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Bar Lines

First in a series of (probably) one.


Following Band practice a number of us go for a drink, and after the usual moans and groans (work, partners, Inland Revenue etc.) the old Banding stories start coming out. It is my intention to record some of these - no names will be mentioned but all are true, and come from Bandsmen who do or have played with Harrogate Band.
  • A band was so sick of practicing a piece (they had no chance of ever playing) that one member advertised the full set of music for free in a local newspaper.
  • During a contest performance the Solo Cornet player got lost - The Conductor kept telling him where he should be, "we are at letter E!", "we are at letter G!!". As he brought the performance to an end, and the audience applauded, the Conductor turned to the Solo Cornet player and shouted "YOU STILL DON'T KNOW WHERE THE BLOODY HELL WE ARE!"
  • A Soloist was persuaded to wander amongst the Audience as he played his solo. Slightly worried, he asked if the music could be put on a stand in case he forgot some of it. This was duly done, and halfway through his performance he wandered back to the music stand just to refresh his memory. It was hilarious to see him trying to read the music that had been placed on the stand upside down!
  • The place - Wetherby Bandstand, The band - Harrogate, The Soloist begins his performance. The first few bars were his alone and as his sonorous tones entranced the audience he held them spellbound waiting for the bass line to come in and move the music along. He waited and waited, and eventually the band joined in with Happy Birthday To You. It was his birthday, and he was stitched up good and proper. He thought they were his friends - he should have known better!
Some utterances from the bandroom:
  • Front row cornet: "Is it a big one?" - random woman: "Yeah!"
  • MD: "Don't just wap it out, back row"
  • MD: "It wasn't until I joined a decent band that I realised basses actually played real notes!"
  • MD: "I do like a bit of pink"
  • Front row cornet: "Sorry, I had to swallow"
  • MD: "the cornet's got to get under you.... and if you're too soft...."
  • MD (to trombones): "Just imagine it's being played with valves"
  • MD: "You need to practice your fingering..... you might need two hands.... you might need to take one hand off"
  • MD: "Some of you have small parts.... they might fit on a marching lyre"
  • Trombone 1: "Who's the granny on horn, then?" Trombone 2: "That's my mum!"
  • MD: "Biggo!" - Front row cornet: "F***ing Biggo!"
  • MD: "We can only hear you as you're on top.... You'll have to go home, sit on your bed and practice that". Euph: "What, being on top?". Cornet: "Is there any other way?"
  • Baritone: "I've got the clap at K"
  • MD: "Just whip it up and then bring it down again"
  • Most players: "Oh, f***, he's missed it!" - usually aimed at Solo Trom.
  • MD: "Go home and practice controlling the vibration between your lips"
Proposed code of conduct for members of the Harrogate Band - 1981
  1. Thou shalt have no activity or interest of higher priority than Harrogate Band
  2. Whilst on stage during engagements thou shalt assume the likeness of graven images and refrain from unseemly behaviour
  3. Thou shalt not take the words of thy Musical Director in vain
  4. Remember the Band Practive days, to keep them free of other activities. Five days shalt thou blow at thine individual practice; but the other two days thou shalt abandon thy family and attend rehearsal
  5. Honour thy fellow players. Mock them not when they play bum notes
  6. Thou shalt not kill time in idle speculation about the methods and motivation of thy Musical Director
  7. Thou shalt not adulterate the melodious sound of the Band by reason of intoxication with alcoholic liquor
  8. Thou shalt not steal a crafty drag on stage during engagements
  9. Thou shalt not play false notes through lack of individual practice
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy Musical Director's wife, nor his ass


For other banding humour, see the Humour section of the IBEW