Want to join the band?
Hi! Thanks for your interest in joining the marching band. For you to know us better, here's what the marching band will expect of you as a new person, so you can see if you feel comfortable with this. We hope you will decide to join us! If so, talk to a member of the band, or contact us by email.
Our reason for existing as a group is described in our mission statement. The band is a political project and for it to be worth your time you should either already be engaged politically or be interested in becoming so. If this just isn't your thing, you'll probably find most of our gigs really boring.
Bringing music to public spaces is a worthy project in its own right but it's not enough for us; we want to actively work to call attention to injustice and celebrate popular resistance and solidarity. That means taking our message into the streets, or wherever necessary to force the powers that be to pay attention to social movements.
You should either already know your instrument or be ready to learn. If you haven't played before you'll have to spend some time practising. Fair warning, especially if you've never played any other instrument before, this is going to take you a while. We're here to help by making a safe space for you to learn, if you really want to learn your instrument. We're happy to give you tips, but if you're serious you might also consider paying a professional teacher for some lessons, if that's something you can afford. Mostly, we'd like you to listen and try to fit in musically with the group, and remember that it's always better to honk and squeak your way through a song than to not even try. Our goal is to make it possible for musicians with different levels of experience to participate, including beginners, so don't be shy.
We have no tolerance for people prone to racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic behaviour/comments/jokes. We want this to be as safe a space as possible, so if someone does or says something which contributes to that not being the case for you, and you're not comfortable with calling them on it in front of the group or one-on-one, please talk to someone about it and we promise to take it seriously.
That someone is usually your buddy. We've created a buddy system to facilitate safe spaces, both for newcomers and everyone else. Your buddy is the one who will explain all the informal little realities of the band to you, who will point you in the right directions, and let you know of meeting times and practices at first. If you are having difficulties, you can talk to him or her. Your buddy is also who the others are going to go see if they are having difficulties with you, so that things can get better. A buddy is usually someone who has been in the band long enough to understand how its « engrenage » (gears) work. And if you are uncomfortable with your buddy, then by all means, talk to someone you feel more comfortable with.
Our band's official languages (for now) are English, French, and franglais, but especially franglais. If you only speak one of these now, or if you speak both English and French but don't yet mix them up when talking, we'd like to help you change that so you can contribute to making a space where people can express themselves in the language of their choice, and so that you can understand both the anglo and the franco jokes. If you don't understand something that was said, please ask someone to repeat it, speak more slowly, or translate for you.
When first joining the band, take the time to observe the dynamics, listen to the rhythm of the group, feel our groove. Join us first through music, then singing, then talking, then action.
No-one could possibly attend every single marching band related activity, so we don't expect you to either. That said we normally expect you to attend at least a few practices before playing gigs with us, and to really become part of our group, you should try to attend our meetings too.
In meetings, we make decisions by consensus to make sure everyone's opinion is heard, instead of letting the majority rule. We use the mailing list to check in with people who didn't attend, so that everyone has a chance to raise an objection if it's important to them. If you've never been in a group that makes decisions by consensus before, ask us what this involves, or just sit and listen at your first meeting to see how we work.
Welcoming new people and becoming a member of the band
Your friend would love to join the marching band? Someone asked you if they could play with us? Great! Here are the steps to follow to make it work.
1 – The CIE is a political, activist, and collective musical project. Ask the new person to read the mission statement on our website. It's also a good time to describe what we do. Your friend agrees with the mission statement and is still eager to join? It's time to ask the person what instrument they want to play, their comfort level with that instrument, and to check in with the band.
2 – Check with the section. Before inviting the person to their first pratice, it's important to make sure that there's room for them in their instrument's section. For lots of reasons, a section might decide that they're already as big as they can be (eg. there are enough of the same kind of instrument, or the section feels they need to become more solid before accepting a new person). An email should be sent on the list to inform all members of the section. If the section decides they're ready to accept a new person, they'll choose one of their members to be a buddy to help accompany the new member in the band.
3 – Check with the band. Once the section has said to the group that they're ready to take on a new member and a buddy has been chosen, it's time to check in with the band. The CIE seeks a balance between its different sections: melody (trumpets, accordions, clarinets, etc), bass (trombones, tubas, etc) and percussion (bass drum, snare drum, etc). Some instruments have a larger influence on the group's sound. This question should be asked at the end of a practice AND should be sent on the list to make sure everyone has been consulted. Band members have a week to respond or to ask to discuss the question at a meeting. If there are no objections, the new person can be invited to their first practice.
The person's buddy should be available to respond to the new person's questions and is responsible for informing them of the time and location of the first four pratices (or meetings).
4 – Becoming a member of the CIE. At the end of their fourth practice (or meeting), the new person can ask to become a member of the CIE. As a member, they have an account on the website and are subscribed to the mailing list. The person is also invited to take part in the democratic process of the group. Their buddy will still be available for the new member if they have any questions.