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Trumpet Discussion Discuss We fired our conductor yesterday :cry: in the General forums; In one of the two community bands I am with (the one in which I am a board member), we ...
  1. #1
    Pianissimo User connloyalist's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006

    We fired our conductor yesterday :cry:

    In one of the two community bands I am with (the one in which I am a board member), we terminated our conductor's contract yesterday. Fortunately it was a friendly thing, no hard feelings. I am a bit sad, because I really like the guy: trumpet player with a jazz background. He has a somewhat unusual way of conducting, but you quickly get used to it. He was with us for 6 years (longer than I have been a member of that band). The deal is he will stay 'till 31 December or whenever he finds a new job on Thursday evenings.

    The problem was that although we had a succesful (I thought) and enjoyable band contest a while ago, after that the whole band seemed to sink into a slump. People became unmotivated, started to complain about the type of music we were playing (at the moment quite a bit of big band kind of stuff for an upcoming concert), some members quit because of the choice of music even. Quite a few people see the conductor as a source of the problem. I don't quite agree, and even then he certainly isn't the only problem. But hopefully we can start turning this band around now, before it dies from lack of interest by the members.

    Still, I will be sorry to see this conductor leave. I just needed to share this.

    Regards, Christine
    Main instrument: 1948 22B New York Symphony
    Member of the Elkhart-Conn 22B Fan Club

  2. #2
    Mezzo Forte User
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Dubai, UAE

    I think that everybody who plays in amateur, voluntary musical groups goes through very similar experiences.

    What always amazes me is the amount of ego that some members of what are essentially fun ensembles seem to have. In my experience those with the biggest egos and who make the most noise are usually those that turn up to practice infrequently as well as contributing the least.

    I've also been involved in community bands that have gone through similar traumas. The only consolation that can be gained from it is that at least those that are left are committed.



  3. #3
    Piano User Bruce Lee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Hi Christine,

    I was the music director, and a founding member, of a community band in New Hampshire. We went through similar issues, from time to time... especially following a big concert, or event, with regard to attendance, etc.

    A HUGE reason for our success was that we had non-musical, but extremely enthusiastic, people running the organization, alongside elected board members. One thing that they ALWAYS did was to provide feedback about each and every performance, to the band members. I would bet that your audience LOVED the more jazzy style of music. I made the mistake of performing the entire Holst Suite in Eb, for one concert. While the musicians loved it, we did not please our audience. With a group like that... no audience, no band. I never repeated that mistake, and we always played new music.That kept everyone interested.

    I was critized for my conducting, as well. While I was no Frederick Fennell, nor Donald Hunsberger, I had the pleasure of playing under Donald Hunsberger. So, whether or not my abilities with the baton matched theirs was not nearly as big of an issue as the musical experience that I brought to the podium. One of my biggest critics became "extremely" silent when I offered to let him to conduct a piece or two. Funny, I don't think that he ever criticized me again.

    The best thing that you can do for the conductor is to let him know how much you enjoy(ed) playing under his guidance. Good luck to the group in finding as charasmatic a director as a trumpet player!

    Best always,

  4. #4
    Utimate User Dale Proctor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Our brass band board "terminated" our conductor about a year ago. Luckily, I had just rotated off of the board, but it was a messy situation - he was not a happy camper. Mainly, a chronic a problem with the music he was programming. Too many original orchestral transcriptions and not enough "real" brass band music. As Bruce said, the audiences lost interest at the concerts because of the length and unexciting nature of many of these pieces. The difference was, the band didn't enjoy playing them, either. I had considered leaving the band because of the music selections, but now I'm glad I stuck it out.
    Olde Towne Brass

    Brass Band of Huntsville

    Trumpet: 1976 Bach Stradivarius ML 43, Curry 3C.
    Cornet: 1993 Bach Stradivarius L 184G, Curry 3BBC.

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