On being in a section

I have totally cribbed Lauren's titling style.

This has been floating around my head for a while. I don’t really have anything substantive to say about it, but I want to throw it out into the ether just to see what happens to it.

For a while a couple of years ago, I was the de facto section leader in the AWCB. I’ve never really had any sort of official post in the band, which makes me unique among the people who have been there as long as I have, at least as far as I know. At this point, I kind of run sectionals, but that’s unofficial, and mostly because the more qualified folks plain don’t want to do it. Or maybe they just want to stroke my ego a little bit so I’ll whine less, I’m not sure. But during the time that I was the de facto section leader, I boiled my expectations down to three rules:

1. Tell me what you’re going to do.
2. Do what you said you’re going to do.
3. Don’t be a jerk.
D. Do good, don’t suck.

In my time in the band, we’ve essentially kicked somebody out for violating rule 3, but that’s it. We’ve had some troubles here and there with the other two- and I’ve certainly had my share of violating all three- but I think, in general, they cover just about the whole range of things that can go wrong in a community band. The last “rule” is as much a section motto as a rule; I’m really not sure it belongs there, which is why it’s “D.” instead of “4.”. But it’s essentially the “break a leg” of the AWCB trombone section, as well as a one sentence embodiment of the other three rules, our own succinct summary of our ethic. I don’t remember where it came from, but I remember it coming up a lot around the time that I was playing a lot of gigs outside the AWCB with a trumpet player and our then bass trombonist, and I’m pretty sure that’s where it stuck to the trombone section mythos.

I’ve been in a number of leadership positions in a number of organizations, most of which had huge lists of work rules and ethics codes and all sorts of ridiculous things like that. I think we get along fine with our three. Or four.

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