Lessons from the Circus: Volume III

It was really great fun for me to once again be allowed the privilege of enjoying the music of a bygone era. Our group plays music not often seen in the libraries of community bands in the United States and Canada.


The week's visit comes to you a couple of weeks after the end of my annual soiree to the world of circus music. As I said to my buddies in Adelphia before I left, I was running away to join the circus. Once again my friends I have had the privilege of traveling south in order to return to the circus music days of yesteryear. It was really great fun for me to once again be allowed the privilege of enjoying the music of a bygone era. Our group plays music not often seen in the libraries of community bands in the United States and Canada.

My annual trip to the Windjammers Unlimited, Inc. Annual Meeting in Sarasota, Florida was all that I hoped it would be. Although the there was one piece of music from the 1970's, most of it came from the glory days of the circus world, a period running from the 1870's through the 1920's.

More than the mere enjoyment of music, I got to help a buddy enjoy the merriment of our band of old-time music buffs. Since I am the proud owner of a nice, new, large-sized G.M.C. Yukon XL S.U.V., I was able to bring along an extra tuba for my buddy Jerry Deutscher. Jerry is a pretty neat guy. He is a World War II Marine Corps veteran who was born and bred in Brooklyn. We just hit it off a few years back when we met for the first time in Sarasota.

He mentioned to me two years ago when he moved to Arizona that he probably would not be coming any more since it was such a pain in the butt to get his tuba on the plane. I offered to bring my spare horn along for him to play. This allowed him to make it in from Tuscan, Arizona without having to lug a tuba onto an airplane. As you might imagine, this can be a real drudge. I made the same offer again this year.

I guess that is what means to be a team member. It seems to me that sharing and caring is what being part of a team is all about. When a buddy needs help you give it to them. Perhaps this is one of the elements which seem to turn up missing in far too many fire organizations today. The new-generation of "what's-in-it-for-me warriors" fail to recognize that this is one of the critical elements so necessary to organizational growth and success.

As I have in each of the past two years, I come to you with a number of observations and lessons which came to me during my time with the Windjammer's Unlimited, Inc. band as well as my time with the Sailor Circus in Sarasota. These things just come to me at odd moments and in a variety of different places.

Lesson one from this years trip to the circus is simple. Being a member of a team means that you should offer to help other members of the team when they need ask for it. And sometimes you need to offer your help when you think it is needed. Jerry needed some help and I was able to help him.

During our week in Sarasota, I was assigned to the Blue Band for rehearsal and recording purposes. There were also Red and White Bands to allow for wide participation among attendees. Of course we in the Blue Band felt we were the best of the three performance and recording groups. This arrangement allowed us all to play a boatload of music, as well as prepare well for our big, center-ring concert at the Police Athletic League's Sailor Circus facility.

Running any meeting such as this can be a read pain. Having done it a number of times on a smaller scale myself, I am well aware that hosting and conducting a conference of any kind is a difficult proposition. Planning and logistics concerns always lie at the heart of any such undertaking. Therefore it is critical to ensure that the details of such an undertaking are handled by responsible, detail-oriented people.

The balancing of duties must be done in such a way that things seem to occur seamlessly, regardless of the amount of labor involved. Since our group has a number of older members, we do lose people from time to time. We have been fortunate to have some really capable people step into the breech to keep the organization moving forward.

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