Forming a community band......

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rdt1959, Jul 2, 2004.

  1. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003
    Due to the lack of performance opportunities in our little town, several of us are talking about forming a community band. Three of us sat down the other evening and started talking about this seriously for the first time. It took about 5 minutes for us to realize that we have absolutely NO idea what we are doing! :roll:

    We reached that point after we started talking about buying music, which led to a brief discussion of financial issues, which lead to speculation about "sponsors" (or donors), at which point the sax player started wondering about performance fees for copy-righted songs (out of respect for his position as pastor of our church, we let him ramble on without telling him to go wet his reed or anything).

    So...I started wondering if anybody in this group had been involved in such an endeavor. What were the experiences you had, good and bad? Does anybody have any advice to offer that does not include valium or Jack Danials? And if anybody knows of a good web site to do research on this topic, I would appreciate knowing about it.

    Thanks. :)
  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Dick, get yourself into yahoo groups and sign up for the community music newsletter etc. There are oodles of folks there who have setup, who operate, who discuss exactly these kinds of issues.

    Sometimes it gets a bit dry with discussions on copyright, "POP", how to organize an instrument rental program, etc. but you can always ask your questions and rely on getting answers from folks who have "been there, done that".
  3. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003
    Thank you kind sir! I figured you would point me in the right direction! :lol:
  4. Bruce Lee

    Bruce Lee Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Hi, Dick!

    I am one of the founders, and music director, of a community band that is now in its 8th year of existance. I also formed a "Swing Band", as an offshoot of the Concert Band, in the second year. Both groups are thriving, as is our Flute Ensemble.

    Since you have had your first "meeting", it's time to plan a second, and third. There are 5 things that are essentials for a musical group:

    1. A music director
    2. Musicians
    3. A rehearsal location
    4. Music
    5. Performances/Audiences

    First, I would check your with local County School District. Find out who the music teachers are, and ask if any of them would be interested in becoming your music director. If the answer is "Yes", he/she can probably arrange for the use of the school in which they teach. Depending on the level of his/her school, you may have access to the music library, until which time you can establish an income, and budget for your own group.

    Second, post an announcement about a meeting for interested musicians within your county. Post a notice in schools, churches, grocery stores, music stores, realtors offices, and in every local business location that is willing to allow you to post something. There may be a small local newspaper that would put an ad in their paper for you, or do an article about your goal of forming a community band are. Most will do this as a community service. I'll bet that the good Pastor may be agreeable to host the informational meeting.

    Your committee of three, and perhaps a music director... if you've found one, can lead the meeting. Make certain that everyone fills out some sort of a form, listing the obvious... name, address, phone number/e-mail address, as well as their instrument, prior musical experiences, and a realistic level of performance ability. Probably the most critical question to ask is how often someone would like to perform, and the type of venue in which they would like to perform. In order for a group of this nature to exist, they MUST perform... THAT is the purpose of a musical ensemble. It sets goals for both individuals, and for the group.

    Next, plan a follow-up meeting. At the meeting, the group, or your music director, can discuss music, and you can set your first rehearsal. Perhaps some of the interested parties would be willing to donate a piece to the group, so that you can get started. Many groups have dues to cover some, or most of the expenses, in addition to providing a higher level of commitment.

    I would like to mention the fact that not all "members" of the group need to be performers. There are many behind the scenes needs that are more political in nature, that most of your musicians within the organization will not want to participate in. Perhaps these are the people who can help book performances, and hopefully guarantee an audience.

    In addition, having people who are willing to transport larger instruments, or to help set up for performances is very helpful. Again, those people do not need to know how to play an instrument, but they will provide a valuable service to the group.

    Ultimately, you'll need everyone's involvement, in one way, or another, to help nurture the group. The end results are a sense of pride, teamwork, and accomplishment.

    Please let me know if I can be of further help. Good luck, Dick!

    Best always,

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