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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000938.txt from 2000/04

From: "Dee D. Hays" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Community Bands...
Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 08:04:12 -0400

----- Original Message -----
From: "lorell girard" <>
Subject: [kl] Community Bands...

> Any listers out there involved in community bands, please respond...
> I am section leader in my local community band, and am interested in how
> others in community bands handle the sticky "seating" issues. Audition is
> an "eight letter word" in our community (for adults that is) but all the
> high schoolers and some middle schoolers have either a challenge system or
> audition for chairs. The notion that people don't need to play for the
> director and/or section leader at some point to determine seating is
> to me, having had to do it that way through middle school, high school,
> college myself.
> Would appreciate anyone's take on this. To be fair to the stronger
> and keep a good balanced sound in the section we are currently rotating
> people, giving various players, if competent and comfortable doing so,
> opportunity to play different parts at different times, always keeping one
> or two real leaders in every section.
> Thanks in advance.
> Lorell Girard
> Bend, OR

Actually most of the bands that I have belonged to were pretty
non-competitive. For example in the one that I am in now, you can choose to
audition or to not audition. If you don't audition, they just place you
where they think you can play or where they need more players. If you do
audition, they ask you what part you would like to play. If you play well
enough, then you get placed on that part. Some people prefer the normally
less demanding parts as they have limited time to practice and want to do a
good job on the part they play.

In the band I played in last summer, it was an entirely different situation.
The first couple of chairs were held by the people who had been there
forever. It was the custom and you accepted that. Other than that, people
played the part they wanted to or whatever part their own personal judgment
told them needed to be covered. The music in this group was basically at
the sight reading level for any one who was reasonable advanced so you might
play 1st in rehearsal but at the concert you might play 2nd to balance the
section if too few people showed up that evening. We gave weekly concerts
in the park all summer so attendance could vary quite a bit from week to

In Findlay, Ohio there were no auditions and you could pretty much choose
the part that you wanted to play but if there were too many on that part or
you weren't qualified to play that part, the section leader politely but
firmly "asked" you to move to a different part. If there was an unusually
difficult piece, the section leader might ask a couple of strong players to
temporarily play another part if the section was too weak to handle it.

When I was in Decatur, Illinois, the band was run along more formal lines.
If you wanted to join, you had to audition. You were then assigned a chair
and that was it. That position might change if new people joined or current
members quit.

The key to a good band is having mature players who understand the need for
balance and who also no longer feel the need to "prove" themselves.

Dee Hays
Canton, SD

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