The piping season is barely over, especially in the EUSPBA and there is a mad scavenger hunt going on to try to find new players, keep your old players and get ready for the new season. I find this year to be especially challenging. We are losing players, and gaining some but with the AGM coming up this weekend for our band, I am not finding the same excitement level as usual and probably will not until I arrive and see who IS playing and staying and who is not. While a person certainly has free will to come and go as they please, I just find the whole band "business" turning into a real band Business now, much like sports teams with not much loyalty but more of a where's the next best thing. Perhaps, the fact that I have only played in 4 bands in my 40 years of piping, 3 of which were running the grade 3 band where I worked at the College at PEI, it just feels odd that many people don't seem to stay for more than a year or two with any band, and it makes it tough for the band to really keep their "musical personality".
I too have toyed with changing bands. Teaching piping full time, the idea of being able to study tunes on my own, and just come to one or two practices during the full off season, then arrive to play and hopefully help that band out in competition seem pretty inviting, especially for us northern people who just want to go anywhere to get away, sometimes even another cold place just for the change in scenery, but for now, at least this week, I think I am staying put.
I can honestly say that I have had several offers to play elsewhere which leads me to the dilemna here in that while I don't like that so many people are always changing bands, I'm now out there "poaching" away as good as I can and feel like a hypocrite for it. But, for the band to survive and be able to compete against the others, I feel this is now the only way. I could sit back and not try to stir up interest but the band size, especially in a very small market like Halifax would just have a tough time growing. Here’s hoping that the plus side out weighs the minus side on the personnel side of things this season.