Official tMP London & Southern Counties Regional 2007 thread

In addition to what MoominDave has had to say about other attractions for players (professional or otherwise) in London.. you also have take into account the time may take to travel across London for rehearsals.
You have the choice between congested roads (which you may have to pay for the priviledge of "parking" on) or packed trains, infrequent buses etc.. and that's if the band you choose to play for are located close to transport links.

5 days a week commuting to central London to make a living and 2 nights a week commuting to band (more nights closer to contests) can get a bit much at times.

I suppose at the end of the day, it's about personal choices.. you choose to play for a band or not, you choose commute daily into a congested city...

It was all so much easier in days gone by, we wore flat caps, worked at th'mill or down th'pit, then went to band rehearsal in the bandroom / club located on pit/mill premises... :)
 
Is it because music colleges in London do not encourage their brass players to play in brass bands? Whereas the music colleges in the North appear to focus more on banding?

I know of one young cornet player in this area who was told by his teacher to give up the cornet and just play trumpet as he will never make any money playing cornet! Perhaps thats where the problem lies, making money is being instilled into kids over and above enjoyment.

For advanced students at music colleges, who have chosen to make a career in music, playing in a brass band will not help with the mortgage/rent/food bills etc, it results in the player being unavailable for professional playing opportunities for maybe 2 nights a week etc etc
 

Bungle

Member
I would have also thought the prospect of a weekend in Blackpool is more inviting to players than a day in Stevenage. Actually I could think of a lot more inviting things to do than goto Stevenage, ;) which is why I don't mind not doing the areas. And yes, I have done the areas at Stevenage in the sports hall.

Alliance you have my sympathies, it is very frustrating to get to an almost complete band only to be missing the last piece, it is happening to us getting a band out for the Hove contest. Having a date 12 months in advance does not help when players need to go in for hospital operations before contests or have to work away, all your plans get blown out the water.

You should be congratulated for what you are trying to achieve, who knows, some of these pro-players may want to join a band full time when they have more spare time, if they have an enjoyable experience. Some of your players may also be music students who may not have played in a brass band before, which might change any pre-conceptions they have about brass bands. :clap:
 
This is something that gets my back up - what does it matter if there are band which have professional and amateur players in the ranks? This is something which many bands I've played/conducted have (even up in Scotland!) so why are Alliance singled out as a band of pro's when they have a similar mix of pro/amateur players as most championship bands in scotland have?

It's always a shame when any band can't attend the area because of player unavailability, but if someone has a clash with work which they can't get out of (whether it's a gig/business trip/etc) it's unavoidable. Newtongrange had to withdraw from the area for similar reasons this year after winning the Scottish Championships 2 years ago, but despite having a couple of pros, nobody up north is knocking them!

Perhaps I'm not quite used to this London banding lark yet!
 

Owen S

Member
In addition to what MoominDave has had to say about other attractions for players (professional or otherwise) in London.. you also have take into account the time may take to travel across London for rehearsals.
You have the choice between congested roads (which you may have to pay for the priviledge of "parking" on) or packed trains, infrequent buses etc.. and that's if the band you choose to play for are located close to transport links.

5 days a week commuting to central London to make a living and 2 nights a week commuting to band (more nights closer to contests) can get a bit much at times.

I suppose at the end of the day, it's about personal choices.. you choose to play for a band or not, you choose commute daily into a congested city...

It was all so much easier in days gone by, we wore flat caps, worked at th'mill or down th'pit, then went to band rehearsal in the bandroom / club located on pit/mill premises... :)
Several very good points David.

Door to door, I commute 55 minutes to work, and it's about the same to Egham on Mondays and Fridays. I could have a shorter commute to work by moving job or house, and there are bands who are closer to home, though not by much.

Quite a lot of graduates move to London for work then stop playing. Some of it is the other attractions of the city and some of it is the travelling time required, especially with so few bands within the M25, but some of it is also that they can be expected to work outside standard hours at short notice, and it becomes difficult to balance this with rehearsal attendance, and with the need for personal practice.

That said, most of the bands in the southeast are based outside the M25, and while many players do commute into central London for work, most don't have very long car journeys to band unless they choose to. The roads may be more congested in the south east, but I don't think that's a problem exclusive to London.
 

WhatSharp?

Active Member
Your post about all the other oppotunities in the London area is very interesting. The question is why are London bands faced with this lack of players at the top end.

It's not just the top end. It's pretty much all the way through and it's very rare (in and around london) that you'll find a band which can boast a full band. There is a massive player shortage in London at moment, and the withdrawal of two of Londons "top" bands is just the tip of the iceberg.

We recently lost a few players what with one thing and another, fortunatley we've more or less made that up but we were lucky, quite a few bands aren't so fortunate. It's very sad but I can see a few bands dissappearing over the next few years.

Not sure what the answer is, training bands help but most times as soon as exams come along the kids get pressured into dropping it and thats the end of that, on the plus side our own training band runs adult classes and these are proving very popular amongst those who used to play at school a bit and gave up.
 

PeterBale

Moderator
Staff member
The area is on a sunday
Blackpool is the saturday
So the "professionals" are working on the Sunday 18 March but have got the saturday in May off (19th - and the afternoon of the friday to travel up presumably)
What sort of work do they do?

I know LSO Brass have a concert that Sunday, as I would have liked to have gone along ;)
 

PeterBale

Moderator
Staff member
Having caught up with the rest of the thread (after a couple of days with no online access :mad: ) I agree about the difficulties faced by London bands because of being in the commuter belt. I realise other areas will have some of the same problems, but I'm sure there is more unsociable working and travelling time in our area.

For myself, my journey to work takes 1h 15 - 1hr 30 each day (usually longer in the morning); for Hadleigh band practices, it means getting off the train 2 stations early, a taxi ride to the hall and generally a lift home afterwards. For Becontree, I'm fortunate in that I can get a tube straight from work, and generally get a lift most of the way home, before picking up a train for the end of the journey.

I can also vouch for the fact that Alliance explored all sorts of avenues to try and fill the remaining few slots.
 

GBH

New Member
Your post about all the other oppotunities in the London area is very interesting. The question is why are London bands faced with this lack of players at the top end.

I can, with first hand experience, say this is most certainly not restricted to the Championship section, far from it in fact. I had a horrible time trying to get any sort of band together for the areas (or indeed any contest) in the second section and know for a fact at least 4 other bands in the second section were in exactly the same situation (Denham, with huge credit to them, managed to come second fielding only 17 or 18 players and I believe they had the full compliment of 4 deps in that 18 too!)

My limited exposure to 3 fourth section and 2 first section bands would imply it's little different there.

Theres a lot to be said about the whole way the movement is still run and perhaps it still works in some areas but I fear the whole framework of registering with a single band, restrictions on who, when and what you play and the general disgust with the majority of the adjudication process (arbitrary, non-sensical, non-consistent) means people just don't want the hassle. Factor in the lack of grass roots playing and training and theres going to need to be some very hefty consolidation in London of many bands if any are going to survive the next 10 years.

G
 

Chunky

Active Member
I can, with first hand experience, say this is most certainly not restricted to the Championship section, ...............

........My limited exposure to 3 fourth section and 2 first section bands would imply it's little different there.


G

Quite agree the problem is across the whole movement. At the moment though it appears that only 2 bands both in the top sectiom have withdrawn due to player difficulties.
 

Owen S

Member
Quite agree the problem is across the whole movement. At the moment though it appears that only 2 bands both in the top sectiom have withdrawn due to player difficulties.
We only know of two withdrawals. There's no reason to think that all withdrawals have been reported in this thread.
 

GBH

New Member
Quite agree the problem is across the whole movement. At the moment though it appears that only 2 bands both in the top sectiom have withdrawn due to player difficulties.

I think my point was that 18 players don't make a full band. We all struggle on and hold on desperately to trying to get enough of a band together to compete but I know after 2 years of doing it I'd had enough. The thing is I know that many bands struggle to get 20 to a contest and 12-15 during non contest times. They make do and survive, just, but longer term there is no way that is sustainable long term. Moreso, we shouldn't be giving this false impression of the current state of affairs. Neither the number of registered bands or the numebr of players registered to those bands are ANY reflection of the true state of banding and I firmly believe banding, based on my limited observation, is in far more dire straits than the press and some of the leadership of the movement would have you believe.

Just to highlight that, 4BR's constant commentry on how borrowing players is ruining the movement when in fact for many bands its the only thing keeping them alive. Without borrowing players, many bands couldn't compete full stop. As for gigs as a tuba player I dep for 3 bands in London regularly (almost every if not every gig they have) through the summer months and another 2-3 intermittently and I'm often the only bass or the only one of 2. I can't believe this is isolated to just London though I'm sure someone on here will correct me if this isn't so.

I love my brass banding and I love the music but I really do fear for the future unless the movement changes and updates itself significantly in the next 5 years.

G
 
Forever a London issue it would seem. When regular bands struggle to make ends meet week in week out. It also raises the question of gradings. I would be pretty annoyed if i was one of the bands facing demotion. What are the points implications for Alliance and Staines? They could both be in for a struggle next year..

I cant beleive Staines and Alliance wont be competing?! Thats very odd. Soham Comrades have had around the 20 mark attendance at rehearsals for the last 4 weeks or so, and will have the good part of a full band for rehearsals throughout next week so overall we are all happy with preperations although it does seem a struggle to get tuned perc players in perticular each year the areas come round, there simply isn't enough tuned perc players in this area!!! The way its always been, I think other championship bands in and around East Anglia find it hard to find them as well? We will be putting on a very strong performance next week though with any luck! Got some quality soloists/players on every end chair.

Matt
 
But even you at Soham have brought in players particularly for the areas! ;-)

haha yeah we have! :p But we've had a reasonably solid core of players throughout the past year and have been forward thinking, we wouldn't have entered had we have known we would struggle to get players! But this year the band has expanded alot compared with the last few years with many more registered players, with 2+ more players joining after the areas (inc a perc player) who will be with us on a full time basis. This is why we will be giving it everything to stay in the champ section this year and hopefully fingers crossed get rewarded for all the hard work we've put in this last month or so, like every other band! In comparison with last year, this year is looking up! :D :p East Anglia needs representation in the championship section! ;-)
 
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