroom does not mean one that is controlled by the outside temperature>
Now I did say that first place in every competition would be lovely, but that wasn't a request to draw No.1 every time!
Our committee have tried their best this year, but after seven chocolate drives, I'm beginning to wonder if we weren't better off with the previous year's group. At least the port is bringing in the dollars, thanks to the current DIY renovations trend. If it doesn't strip the paint, it will clean the oil from the driveway.
I guess we are lucky the band has such a zealous property officer, who takes his role seriously and considers all band property his personal property. Well he can have it for the measly $1000 the committee agreed to insure it for this year.
Our photocopier dies during the year and the replacement from the back of our second horn player's garden shed has kept up the fine tradition of chewing paper and always breaking down right in the middle of copying the test piece.
Thankfully our librarian who operates the damn thing doesn't have a musical bone in her body bless her, and the vital third page of the first horn part is never missed until we are in the warm up room at the championships.
On the subject of music, it was fantastic to finally catalogue all the sets in the back room at last. It's a library of every top A grade test or own choice made available, and is the envy of most the competitive serious bands.
Sadly our current crop of D grade players are finding it a bit tough, but I'm sure the previous bandmasters knew what they were doing when they placed their orders.
Still, we do have some very nice stuff, but I'm hanging out for the day when at least one of our 4 sets of slaidburn has a second trombone part.
So, as I remind myself to put the earplugs in the music bag before I head off to this year's outdoor carol service in the pouring rain I should thank you for some of the gifts of 2003. Our daughter has finally given up her crush on the repiano player from the rival band and now has set her sights on a nice young lad from her school who plays in the A grade band. If all goes well, my son-in-law will be a welcome addition on permit.
Meet you in the third verse of Jingle Bells as usual, and I'll get the first round at the pub after.
Yours in banding,