Playing it right.

Who doesn’t like to attend a concert? Being a pop concert, orchestra, rock concert, a famous DJ concert, a well-known artist or maybe a known show we all get excited and make sure we buy early tickets (at times they also have a 3 digit number tag) if needed,  and make sure that nothing gets in the way of the date of the said concert.  Nothing to debate on this, it is correct and it is how artists and musicians/artist should be treated and the concerts really do live up to expectations (most of the times).

Contrasting to that is the local wind band atmosphere. Local wind bands are expected to give free concerts and even though the expenses to make such a concert are rather high if one tries to make a price tag of more than €10 you are sure to receive the following responses, “Tghid mhux hekk!” (no way in hell), “Mela ħa jtellgħu xi opra La Scala!” (are they producing an opra at La Scala?), “Jgħamluh kemm iridu, lilhi ma jarawniex l’hemm” (they can do whatever they like, they won’t see me), unless of course, we have to make the tickets as a way to gather funds to a charity.

 

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Musicians view before starting one of the major concerts in Malta – 2015

 

Apart from the legal rights, regarding PRS and the legitimate way we play music, we really and truly cannot complain at all. The way we advertise our concerts is as unprofessional as it gets. Posters of the annual concert depicting pictures that really and truly do not make sense, photoshopped as worst as it could be, highlighting the guests as if the concert is theirs and not the band’s, and then comes the execution… Two hours of prepared music an hour of compare speech reading from the booklet everyone has on his seat and then the ultimate occasional speech by the president, the minister attending the activity and all. I am not against of having speeches during the feast/annual concert, as it is the time they can address the society members and those present during feast time, but for the love of all, do not use it to stick it to the other side. The concert is the showcase of the band and not a political rally, apart from the fact that, as we have been saying, the audience does not engage for more than one hour of music let alone two.

Apart from the poor advertising techniques used, the local band clubs have a big wall of indifference by the most important factor in advertising, the local Media. We do get the one-off interviews to portray our work, but the media, especially, tv talk shows, give us a hard time in our quest to show the real work we do. Moreover, we get slammed with all the stupid things that happen in our feasts as if they are done by those that work hard all year round to achieve better results and make their utmost to provide a professional music service. The first thing we need is a good solid advert on prime time to support the cause of band clubs in order to start the “renaissance” of wind bands and the important role they have in each and every society. I think this can be done by the Għaqda Każini tal- Banda, which can have the means and the ability to influence more, rather than one club at a time.

 

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Grand Anniversary Concert – Għaqda Mużikali Marija Bambina, Banda Vittorja Naxxar – May 2014 – Ritratt: iCam Studios – Matthew Cutajar

 

 

To be honest, we are seeing good prospects, especially when we have those one-of funded concerts. The societies that tend to have the concert funded, show a great deal of effort to publicize the event, and the quality shows even during the execution. This year, we just had a great concert at the Mdina Cathedral, by St.Peter Band Club of Birzebbugia, where you could see posters flying out on Facebook, interviews on TVs and all that is worth. The result was a packed Cathedral and great performance, at least that is what I heard from reliable and unbiased sources. Like this, we have tens of other examples which are encouraging. What I mean is that an effort is being done to change things around. The funny side of it is that the effort is being done by the small clubs or well-cultured societies that do not boast of their greatness but let anyone else say that it for them.

What we really need is a good strategy, in order to get things going right and get the right attention. We need to start using professional services and not be ok with amateurish designs in order to be taken seriously. We just need to play it right.

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