Coronavirus, what might it mean to Banding

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
Excellent post Dave.

What changes this virus has brought, some good but some bad, and as for Banding I think that the effects there too will be mixed. As is so often the case in life things turn out in unexpected ways.

At the moment I’m keeping well and believe myself to be disease free, but tomorrow a chance event could see me infected and in two weeks time the virus could have ended my life - to some extent or other we all live with that Sword of Damocles hanging over us. In terms of our Band getting back to normal I feel, as best I can estimate, that realistically we are looking towards September before full rehearsals recommence - maybe later if over 70’s are still considered at risk and of course that’s under a phased return of society to normal.

As other things come to the fore I notice myself practicing less than has normally been the case . Exercise is an essential part of maintaining the shield of good health (so I’m walking and cycling much than more than I normally would) and there’s also much to do in the garden, I need more hours in the day and some energy tablets too. There are other instruments (non-brass) to play instead too and I’m wondering about strength in depth (or should that be variety) of musical experience. Anyway I’m happily using time normally ‘lost’ to rehearsals and band events, that’s not something that I ever expected and I don’t believe that I’m alone in that experience.

Socially I’ve lost one good acquaintance but friends have lost friends and relatives. It could be worse, and may yet be, but like many others I’m mindful of disease spread and use technology to get around what I can. Friends are but a telephone or Skype call away and physical help can be managed with caution.

It’s going to be interesting to see how things work out. Yesterday I read of crude oil bring negatively priced (people being paid to take it away) and that just goes to show how upside down the world is at the moment. Once we come out of this current chaos the economy will tank and that will have both the obvious direct social impacts and some indirect ones on Banding too ... difficult times ahead.
 
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MissBraz

Active Member
Hope everyone is keeping well, I never responded on this post as at the time, there was a reply suggesting my band pulled out of our area for reasons other than corona. Despite reading this thread several times now, I cant seem to find it.. So whether it was deleted I dont know.

I for one, believe more than ever that we made the correct decision to pull out. However much it hurt at the time.

The first three weeks of 'lockdown' I felt passed quickly (as quick as it can) however I feel like it is dragging now. Hope for the return to normality but I feel that is some way off.
I'm lucky I am still working.

Stay well everyone!
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
Brass Bands England are with you on this and have slated both the NoEBBC and WoEBBC organisers for holding their contests. Anyone accusing you of withdrawing for unsporting reasons needs to have a word with themselves.
I couldn’t agree more about accusers needing to have having a quiet word with themselves, unfortunately sometimes folk become so tied up in some event that they loose perspective.

To my mind the event organisers named were in an unfortunate position, circumstances changed very rapidly and the momentum behind the event coming together and being held must have been massive. Yes, they should have cancelled in the few days preceding the event but by way of analogy it’s next to impossible to stop a lorry on a six pence.

I notice from the BBE website that the event organisers might have failed in a duty of care and that that could have legal implications. With that situation in mind perhaps a Band that was penalised for late withdrawal might consider legal action too. In a way I can but feel sorry for the organisers; who amongst us has never carefully balanced all the factors involved in a decision and still made what turned out to be the wrong choice?
 
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MoominDave

Well-Known Member
The area committees (and Kapitol) were left in a completely unfair position by a lack of guidance from above. Leaving brass band organisations (and football clubs, etc.) in charge of potentially life-or-death decisions? Madness.

Suffice to say that my sympathies are with the committees that had to second-guess the situation without reliable guidance, and also with the bands and with the players who had to make the same guesses. Everyone was thoroughly stitched up, and no bander should be blaming another bander over this.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
The area committees (and Kapitol) were left in a completely unfair position by a lack of guidance from above. Leaving brass band organisations (and football clubs, etc.) in charge of potentially life-or-death decisions? Madness.

Suffice to say that my sympathies are with the committees that had to second-guess the situation without reliable guidance, and also with the bands and with the players who had to make the same guesses. Everyone was thoroughly stitched up, and no bander should be blaming another bander over this.
I don’t think that I can fairly criticise our national leaders for not giving firmer guidance or agree that the Area Committees (and Kapitol) didn’t have sufficient information to make a different decision. To my mind the emerging situation in this country and what had happened in other countries made it pretty obvious to others that the right thing to do was to cancel the event rather than take the risk with other people’s lives that there really wasn’t much of an issue.

Simply put adults are capable of gathering information and making appropriate choices without Government instruction on every detail, IMHO lack of a Government instruction is no defence whatsoever for not choosing to do the right thing. I actually applaud those Bands that had the guts to withdraw from the Contest and feel very aggrieved for them at they way they were treated.

Whilst I sympathise with the doubtless considerable difficulties that the organisers had to manage to my mind they made a bad call and should have to stand the consequences of what they chose to continue to do (it’s being called responsible for your own actions and not hiding behind others).
 
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MoominDave

Well-Known Member
I really can't condemn the organisers. We were alternately being encouraged to stop doing things and not stop doing ways, in a very confusing yes-no way that seemed designed to create puzzlement and inconsistency between different organisers. When it's life-or-death and limiting the spread of disease, it is simply irresponsible to leave individual decisions in individual hands.

And that's as far into a political discussion as I intend to be drawn here on this vexed subject. I'm well aware from past experience that there is a balance of posters here that will be unreceptive to suggestions that this has been handled other than perfectly, and I have no desire to inflame them.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
We don’t always agree but when we disagree then doing so amicably should always be our aim. I went to a couple of music group meetings in the week before the last Contests were held, those groups were poorly attended because (at risk) people were taking personal responsibility for their health (they didn’t attend). That’s what called adult behaviour, taking charge of a situation and working out what you need to do. As they say ‘its’s not rocket science’ but it is common sense - which ironically is now not common at all.

Whatever, the event organisers were ‘between a rock and a hard place’ with no easy solutions in sight. However forcing Bands - or even just individual players - to either attend a Contest at some risk to their health or face a penalty is, to my mind, both irresponsible and uncaring.
 
I went to a couple of music group meetings in the week before the last Contests were held, those groups were poorly attended because (at risk) people were taking personal responsibility for their health (they didn’t attend).
The problem with the "personal responsibility" argument is that people don't make decisions in isolation. There's a lot of social pressure to attend the Area if your band is going, the performance ethic means that you don't want to let your band down.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
The problem with the "personal responsibility" argument is that people don't make decisions in isolation. There's a lot of social pressure to attend the Area if your band is going, the performance ethic means that you don't want to let your band down.
Being part of a Team or a Band does involve a complex balance of costs, commitments, pressures and assorted rewards. I quite see where Helen is coming from on this pressure, however it also does reinforce the importance of the organisers taking responsibility for what’s going on and in this case cancelling (rather than falling to) the event. I don’t play in a contesting band but if I did then I’m sure that the social pressure to attend would have been intense and the consequences for not failing in-line with group thinking wouldn’t have been nice (so a balance of nasty consequences now or risking a really nasty consequence later). I can’t put into printable words what I think of those responsible for allowing that situation.

In general I tend to follow the clear cut but fair line of questioning that my Mother used on me as a child, when I was a little Lad playing with others and doing the silly things that children do and copy.
Mum: “Why did you do that?”
Me: “Because ‘Jimmy’ told me to”
Mum: “If ‘Jimmy’ told you to put your hand in the fire would you do it?”
Me: “Err no”
Mum: “Well then don’t give me any of this ‘Jimmy’ told me to non-sense, you can think for yourself instead of doing silly things”.

I know that peer pressure can be enormous and that it can be very difficult to stand up to it but at the end of the day each one of us has to ask ourselves a question. The question is do I really want to belong to a group that doesn't value the wellbeing of its members above everything else? I’ve played in a few Bands and found varying attitudes, I love the ethos of the Band that I play in now but my ‘banding’ journey to them has introduced me to some difficult types elsewhere with values that I don’t share.

By the way, if anyone felt forced by their Band to attend a Contest regardless of the virus threat then my suggestion is for them - at their earliest convenience - to say ‘cheerio’ to that Band; play for someone else and if no other Band is available then make music in other ways.
 
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