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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000121.txt from 2004/10

From: Tim Roberts <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Clarinet popularity
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 2004 16:11:03 -0400

On Mon, 4 Oct 2004 17:58:16 -0700 (PDT), CBA <>

>You know, if community bands and orchestras held auditions for
>chairs for ALL of their members, and got rid of the bulls**t
>involved in the politics of "waiting for the first chair person
>to die," more of us older people who aren't ancient would play.

This is a very difficult situation to handle in a reasonable and fair way.

I'm the clarinet section leader for the Tualatin Valley Community Band,
and have been so for 14 years. We do not have auditions, nor do we
permanently assign people to particular parts. When a new piece is
handed out, I am given the stack of clarinet parts, and it is left
entirely up to me to distribute them. I hate it. Generally, I
arrogantly take a solo or 1st part for myself, and pass the stack along,
letting the chips fall where they will.

With a few exceptions, this works pretty well. Most players know their
own comfort and competency levels, and this scheme lets them manage it
themselves. However, there are issue. I have some very competent
players who just not comfortable playing a lead part. Well, it's
community band: what am I going to do, fire them? I also have some
players who are considerably more competent in their own minds then they
are with a clarinet in their mouths. But again, it's community band.
Is it my place to ruin their "experience" by telling them they aren't as
good as they think they are?

I've considered the challenge-for-chairs thing, but I don't know how we
would even run auditions. Where do you get an impartial judging panel?
The typical community band doesn't have a cadre of professional
musicians to draw upon for something like that. Do you leave it up to
the director? That's enough pressure to cause an ulcer.

- Tim Roberts,
Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.

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