This week I am going to touch upon a sore subject in many bands up and down the country. The subject of players attendance is at the forefront of nearly every argument between players, musical directors and band committees. It seems that there are 2 types of “banders”. Those that are there for every rehearsal 100% of the time and only miss for 1 of 2 reasons (illness or work) and then there are those that go only when there isn't a better offer. For years bands have tried and tried to get their players to attend more rehearsals and still to this day there is no proven answer to the lack of players attendance. If you think you have a tried and tested answer to your attendance woes then please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moving on I have experienced this problem over the last few weeks, I am the first type of bander, I am the kind of person that commits myself 100% to whatever it is I'm doing. As you may know I play with the BTM band and with the Welsh regional brass band championships around the corner extra rehearsals are being scheduled in. At the same time I was recently asked to conduct the Ammanford Town Silver Band in the contest next weekend. With 2 bands rehearsals to attend and a competition looming I am in rehearsals 6 nights a week!! So when I hear concerns off players from many different bands I can relate to what they are saying.
While we are on the subject of commitment, I don't just mean attendance in rehearsals I also refer to the fact that players often don't pull their instruments out of the cases outside of their respective band rooms. Which is a serious problem when competitions come along, as this can cause the bands team ethic to be lost and negatively affect the bands performance on stage. It has been said many times that rehearsals are not for learning your part, they are for putting all the parts together. On a positive note I can safely say that bands around Wales will be experiencing better attendance in rehearsals this week while they put the finishing touches to their test pieces in preparation for their performances on the weekend.
As this whole post has been about commitment to the brass band movement I would like to ask a favour of all of you. As you may or may not know Stephen Sykes, a fantastic and well accomplished trombone player has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. As an ex-player of some of the country's top bands, the banding community is pulling together to try and find a donor for him. I am personally asking all of you reading this to have a swab test to help save Stephen. There is going to be a swab station in the Brangwyn hall next weekend so every brass bander in Wales is going to be there. The test only takes a few minutes and is only a cotton bud rubbed on the inside of your cheek. The DKMS swab station will be in the trade stand hall from 9am till late on both days the 18th and 19th. The registration process includes filling in a simple questionnaire and taking a saliva swab as I said earlier, please note that you have to be between 18 and 55 to be eligible. If you are unable to take the test due to not meeting the criteria then you can always leave a donation too. Thank you in advance to everyone who does take the test for your support.
If the brass band movement can save this man then there is nothing we can't do. Lets work together and improve the quality of our hobby, lets push up the standard of amateur music, and above all lets enjoy playing as part of a band and to continue our 160 year old tradition. Thank you all for reading.
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