Rhyl Scout & Guide Band

Disqualification Correspondence
(Last Updated: 11/11/02)

{Email List}

The following are complete, verbatim copies of correspondence between Rhyl Scout & Guide Band and either The Stone Contest Organiser or The TYMBA Committee. The original documents are available for inspection, should anyone wish to do so. The comments in italics in the list below are only intended as an indication of content - please read the actual text for full details. The documents are in the following chronological sequence:-

#01 - Letter from TYMBA to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 08/06/02
Copy of Constitution/Rules; Instruction to write to Stone Contest Organiser
#02 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to Stone Contest Organiser 13/06/02
The Appeal
#03 - Letter from Stone Contest Organiser to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 01/07/02
‘No Comment’ on validity of AGM; repeat of original decision without explanation
#04 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to Stone Contest Organiser 07/07/02
Request for justification and explanation of decision
#05 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to TYMBA Chairman 07/07/02
Complaint about Stone’s lack of justification; challenge of validity of AGM
#06 - Letter from Stone Contest Organiser to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 11/07/02
Another definition of ‘piece of music’; no justification for equating conducting and hand signals
#07 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to Stone Contest Organiser 22/07/02
Repeat Request for justification and explanation of decision
#08 - Letter from Stone Contest Organiser to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 30/07/02
Run out of patience; still no justification
#09 - Letter from TYMBA Secretary to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 11/08/02
Admission of inquorate AGM, deliberate continuation, intention to avoid further discussion
#10 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to Stone Contest Organiser 18/08/02
Regret lack of interest and justification of interpretation.
#11 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to TYMBA Secretary 18/08/02
Accusation of TYMBA misconduct on at least four counts
#12 - Open Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 15/09/02
General information about AGM
#13 - Open Letter from TYMBA Chairman 10/10/02
Repeat admission of facts; attempted justification; quotation out of context
#14 - Letter from TYMBA Chairman to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 10/10/02
Repeat admission of facts; refusal to accept impact; playdown of meeting
#15 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to TYMBA Chairman 15/10/02
Refutations; promise of suggestions for resolution
#16 - Open Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 22/10/02
Report of successful meeting; recommendations
#17 - Open Letter from TYMBA Committee to All Bands 24/10/02
Announcement of SGM; a few half-truths; bad advice for future
#18 - Notice of Special General Meeting from TYMBA Committee 24/10/02
Almost Rhyl's proposal; extra item to ratify and backdate AGM business
#19 - Open Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 11/11/02
Reasons for not ratifying OR backdating AGM business
#20 - "Rules Issues" from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 11/11/02
Questions to ask about rules before deciding to adopt or reject
#21 - "Facts & Fantasies" from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 11/11/02
Some Facts & Fantasies about the whole subject

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Member Band E-mail Address
Bodicote Royal British Legion bodicoteband@btinternet.com
Bournemouth Scout Band timpollett@bournemouth-scout-band.co.uk
4th Bramhall (St Michael’s) Scout & Guide Band johnwood82@hotmail.com
Brentwood Drum Corps drumcorps@freenetname.co.uk
Brentwood Royal British Legion Youth Band info@brentwoodlegionband.co.uk
Bristol Battalion, Girls & Boys Life Brigade  
Burgess Hill Marching Youth n.buxton@btinternet.com
Cambridge Marching Band marchingband@cusu.cam.ac.uk ???
Chesham All Girls Band anne@cagb.demon.co.uk
Christchurch Ashton CL & CG Brigade  
Christchurch Roxeth & Harrow CL & CG Brigade martinhissey@talk21.com
3rd Davyhulme Scout & Guide Band dennis@yarwoodd.fsnet.co.uk
Darwen & District Scout & Guide Band  
Dolphin Marching Band jleonard@zoom.co.uk
Halesowen Scout Band paulw26@aol.com
Haverettes Girls Band sean.walsh2@ntlworld.com
Havering Marching Militaire havering.marching.militaire@virgin.net
Heath Hayes Scout & Guide Band dean.haycocks@btinternet.com
1st Hook Scout & Guide Band michael.creffield@xko.co.uk
Hornchurch Drum & Trumpet Corps mlongdiver@aol.com
Horndean Marching Band  
5th Leek St Mary’s Scout & Guide Band  
10th Leicester Scout & Guide Band 10thleicester1stsyston@funky-drummer.co.uk
Military Music Re-Enactors Society  
1st Moreton BB & GB Band (Wirral Sound) b.j.mckay@btinternet.com
Northampton Scout Band northamptonscoutband@yahoo.co.uk
St Peter’s CL & CG Brigade, Chorley  
St Peter’s, Whetsone  
Pelsall Scout & Guide Band  
Peninsula Marching Band peninsula.band@ntlworld.com.
Prince of Wales Marching Band  
"The QuaterJacks" - Dorset Youth Marching Band  
1st Redhill Scout & Guide Band  
Redhill Crusaders daveedge@bandmaster.freeserve.co.uk
Romford Drum & Trumpet Corps  
Royal Leamington Spa M.Y.B.  
Rubery Youth Marching Band petemaybury@ruberyymb.org.uk
Rhyl Scout & Guide Band bandmaster@rhylscoutandguideband.org.uk
Southwark Marching Brass  
Spen Valley Scout & Guide Band joanna@finbar1.freeserve.co.uk
1st Southend District Girls Brigade  
Standish, St Wilfred’s CL & CG Brigade  
St Mary’s, Beverly CL & CG Brigade  
Stone Scout & Guide Band stone.band@btinternet.com
Surbiton Royal British Legion surbiton.band@lineone.net
Talbot Corps of Drums talbotcod@aol.com
Thurmaston Marching Brass richard-warrington@bungalow37.freeserve.co.uk
17th Tonbridge Scout & Guide Band martinrapley@lineone.net
1st Totton Boys & Girls Brigade  
T.S. Unity  
Vectis Corps of Drums steven.tutton@btopenworld.com
Walthamstow Scout & Guide Band band@e17scouts.freeserve.co.uk
Waterlooville Y.M.B. waterloovilleymb@howards.waitrose.com
Warwick Girls wsc@connect-2.co.uk
Wigston Scout & Guide Band  
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#01 - Letter from TYMBA to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 08/06/02

8th June 2002

Dear Jeff,

Please find enclosed photocopies of the Rule Book as requested.

These are updated to include any changes up to the 2000 AGM, and therefore need to be read in conjunction with the enclosed copies of 2000 & 2001 AGM minutes.

With regard to your disqualification at the Stone Contest, Your band was disqualified for a breach of Category "A" Rule 6 as amended at the 2002 AGM, the precise reason for the disqualification relates to the Drum Major Conducting the band for more than the permitted 8 bars. I hope this answers your queries.

I would like to draw your attention to the new rule inserted at the 2001 AGM, concerning disputes, I assume that you have not officially objected about the decision to the Stone Contest Organiser as per the rule as I have not received a copy of the objection at this time. If you intend to appeal to Tymba over this incident then I respectfully ask that the appeal is lodged within 7 days

If you require any further help or information please do not hesitate to ask

Regards

Dave Wood

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#02 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to Stone Contest Organiser 13/06/02

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17, South Drive
Rhyl
LL18 4SU
13 June 2002

Bryan Pickering
Contest Organiser 2002
7 Foxwood Close
Stone
ST15 0LN

Copies:

TYMBA Chairman
TYMBA Secretary
TYMBA Contest Panel Chairman

Dear Sir,

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band Disqualification

We have at last received a copy of the TYMBA Constitution and Rules, and a statement from the TYMBA Contest Panel Chairman saying that we must address any appeal to the Contest Organiser. This appeal is accordingly addressed to you.

We have been unable to formulate an appeal until now as the precise nature of the alleged breach was unknown to us, and we were not in possession of the full set of rules to know what other rules or constitutional issues might be relevant to an appeal.

The pertinent facts of the disqualification, as we believe them to be, are as follows:-

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band was disqualified at the Stone contest of 19 May 2002 after two bands (and we later understand, also the TYMBA observer) complained about an alleged breach of Rule 6, recently amended by the 2002 TYMBA Annual General Meeting. We were not told at the time of the disqualification exactly which aspect(s) of the rule were alleged to have been breached, nor were we presented with any evidence, nor were we invited to respond. We were not told what, if any consultations with the adjudicators took place before the decision to disqualify was taken. The Contest Organiser, although requested by our Drum Major to do so, refused to announce the disqualification over the public address system to enlighten the other bands and the spectators, implying a lack of confidence in the decision.

Our appeal against the disqualification is based on the contention that no aspect of Rule 6 was breached by Rhyl Scout & Guide Band or its Drum Major, and especially not that referring to the eight bar limit.

The text of Rule 6 (taken from the AGM minutes) is as follows:-

"The Drum Major may not place the mace on the ground, or deliberately release his grasp of the mace in order to conduct the band. Hand signals may be used at the commencement of a piece of music and at the end of a piece of music in order the start and finish the piece. The maximum length of any conducting will be 8 bars."

Much has been written on the TYMBA website regarding the merits, or otherwise, of restricting conducting, and many people appear to have interpreted the rule according to their own beliefs and assumed the allegation to be true, thereby prejudicing our case. However, these individual beliefs and interpretations of the rule are not the point at issue.

It is not relevant what the general members of TYMBA think the rule should mean. It is not relevant what the members at the 2002 AGM thought they were voting for when the rule was passed. It is not relevant what the committee members who drafted the rule intended it to mean. It is not relevant what the people who lodged the complaint believed the rule to mean. All that matters is the ACTUAL WORDING of the rule.

We have been informed by the Contest Panel Chairman that the only aspect of the rule which we are alleged to have breached is "the Drum Major conducting the band for more than the permitted eight bars", that is, the fourth sentence in the rule.

The rule wording specifies the maximum length of ANY conducting. This can only be reasonably interpreted to mean that there can be more than one session of conducting, but that none of these sessions may exceed the stated maximum length. Compare phrases like, for example "the maximum length ...of any unauthorised absence from work, ...of any stay in the car park, ...of any drumstick", etc. Indeed, the Contest Panel Chairman himself has already acknowledged that there can be more than one session of conducting in a response to a TYMBA website posting (17:08:16 on 23 May 2002) where he said: "...there is no problem here, 8 bars at the beginning and 8 bars at the end of each piece is the maximum allowed to be conducted, a piece of music is deemed to have finished when there is a gap before the next piece starts".

If the rule had been intended, for example, to limit the conducting to only one session, or to limit the total number of bars of all sessions combined, then it could easily have done so with the addition of only a few extra words. It does not.

In view of the rule, the Drum Major was very careful at the contest not to exceed eight bars of conducting in any one session, although there was more than one session. In addition, he did not place his mace on the ground, release his grasp of the mace, or use hand signals. The rule, therefore, was not breached. No evidence has been presented to us to indicate that the Drum Major did actually conduct for more than eight bars at a time. Indeed, without simultaneously following a copy of the music, anybody watching and listening would be hard pressed to know the actual time signature in use at any point and, thereby, to be able to count bars, since not all music has four ‘beats’ to the bar. In view of the importance of this matter and the actual wording of the rule, it is scarcely acceptable for a complainant simply to say words to the effect that "the Drum Major did a lot of conducting".

Furthermore, the rule does not make any statement about where conducting may or may not be employed, nor about the interval between sessions of conducting, which could, therefore, actually be adjacent.

The text of the website posting referred to above also mentions the beginning and end of a ‘piece of music’ in connection with conducting, in an attempt to limit the number of sessions. However, these words are only mentioned in the rule (in the third sentence) in connection with ‘hand signals’, not with conducting. Hand signals are a generally recognised means of communication between a Drum Major and his band, and are quite distinct from conducting. Since the rule twice uses the word ‘conducting’, the introduction of another term can only reasonably be interpreted as referring to something other than ‘conducting’.

It should be noted that the rule, in any case, does not adequately control the use of ‘hand signals’ since the term ‘piece of music’ is not a standard musical term and not defined in the rule or elsewhere in the rule book. The Contest Panel Chairman has expressed his personal opinion in the above website posting that ‘pieces of music’ are separated by a ‘gap’, although he does not say how long or short that gap should be. A number of alternative definitions could very easily be proposed and justified, ranging from the entire presentation down to an individual musical ‘phrase’, with or without a gap. The rule, however, makes no such definition. If a rule is to be prescriptive, the terms must be properly defined so as to leave no ambiguity. If a rule requires ‘interpretation’ or judgement to be exercised, it surely must become a ‘guideline’ (ie category ‘B’ rule). It has been suggested by the Contest Panel Chairman that, if clarification were required, it should have been sou ght. There was no need for this, since the aspects of rule 6 referring to conducting are quite clear, as explained above.

It should be further noted that the TYMBA Constitution defines a quorum for an Annual General Meeting as requiring a minimum of 15 Class A members or half of the Class A membership, whichever is the lower, where Class A members are Youth Bands and Registered Contest Organisations. Adjudicators, Recognised Contest Organisations, Individuals and Honorary Members are Class B members. Only Class A members are entitled to vote. The minutes of the AGM 2002 at which this rule was passed show that only nine bands (Burgess Hill, Havering, Hook, Moreton, Northampton, Spen Valley, Thurmaston, Tonbridge and Waterlooville) were represented together with the ‘South East of England Contest’ (Class A?) and the ‘National Band Advisor - Scout Association’ (Class B?). It would appear that the AGM might well have been inquorate, and, if so, the amended rule 6 would not be valid.

It is an important matter of principle to us (and we would hope to all bands) that we should not be penalised for an activity which some TYMBA members evidently disapprove of, but which does not contravene the wording of the rules. This matter cannot simply be ignored in the interests of "getting on with life and not making a fuss", since, if the actual wording of the rules cannot be relied upon, the whole basis of the contests is undermined. There is no question of it being ‘unacceptable’ to ‘push the rules to the limit’ - rules should be crystal clear and are either complied with or not. Guidelines are there for those cases when judgement needs to be exercised, and adjudicators are provided to carry out this task.

We trust that, upon reflection and consideration of all the points raised above, and leaving aside any ‘political’ issues, you will conclude that there was, in fact, no basis for the original disqualification, that it shall immediately be withdrawn, and that any trophies which would have been awarded to the Rhyl Scout & Guide Band shall at once be transferred to them.

Yours faithfully,

for Rhyl Scout & Guide Band

Jeff JohnsonNick Coope
BandmasterDrum Major and Musical Director
jeff_e_johnson@hotmail.comnick_coope@hotmail.com

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#03 - Letter from Stone Contest Organiser to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 01/07/02

7 Foxwood Close
Stone
Staffordshire
ST15 0LN

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17 South Drive
LL18 4SU
1st July 2002

Dear Jeff,

With reference to your letter of 13th June 2002 regarding the disqualification of Rhyl Scout and Guide Band at the Stone competition this year.

At a meeting of the Contest organising committee held on 30th June 2002, the content of your letter was discussed.

We considered the last section of the letter first, ie. the validity of the AGM for the implementation of rule changes. As the contest was not represented at the AGM we are unable to comment on this matter and it should be referred to the TYMBA Committee.

Following the AGM notice of the rule change was sent out to bands and contests were informed of the change to be implemented for the 2002 competitions. The Stone competition is approved by TYMBA and operates under the rules in place at the time.

Having reviewed the representations made by competing Bandmasters to the organising committee and the Contest Observer we remain of the opinion that Rhyl Scout & Guide Band was in breach of Rule 6 and that disqualification was the only option available and that the results as announced should stand.

Should you still disagree with the decision then representation should be made to the TYMBA Committee which will meet in the middle of July

Yours sincerely

Bryan Pickering
Contest Organiser

cc.

Ian Hubbert TYMBA Chairman
Dave Woods TYMBA Contest Committee Chairman
Dave Thornton TYMBA Secretary
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#04 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to Stone Contest Organiser 07/07/02

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17, South Drive
Rhyl
LL18 4SU
7 July 2002

Bryan Pickering
Contest Organiser 2002
7 Foxwood Close
Stone
ST15 0LN

Copies:

TYMBA Chairman
TYMBA Secretary
TYMBA Contest Panel Chairman

Dear Sir,

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band Disqualification

We have received your letter of 1 July with utter dismay, not so much at your conclusion, which, given the political background, was not unexpected, but at the paucity of explanation and justification.

We took a considerable amount of time and effort to make, in our opinion, a very good case as to why Rule 6 was not breached, giving a logical and detailed analysis of the reasonable interpretation of the exact wording of the rule, running into more than two pages of a four page letter. The part of your response which relates to this topic covers a mere three lines, and addresses absolutely none of these issues. It simply restates the sentiment which you expressed on the day of the competition, giving no more justification this time than was given then.

Under circumstances like these, where an alleged infraction is hotly disputed, it is highly unsatisfactory, not only for ourselves, but for the membership at large, that such a cursory dismissal of an appeal should be made by a contest organiser. Since the very meaning of a rule is in dispute, it surely behoves you to make an equally detailed and logical statement as to why you believe that each of the points raised in our appeal is not valid. This should not present you with too much difficulty since the points are very clearly laid out in our letter, and you and your committee have considered them and must have disagreed with them all to arrive at your conclusion.

Furthermore, after all this time, it is disgraceful that still no clear statement has yet been made as to exactly what actions the Drum Major is alleged to have executed which constitute the infringement. Is he alleged to have conducted for more than eight bars at a time, and, if so, for how many bars, and at what point(s) in the music? How were the complainants able to count bars with this degree of precision? It is scarcely usual, or acceptable, in any form of dispute, for those who stand accused not to be informed of the details of the alleged offence. At the very least, a statement in writing is required from the complainants as to exactly what they claim to have seen, together with any evidence that you have. How else is one supposed to refute an allegation? If a band is to be publicly accused of breaking a rule, let those who accuse equally publicly declare their evidence.

Your letter states that disqualification was ‘the only option’ open to you. We would point out that Rule 12, in both the original and amended versions, gives you an option to consult with the adjudicators and deduct points. Furthermore, the Addendum to the Category A rules only states that disqualification ‘may’ (not even ‘should’) be considered. Quite clearly it was not the only course of action available. It would be interesting to hear, therefore, why you felt it necessary to adopt this extreme position, given the degree of uncertainty over the alleged breach.

You suggest that further representation should be made to the TYMBA committee. However, as explained in our letter, the TYMBA Contest Panel Chairman himself insisted that we should make the appeal to you, as contest organiser, but you have provided no additional information to prompt such a referral. Nor, to our surprise, have you suggested that you believe detailed interpretation of a TYMBA rule to be outside the remit of a contest organiser; instead, you and your committee have made a second pronouncement on the rule. You say that the TYMBA Committee meets in mid July: we therefore ask that you provide the detailed reasoning discussed above in support of your decision as a matter of urgency, so that it can be submitted to that committee.

We shall, of course, be taking up the matter of the possible lack of a quorum at the AGM with the TYMBA committee, since you, rightly in our opinion, regard it as outside your jurisdiction. Nevertheless, we had hoped that, because it has a direct bearing on the running of your contests for this and future years, you would have already taken it up with the TYMBA committee yourself. However, even if the AGM were to be declared inquorate, and the rules passed at it therefore invalid, that is no reason why you should not explain your reasoning over the disqualification.

The example you have set in dealing with this matter does not bode well for the future of band contests. How can any band reasonably be expected to compete when, at any time, a secret objection may be raised and the organiser may disqualify the band without having to provide any justification whatsoever? The outcome of this issue, and, more particularly, the clandestine way in which it has so far been conducted, will no doubt be keenly observed by the membership of the Association. We trust that you will now set a new standard of openness and declare your reasoning.

We await a timely response with interest.

Yours faithfully,

for Rhyl Scout & Guide Band

Jeff JohnsonNick Coope
BandmasterDrum Major and Musical Director
jeff_e_johnson@hotmail.comnick_coope@hotmail.com

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#05 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to TYMBA Chairman 07/07/02

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17, South Drive
Rhyl
LL18 4SU
7 July 2002

Ian Hubert
TYMBA Chairman
35 Woodford Road
Kinson
Bournemouth
BH11 9EU

Copies:

TYMBA Secretary
TYMBA Contest Panel Chairman

Dear Sir,

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band Disqualification

We have sent you a copy of our appeal to the Stone contest organiser, and we understand that he has sent you a copy of his reply. We have also sent you a copy of our response to him.

You will note, from that correspondence, that we are extremely dissatisfied with the way in which this business has been handled. No one has made a clear, professional statement to us of exactly what the Drum Major is alleged to have done. Only a series of inadequate, half-line statements has been forthcoming along the unhelpful lines of: "You broke rule 6", "you used excessive conducting" or "conducting the band for more than the permitted eight bars". Our appeal has had to anticipate what possible alternative interpretations of the wording of the rules might have been made in order to justify the accusation, since we contend that the actual wording of Rule 6 permits conducting for any number of eight bar sessions.

We have also been made to wait an inordinate length of time to receive a photocopy of the rules (why could this not have been done years ago when we first asked, or on any of the several subsequent occasions?). You will see from our appeal letter that knowledge of the full set of rules was important to framing the appeal.

We have expended a considerable amount of time and effort in formulating this appeal and have always attempted to put forward clear and logically reasoned arguments. The response from the Stone contest organiser is singularly lacking in new information, and any form of explanation or justification as to why he believes an infringement occurred. We have asked for this information, but common courtesy surely dictates that it should already have been supplied. You, as Chairman of the Association, will appreciate that the fair application of rules is an extremely important issue which cannot lightly be dismissed, and that we, and other members of the Association who are following this case, will only conclude that there is something to hide if an adequate explanation and justification is not forthcoming. This is hardly in the interests of the Association.

It is our opinion, which, of course, we are currently unable to justify due to lack of open discussion, that the Stone organiser, his committee, and many other people who have expressed an opinion on this issue, are still basing their opinions on what they think or hope the rule was intended to mean, not on what it actually says. If one cannot rely on what a rule actually says, the whole basis of the Association and its contests is undermined.

It has surprised us that the Contest Panel Chairman initially informed us that the appeal should be made to the local contest organiser at all, in view of the fact that the very meaning of a rule was also in dispute. He referred to an unnumbered rule passed at the 2001 AGM (of which we were unaware, not having a copy of the rules); however it does not actually appear to identify to whom the appeal should be made. We have some sympathy with the contest organiser that he should be called upon to arbitrate on the meaning of a TYMBA rule. We have little doubt, therefore, that you will shortly be called upon to do this task. However, we have no sympathy for his rather ‘heavy-handed’ reaction to the alleged infringement, his refusal to announce the decision over the public address system, or his lack of explanation and justification for his actions.

The second purpose of this letter is to take up with you the issue of whether there was a quorum present at the 2002 AGM (which passed the rule in question). If the meeting was not quorate, then we assume that those rules which were voted upon would be invalid and the previous wording would remain in force.

The salient facts, as far as we know them, were set out in our original appeal letter, but we repeat them here for your convenience.

The TYMBA Constitution defines a quorum for an Annual General Meeting as a minimum of 15 Class A members or half of the Class A membership, whichever is the lower, where Class A members are Youth Bands and Registered Contest Organisations. It defines Adjudicators, Recognised Contest Organisations, Individuals and Honorary Members as Class B members. Only Class A members are entitled to vote. TYMBA Committee members are separately mentioned, and a minimum of four is required to be present. Obviously only one Class A membership is associated with each band; any additional band personnel present at the meeting would only be Class B members, at best.

The official minutes of the AGM 2002 show that only nine bands (Burgess Hill, Havering, Hook, Moreton, Northampton, Spen Valley, Thurmaston, Tonbridge and Waterlooville) were represented, together with the ‘South East of England Contest’ and the ‘National Band Advisor - Scout Association’. It is not clear (to us) whether the ‘South East of England Contest’ is a ‘registered’ (Class A) or only a ‘recognised’ (Class B) contest organisation, but we assume that the Scout Association advisor is, at best, an ordinary Class B member. The 2002 AGM Minutes gives the current membership as 56 bands, these being Class A members. A quorum, therefore, requires at least 15 Class A members to be present. It would appear that only nine, or possibly ten, were actually present.

We look forward to a statement from you on this issue, and, if you believe that the meeting was, in fact, quorate, we trust you will be more forthcoming than the Stone contest organiser in providing the evidence.

Yours faithfully,

for Rhyl Scout & Guide Band

Jeff JohnsonNick Coope
BandmasterDrum Major and Musical Director
jeff_e_johnson@hotmail.comnick_coope@hotmail.com

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#06 - Letter from Stone Contest Organiser to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 11/07/02

7 Foxwood Close
Stone
Staffordshire
ST15 0LN

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17 South Drive
LL18 4SU
11th July 2002

Dear Jeff,

In response to your letter of 7th July.

The decision which was made at Stone Competition has nothing whatsoever to do with politics, it is about running a competition under a set of rules which apply to all competitors and taking action against those who break them, deliberately or otherwise and thereby gain an advantage.

At Rhyl Scout & Guide Band you have a Musical Director who has the ability to take a number of bars of music from a variety of different pieces of music and arrange them into another piece of music for your display. These arranged pieces of music contain many sections of a few bars, which have been extracted from well known pieces of music such as William Tell Overture and 1812 Overture. If each of these sections of music is no more than 16 bars long then the interpretation of the rule which you wish to adopt would allow the Drum Major to conduct for the whole of the arranged piece. This could in fact be for the whole of your display if the arrangement was 15 minutes long.

The interpretation of the Rule by the Stone Competition Committee is that the Drum Major could conduct for the first 8 and last 8 bars of the arranged piece only, not at the beginning and end of each clement of music used to make up the arrangement.

Contrary to your comment in the 5th paragraph of your 7th July letter, there is no uncertainty over the alleged breach of the rule. By his own admission on the day, your Drum Major conducted the band for more than just the 8 bars at the beginning and end of the arranged pieces of music. He was particularly adamant that he should conduct at the changes of tempo within the piece.

As far as an alternative to disqualification is concerned under Rule 12, there is no guidance on the level of penalty to be imposed nor which elements of the marking scheme should be used for

Yours sincerely

Bryan Pickering
Contest Organiser

cc.

Ian Hubbert TYMBA Chairman
Dave Woods TYMBA Contest Committee Chairman
Dave Thornton TYMBA Secretary
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#07 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to Stone Contest Organiser 22/07/02

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17, South Drive
Rhyl
LL18 4SU
22 July 2002

Bryan Pickering
Contest Organiser 2002
7 Foxwood Close
Stone
ST15 0LN

Copies:

TYMBA Chairman
TYMBA Secretary
TYMBA Contest Panel Chairman

Dear Sir,

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band Disqualification

We have received your letter of 11 July and again are dismayed that you have still failed to address any of the arguments which we put forward in support of our appeal. Only by explaining why you believe these arguments to be invalid can you hope to justify your repeated contention that our appeal is not upheld.

You refer to various ‘interpretations’ of Rule 6 which you ascribe to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band and to the Stone Competition Committee. A rule is only what the words say. It should not require ‘interpretation’. There can, of course, be occasions when the exercise of judgement is appropriate, for example, if the dispute were about whether the Drum Major conducted for nine bars or only seven, in which case, that could be an issue on which the field judges might have been asked to adjudicate. But you do not indicate that this is the point at issue, and we agree.

In this case, the dispute centres around whether or not the rule prohibits conducting other than at the beginning and end of a ‘piece of music’. It is our contention that conducting is permitted anywhere, provided that it does not extend to more than eight bars at a time. We have argued logically why this is so, and the salient points are repeated below. You have not addressed any of these arguments, nor have you provided any counter arguments to support your simple restatement that the rule restricts conducting to eight bars at the beginning and end of a piece of music.

In the continued absence of such reasoning from you, we can only conclude that you are assuming the rule simply to mean what you think it ought to mean, and paying scant attention to the actual wording of the rule. As we have pointed out before, it is an utterly hopeless state of affairs for competitive banding if the actual wording of rules cannot be relied upon, and contest organisers are free to announce, after a competition has taken place, that they have their own, different idea of what a rule means but can’t, or won’t, justify that opinion.

It may well be that the originators of the rule intended it to have the meaning you have so far assumed. It may well be that those who voted for it wished for such a rule. Equally, they may have thought it meant what we believe it actually says. There is little doubt that some members of TYMBA bands wish that the rule prohibited conducting altogether. These possibilities, though fascinating, are not relevant. Only the actual wording matters. If the rule is phrased in such a way that it does not say what the originator, and any number of other people would like it to say, that is unfortunate and, arguably, careless. The remedy is to redraft it and get the new version properly approved, not to try to add extra attributes to the meaning after the event.

Your letter demonstrates that you have either not properly read our appeal, or else not understood, or chosen to ignore, the arguments therein. Given your illustration of the typical construction of Rhyl Scout & Guide Band musical programmes, and particularly the one performed on the day in question, you credit us with wishing to adopt an ‘interpretation’ of the rule which permits conducting for the first and last eight bars of each section of music, which, if they were all no longer than 16 bars, would allow conducting for the whole programme. If you will re-read our appeal letter, you will see that this is not the case at all and is a gross misrepresentation.

We argued that the rule only refers to the commencement and end of a piece of music in relation to hand signals, not conducting. We pointed out that, since the rule already uses the term ‘conducting’ twice, the reference to a new term (‘hand signals’) can only be taken to mean something other than conducting. We also pointed out that the term ‘hand signals’ is already commonly recognised in banding to refer to a wide variety of control instructions, many not even associated with musical aspects (for example, to indicate a turning manoeuvre). Furthermore, the rule only limits ANY session of conducting to eight bars. It does not specify whether these sessions should be at the beginning, end or middle. It would, therefore, also apply to changes of tempo, wherever they occurred, provided that any session of conducting was limited to a maximum of eight bars. This is quite consistent with the Musical Director’s comments on the day, and all subsequent statements by him. In addition, the rule does not specify any minimum interval between these conducting sessions, which is the basis for the implication that conducting is permitted for the whole programme. Nevertheless, as indicated previously, in order not to press this particular aspect too closely, the Drum Major took great care not to conduct for more than eight bars at a time, which he was not obliged to do.

The Stone Contest Committee has chosen to ‘interpret’ the rule differently from the above, which we believe flows logically from the wording of the rule. Effectively, you have chosen to make no distinction between ‘conducting’ and ‘hand signals’, thereby limiting conducting to the beginning and ending of a ‘piece of music’. We would be grateful, therefore, if you would justify why the rule’s use of these two distinct terms, when it could so easily have used only one, and when these two terms are both in current use to means different things, should actually be taken to mean one and the same thing. It is scarcely adequate, under the circumstances, to suggest that this is in the nature of a simple lexical mistake by the drafter of the rule, and subsequently compounded by those who approved it. Even if that were true, it is the wording actually adopted which must be used, not the various intended meanings of a number of individuals, which can only be guess ed at.

The appeal pointed out inadequacies in the wording of the rule regarding hand signals, anticipating an attempt to apply this section to conducting. The rule does not define the term ‘piece of music’, and in common musical parlance it can, and does, mean a variety of things, from a complete symphony down to a short musical phrase of only a few notes - literally a ‘piece’ of music. You have chosen, again after the performance was completed, to define it as the whole of what you call an ‘arranged piece’. It is not clear from your letter how you determine where an arranged piece starts and ends, although you indicate that they are plural. We note that you have felt it necessary to include the word ‘arranged’ in your definition, even though this is not present in the wording of the rule.

Choosing a retrospective definition of the term ‘piece of music’, arranged or otherwise, is, at best, very arbitrary, and we believe, since it was not defined before the contest, that it is unreasonable and unprofessional to make a choice after the contest. The appropriate course of action would surely be to acknowledge publicly that the rule is unclear on this particular aspect and to notify the TYMBA committee so that they may resolve to have the wording formally amended at the first opportunity. Whilst this action should be taken as a matter of course whenever poor wording is brought to light, it is not applicable to this appeal unless you can satisfactorily demonstrate that hand signals and conducting are indistinguishable.

Since we have repeatedly asked for a clear statement of the alleged infringement, and your letter concentrates solely upon the issue of conducting at points other than ‘the beginning and end of the arranged pieces of music’, we now assume that this is the only alleged infringement. For this infringement to stand, we believe that you must conclusively demonstrate that conducting and hand signals cannot mean different things, provide a proper definition of ‘piece of music’ and justify why your choice is other than arbitrary, and also justify why it is reasonable to construct and adopt such a definition after the contest has taken place.

We maintain that disqualification was, in any case, inappropriate in view of the obviously unclear phrasing of the part of the rule which you believe to have been infringed (and which we contend refers only to hand signals anyway), the fact that this was a new rule not previously tested in competition, the fact that the Addendum to the rules only indicates that disqualification ‘may’ be considered (the underlining implying that it is expected to be an uncommon outcome), and that Rule 12 offers an alternative. The last sentence in your letter appears to be incomplete, but seems to suggest that you were unable to apply Rule 12 because of lack of guidance on the nature and level of penalty. This does not appear to have inhibited you regarding Rule 6.

Furthermore, since it has taken some considerable time for you to provide even the current incomplete and unjustified statement of the alleged offence, we are sceptical that this now bears any more than a passing resemblance to the actual words of the complainants on the day. No copy of their complaint has ever been supplied to us, and we very much doubt that they considered any of the issues which we have raised before making their complaint, or that these issues were considered by you before the decision to disqualify was taken. We are led to conclude, therefore, that this ongoing saga of your unclear statements and failure to respond to our reasoned and logical arguments is no more than an attempt to cover up and sustain an inappropriate decision taken in the heat of the moment.

We await a timely response with interest, and hope that you will at last address the issues raised.

Yours faithfully,

for Rhyl Scout & Guide Band

Jeff JohnsonNick Coope
BandmasterDrum Major and Musical Director
jeff_e_johnson@hotmail.comnick_coope@hotmail.com

{Contents List}


#08 - Letter from Stone Contest Organiser to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 30/07/02

7 Foxwood Close
Stone
Staffordshire
ST15 0LN

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17 South Drive
LL18 4SU
30th July 2002

Dear Jeff,

In response to your letter of 22nd July.

You may wish to write 3 & 4 page letters but I neither see the need nor have the inclination to respond in a similar vein.

In all competitions the organisers apply the rules as they interpret them not as individual contestants would wish them to be interpreted. In the case of the TYMBA rules and Rule 6 in particular, there is obviously more than one interpretation because if there wasn't you would not be objecting to being disqualified.

The organisers have applied the rules as they interpret them after considering the facts, which are:

As far as we are concerned this is a clear breach of Rule 6. The decision was made to disqualify on the day and none of your subsequent comments have given us reason to change that decision.

Stone Competition now regards this matter closed and you should pursue your appeal with the TYMBA Committee.

Yours sincerely

Bryan Pickering
Contest Organiser

cc.

Ian Hubbert TYMBA Chairman
Dave Woods TYMBA Contest Committee Chairman
Dave Thornton TYMBA Secretary
{Contents List}

#09 - Letter from TYMBA Secretary to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 11/08/02

Sec. David Thornton
28 Copeland Avenue
Tittensor
Stoke-on-Trent
ST12 9JA

Tel. 01782 373356

11 August, 2002

Mr. Jeff Johnson
Bandmaster
Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17 South Drive
Rhyl
Denbighshire
LL18 4SU

Dear Jeff,

At the recent meeting of the main committee of TYMBA the matter of Rhyl’s disqualification at the Stone Contest was discussed.

The following points were made:-

  1. The meeting to discuss the rules in January at Warwick was well attended with full discussions and it was decided then that the rules would simply be approved without further discussion at the AGM. Rhyl were not represented at the January meeting.
  2. We admit that the AGM was not quorate but it was decided to go ahead with it as some people had travelled considerable distances to be there and it was agreed that the rules would be accepted as the January meeting was quorate. Rhyl were not at that meeting either.
  3. On a purely personal viewpoint I consider the relevant rule was poorly drafted but other bands interpreted it in the spirit of what it meant and it was they who raised the complaint at Stone and hence action had to be taken.
  4. On the day it was dealt with by John Saunders (Contest Observer), Martin Watson (TYMBA Vice-Chairman) and Bryan Pickering (Contest Organiser) and it was decided that disqualification was the only appropriate action.
  5. This action has been subsequently backed by the TYMBA committee.
  6. Our Chairman has checked with banding experts and it is clear that a medley with several pieces together is regarded as a single entity with conducting only permissible at the beginning and end of the medley. This reflects exactly what Bryan Pickering stated in his last letter.

Yours sincerely

David Thornton
TYMBA Secretary

{Contents List}


#10 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to Stone Contest Organiser 18/08/02

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17, South Drive
Rhyl
LL18 4SU
18 Aug 2002

Bryan Pickering
Contest Organiser 2002
7 Foxwood Close
Stone
ST15 0LN

Copies:

TYMBA Chairman
TYMBA Secretary
TYMBA Contest Panel Chairman

Dear Sir,

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band Disqualification

We have received your letter of 30 July and note that, at last, you have taken the course of action which we expected you to take from the outset. You declare it to be obvious that there is more than one way of interpreting the Rule 6, and, naturally, you claim the right to interpret it in your own way. This immediately leads to the hopeless situation of each contest organiser being able to choose his own interpretation of a rule, moreover, after a contest has taken place. It would seem logical, therefore, for this clarification to have been immediately referred to TYMBA, who were responsible for the original wording, as soon as the issue arose. It is only the meaning of the rule which is in question. The actions of the Drum Major on the day have never been in dispute, apart from the ludicrous, but irrelevant, suggestion that he conducted for 75% of the time - that would have required him to conduct whilst both he and the band were on the march. It is lamentable that 10 we eks have elapsed before you came to this conclusion.

With regard to our writing multi-page letters, this is entirely because you have consistently failed to reply to the serious, logical arguments we put forward in our original appeal. It is our impression that an appeal of this kind requires each side to put forward arguments in support of its position and for the person judging the appeal to justify his decision, based on these arguments, whether the appeal is upheld or rejected. The fact that you represent the counsel for the prosecution, the judge, the jury and the executioner does not change the principle - it merely behoves you to be even more scrupulous in your procedure. Nevertheless, you have, time and again, simply restated the original decision without ever explaining the crucial aspect of why you believe the rule should be interpreted to prohibit conducting during the first and last eight bars of a piece of music when it clearly does not use those words.

We are sorry that you feel that an important point of principle, namely the meaning of contest rules and how to resolve a dispute over them, does not need discussing in detail, and that you do not have the inclination for it. We trust, for the sake of the Association, that you are in a small minority. We shall, of course, now pursue this matter with TYMBA directly.

Yours faithfully,

for Rhyl Scout & Guide Band

Jeff JohnsonNick Coope
BandmasterDrum Major and Musical Director
jeff_e_johnson@hotmail.comnick_coope@hotmail.com

{Contents List}


#11 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to TYMBA Secretary 18/08/02

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17, South Drive
Rhyl
LL18 4SU
18 August, 2002

David Thornton
TYMBA Secretary
28 Copeland Avenue
Tittensor
Stoke-on-Trent
ST12 9JA

Copies:

TYMBA Chairman
TYMBA Contest Panel Chairman

Dear Sir,

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band Disqualification

Thank you for your letter of 11 August. We are, frankly, amazed and extremely disturbed by the TYMBA committee’s blatant disregard for proper procedure and the rules of its own Constitution, whilst falsely accusing us of breaking a rule. However, we shall firstly deal with your numbered points in order. When we use the term ‘you’, we refer, of course, to the whole TYMBA committee, of which the Secretary writes as the spokesperson and representative.

  1. You say that the rules meeting in January was well attended. How many of the 50 or so Class A members attended that meeting? By what authority does an ad hoc meeting convened [words taken from the meeting notice] ‘to formulate the content of any rule changes that the meeting may think is required into proposals to put before the AGM in March’ decide that no further discussion will take place at the AGM? Surely, all they are empowered to do is, indeed, to place the proposals, duly seconded, before the AGM. Any attempt to suppress further discussion at the AGM would be a form of corruption. As a further point, the final remark by the Contest Panel Chairman in the meeting notice (‘If you do not reply I will assume that you will not be attending and therefore agree with whatever proposals are put forward’) is a very unprofessional attempt at bullying the membership.
  2. Rhyl were indeed not represented at that meeting because the date was changed at the last minute to one on which we could not attend. We had previously indicated our intention to attend on the original date. No minutes of that rules meeting have been issued - we would be very pleased to see a copy.

  3. You admit that the AGM was not quorate and that you nevertheless decided, on the day, to ‘go ahead’ with the AGM. The committee, nor even the whole of those Class A members who actually attended the meeting, does not have the power to declare that any business transacted will be valid. The whole purpose of having a quorum defined in the Constitution is precisely to prevent this kind of manoeuvring of the business of the Association by a minority.
  4. We cannot believe that every person on the TYMBA committee was unaware of this elementary requirement, and, therefore, can only conclude that,

    1. public knowledge of the lack of a quorum at the AGM was deliberately suppressed
    2. the committee has failed to attempt to organise a second AGM to see if a quorum could be achieved
    3. business was knowingly transacted at the AGM in an effort to deceive the membership
    4. the committee has attempted to connive in the dismissal of our appeal by deliberately withholding this information during our discussions with Stone. It is debatable, since the deadline of 21 April for an AGM stated in the Constitution has now passed, whether the TYMBA committee even still exists.

    We do not see any mention in the Constitution of a definition of a quorum for an ad hoc meeting such as the rules meeting in January, and any number of attendees would permit recommendations to be generated. It is therefore nonsense to suggest that this meeting being ‘quorate’ was some kind of justification for taking its proposals as being acceptable without their being approved first by a properly constituted AGM.

    It is unfortunate that the AGM is not more popular, and that some stalwart members wasted their valuable time and money in attending an inquorate meeting. It is the duty and task, albeit a largely thankless one, of the committee to arrange for the AGM to be attractive to the membership and well attended, thereby assuring a thriving Association. Perhaps a more central location and running it in combination with a social event might prove more popular? Is it arguably fortunate that Rhyl Scout & Guide Band was unable to attend the AGM, since our presence would have brought the meeting closer to a quorum, but without having much hope of a say in measures which were to be hurriedly pushed through.

  5. We agree with the Secretary’s purely personal viewpoint that the rule in question is poorly drafted. Assuming for the moment that it was intended to mean what you imply, the drafters appear to have tried to be ‘clever’ by using two different and well established expressions to mean the same thing in two separate sentences when one word and sentence would have been much easier and clearer. Further they introduced terms like ‘bars’ and especially ‘piece of music’, which are very clearly open to a variety of interpretation, whilst failing totally to define them at all, let alone adequately. Such sloppy wording would surely have been thrown out at a properly quorate AGM.
  6. You state that other bands interpreted the rule ‘in the spirit in which it was meant’. Whilst you may well have your own idea of that ‘spirit’, you cannot possibly know what interpretation the voting members would each have placed on it at a quorate AGM. It is, therefore, irrelevant to use this as a justification for the meaning of the rule. As we have repeatedly pointed out, the only meaning which can be ascribed to a rule is that which flows logically from the words actually used. This principle has been rigorously established in all formal proceedings, including the highest court in the land - it is ludicrous to suggest that it is reasonable for TYMBA to be a law unto itself. You must therefore show that hand signals and conducting are one and the same thing, which, in our opinion, they are not.

  7. Whether disqualification was the only appropriate action will forever be a point of dispute. The Stone Contest Organiser said that disqualification was the only course of action - we pointed out that the Addendum to the rules merely states that disqualification ‘may be considered’ (a very weak mandate), and Rule 12 provides for points to be deducted.
  8. We have argued that, given that Rule 6 is so poorly worded and that there is considerable variation in its perceived meaning, disqualification was a wholly inappropriate way of dealing with the situation on the day. Had points been deducted, however, we might not have pressed the issue, and the business of the inquorate AGM might never have come to light. We trust that the membership will be eternally grateful.

  9. You say the action has been subsequently backed by the TYMBA committee. It is not clear whether you are referring simply to this letter resulting from your recent meeting, or whether you refer to some previous supportive meeting of which we are unaware. If the former, we would have hoped that you would have expected some discussion with us before passing an opinion. If the latter, it would have been helpful to have made this known to us earlier so that we need not have wasted so much time in corresponding with the Stone Contest Organiser.
  10. Please explain of what consequence it is that some unspecified ‘banding experts’ choose to regard a medley as a single piece of music. As pointed out on numerous occasions, the term is widely used to mean anything from a musical phrase to a symphony. It would be quite easy to find ‘experts’, eminent or otherwise, to support any definition. What is more interesting is that you imply that these ‘experts’ also endorse the view that conducting is only permitted at the beginning and end of a medley. We suspect, however, that this is merely an extension of their opinion generated by the TYMBA committee. Or perhaps you are suggesting that there is some kind of National or International Regulation that prohibits conducting of a performing band except for the start and end of a medley? If this were the case, then shame on you for permitting wholesale conducting hitherto.

We had hoped that the TYMBA committee would at least have made some attempt to address each of the points raised in our appeal. We have sent you copies of our appeal and subsequent correspondence with the Stone Contest Organiser, and we trust that he has sent you copies of his replies. You have had over ten weeks in which to digest this and provide some counter arguments. Instead, all you have done is to follow the lead of the Stone Contest Organiser and reiterate pre-existing viewpoints without providing any logical, reasoned justification for them.

The Stone Contest Organiser has repeatedly refused to discuss the arguments raised by us, merely restating his original decision. He has now declared the matter closed from Stone’s point of view and referred us back to yourselves. As we made clear in our final letter to him, since the point at issue has never been what actions the Drum Major carried out, rather the actual meaning of the rule, it has always been our opinion that the matter should have been referred to TYMBA in the first instance. You will recall that we were directed to deal with the Stone Contest Organiser by the TYMBA Contest Panel Chairman. In the light of paragraph 2, this now appears to be a just a cynical delaying tactic in the hope that the matter would be dropped before the matter of the inquorate AGM came to light.

Impatience has been expressed by the Stone Contest Organiser, the TYMBA Chairman and others that this matter is dragging out and should be closed quickly. We are also anxious to have the matter quickly resolved, provided the issues raised are properly debated and not merely swept under the carpet, as has hitherto been the case. The main reason for the prolonged correspondence to date is the continued refusal by the Stone Contest Organiser and yourselves to address our arguments and justify your own.

Most types of competition have rules with penalties for breaking them. In many types of competition, the quality of performance must also be assessed, and adjudicators are employed for this purpose. Guidelines are frequently provided to assist the smooth running of competitions and the awarding of points or penalties by the adjudicators. It is imperative that rules are clearly worded, and control aspects where a breach can readily and unambiguously be determined. It is highly desirable that they also fulfil a necessary and worthwhile function. Guidelines must also be equally clearly written, even though judgement on the degree of compliance is generally required from the adjudicators.

It is our contention that, where the very meaning of a rule is in dispute, the only viable course of action is to refer to the actual wording of the rule, not to individual aspirations of what it ought to say, nor to individual beliefs of what it was intended to say. If the actual wording cannot be agreed to produce an unambiguous meaning, then the rule should be discarded as unworkable. Since you admit TYMBA rules must be ratified by a General Meeting of the Association, it is unacceptable for an individual contest organiser, or even a TYMBA committee, to attribute a meaning at variance with the actual wording.

We believe that Rule 6 is extremely poorly worded, whatever its original intended meaning, and several comments on the nature of the poor wording are contained in our appeal letter. Nevertheless, the actual wording does not prohibit conducting outside the first and last eight bars of a piece of music, which is what were disqualified for. It limits hand signals to the beginning and end of a piece, and, in a separate sentence, limits any session of conducting to a maximum of eight bars. This is not the same thing at all. The terms hand signals and conducting are both commonly used in banding to mean quite different things. For the rule to mean that conducting is limited to the start and end of a piece, the word ‘conducting’ would have to be used consistently throughout, and it is not.

Then there is the difficult choice of the unit of bars. March music is commonly written with two beats to the bar or four beats to the bar, immediately leading to an uncertainty of a factor of two in counting how many bars were conducted in each session. It is also possible to write music without bar lines at all leading to an inability to count bars at all. It is not specified what separates different conducting sessions, therefore ‘nothing’ should be assumed, and they may be contiguous.

Furthermore, should it be proven satisfactorily that hand signals and conducting are, indeed, interchangeable terms, another aspect of the poor wording must be faced, namely the question of what is meant by a piece of music. As has been pointed out several times, this is not a standardised musical term. The Contest Panel Chairman (at variance with the ‘experts’ consulted by the Chairman) ventured a definition on the TYMBA website, suggesting that pieces of music were separated by ‘gaps’. He did not feel the need to define how long such a gap should be. If one takes the gap to be, say, one millisecond, then practically every note will be a piece of music. If one takes it to be 10 seconds, then the whole performance could become a single piece of music. Some bands even have gaps as long as this in their programmes, but Rhyl Scout & Guide Band endeavours to provide more continuous entertainment.

Both of these examples of poor wording lead to a rule where a breach cannot readily and unambiguously be determined, but requires expression of opinion and judgement. The wording is still too poor for this ‘rule’ even to be considered only as a guideline. It appears to us that this rule was hastily drafted in response to a misplaced distaste for conducting held by some member bands. Effectively banning conducting leads, if one wishes to win, to the selection of programmes of music which are unchallenging to play, uninteresting to listen to, and hold back the musical development of the youth of the Association.

It is our perception that Rhyl Scout & Guide Band is regarded as the ‘villain of the piece’ for deliberately flouting a perfectly good rule and refusing to accept the justifiable penalty, and that, furthermore, we are distressing the children and setting them a bad example by unnecessarily prolonging this saga. However, the truth, as we see it, is actually as follows:-

It would scarcely be a good example to the youth of the Association to allow these important points of principle and acts of malpractice to go unchallenged. It has always been the aim of Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to provide stimulating and challenging music for its members, and, thereby, to encourage other bands to do likewise. The band believes wholeheartedly in having competition rules, provided they are well drafted and serve a constructive purpose.

Is it not high time for TYMBA to acknowledge publicly that the wording of Rule 6 only actually restricts conducting to sessions of eight bars at a time, and that there may be any number of these? We suggest that TYMBA should now acknowledge publicly that the rule is so badly worded that it is unworkable. Furthermore, we suggest that TYMBA should immediately announce publicly that the 2002 AGM was inquorate, and that any business transacted is invalid. In any event, our appeal against disqualification must now be upheld, and the trophies which would have been awarded to us on the day should now be formally awarded to us.

We look forward now to a well reasoned statement from you on these issues, regardless of the AGM being inquorate. Naturally, this latter issue cannot go unchallenged.

Yours faithfully,

for Rhyl Scout & Guide Band

Jeff JohnsonNick Coope
BandmasterDrum Major and Musical Director
jeff_e_johnson@hotmail.comnick_coope@hotmail.com

{Contents List}


#12 - Open Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 15/09/02

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17, South Drive
Rhyl
LL18 4SU

15 September 2002


Open Letter to All TYMBA Member Bands


Dear Bandmasters and TYMBA Band Members,

You may be aware that the Rhyl Scout & Guide Band was disqualified for an alleged breach of a new rule at the Stone Contest on 19 May 2002. Since then, Rhyl Scout & Guide Band has been conducting an appeal against that disqualification, initially with the Stone Contest Organiser and latterly directly with the TYMBA committee.

It is not the intention of this letter to debate the merits or otherwise of a ban on conducting, but we would be happy to do so on another occasion. Nor is its purpose to canvass opinion on the rights and wrongs of the disqualification itself, although opinions, coherently expressing whatever point of view are also welcome (please read the attached correspondence first).

Rather, we wish to bring to your attention some additional facts which have come to light during the course of our appeal and which we find extremely disturbing. These concern actions of the TYMBA committee itself.

From the attendance list in the minutes of the meeting, and by the TYMBA committee’s own admission in a letter to us, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in March 2002 did NOT have a quorum. The TYMBA Constitution clearly defines the minimum number of member bands that must be represented at the AGM in order to conduct valid business. If insufficient members are present, there is nothing to prevent those who do turn up from having a discussion meeting, but they cannot legally take any decisions. This is a sensible, standard provision in the constitutions of almost all organisations, clubs, societies and associations, and is designed precisely to prevent decisions taken by an unacceptably small number of people being forced on the large majority.

Many of you will also be members of other organisations and may well have come across poor attendance at annual general meetings. It is well known that being on a committee of an organisation is frequently a very time-consuming and often thankless task, and it is very frustrating for them to see such a meeting inadequately attended. Nevertheless, the only course of action under these circumstances is to organise a second meeting and to agitate the membership for better attendance. If a series of such meetings is under-attended, the organisation normally becomes defunct through lack of interest and must be wound up. Hopefully, this will not happen to TYMBA.

If the lack of a quorum had been a simple oversight, this could possibly be forgiven. However, the TYMBA committee has also admitted in writing that they realised AT THE TIME that the meeting was not quorate, but still decided to go ahead because ‘some people had travelled considerable distances to be there’. A ‘Well done!’ to those who made the effort to attend, and shame on the rest of us who did not. Nevertheless, any business conducted was still invalid, even though transacted in good faith.

With regard to the new rules and rule changes which were ‘passed’ by this AGM, the committee have further admitted that, at the January 2002 meeting which formulated the rules, it was decided that they would try to put the rules before the AGM with no further discussion - a shameful concept, though not, in itself, illegal. They have lamely justified adopting the rules in spite of knowing the AGM to be inquorate on the grounds that the January rules meeting was ‘well attended’ and ‘quorate’ (no quorum is defined for such a meeting, and is, in any case, irrelevant). No minutes of this meeting, or even a list of attendees, have been forthcoming.

The Constitution also requires that the AGM be held not later than 21 April, and the committee have still made no attempt to organise a second meeting. Since the officers of the committee are elected each year by the AGM, it is very debatable whether the current committee currently has any powers other than to call another AGM.

We find it hard to believe that the whole TYMBA committee is so naïve or incompetent as to be totally unaware that these actions are unconstitutional and amount to gross malpractice. In reply to our letters, we have still received no satisfactory explanation of the committee’s actions, nor has a public statement been forthcoming about the AGM, that the new rules have never been valid, and that the disqualification is consequently quashed.

Furthermore, because the committee has known since March 2002 that the AGM was inquorate (and, therefore, that the invalid rules cannot be the source of a disqualification), it is, at best, reprehensible that they have kept silent for the past three months whilst we have been arguing our case. In addition to this, we have attended two subsequent competitions (with a third next week) unnecessarily fearful of repeat disqualification. Consequently, we have felt obliged to perform our routine, which was designed (long before the new rule) to be conducted in places, to our detriment without any conducting.

If you regard this situation as unacceptable, then we would be pleased to receive your support, preferably by email, and recommend that you also make your feelings known directly to your committee. It is not our intention or desire that the committee be brought down over this issue, since few people are generally willing to take on these duties. Nevertheless, it must clearly be re-established that the membership insists that elected committees must abide by the Constitution and behave openly and responsibly.

If, however, you believe that it is unimportant that the democratically committee should abide by the Constitution and Rules of TYMBA, then it does not bode well for the future of the Association. Several individuals have expressed the desire to forget about the whole thing and get on with life, ‘in the interests of the children’. We would argue that it is not at all in the interests of the children for adults to be seen to ‘turn a blind eye’ when other adults, in positions of responsibility, deliberately flout the rules. Similarly minded individuals were quick to condemn the Rhyl band for actually attempting to comply with a rule which wasn’t even valid, costing us £250 in wasted coach fare and several trophies, to say nothing of the damaging effect on our youthful members. Perhaps, the next inquorate AGM will vote in some changes which affect you more directly.

For those of you with the interest and patience to read our considerable correspondence on the subject (which contains many extra details and arguments, and illuminating responses), it is attached in full as a single document in Rich Text Format. This preserves text formatting and can be read by most word processors (for example, Microsoft Word, or WordPad). It does not support macro viruses, and is safe to open. In any case, Microsoft Hotmail checks outgoing emails and attachments for viruses.

Below is a list of email addresses of TYMBA bands taken from the TYMBA website. If you know of any email addresses of member bands that are either incorrect or missing, we would be grateful if you would forward a copy of this email and its attachment to those bands.

For Rhyl Scout & Guide Band,

Jeff JohnsonNick Coope
BandmasterDrum Major and Musical Director
jeff_e_johnson@hotmail.comnick_coope@hotmail.com

{Contents List}


#13 - Open Letter from TYMBA 10/10/02

35 Woodfield Road
Bournemouth
BH11 9EU
10 October 2002

Dear TYMBA Members,

It may have come to your attention that Jeff Johnson and Nick Coope from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band are currently disputing two TYMBA committee decisions and they have made accusations, which question the integrity of TYMBA committee members. I, as Chairman, am writing to explain my situation.

2002 AGM

Following a dispute about Rhyl’s disqualification at the Stone Contest (see below), Jeff Johnson and Nick Coope pointed out that the rule changes ,ade at the 2002 AGM were never passed because the AGM did not have a quorum. That is true - the AGM was not quorate and I was aware of this on the day. At the time I took the decision to continue with the AGM for three reasons:

1) A number of TYMBA members had travelled hundreds of miles to be at the AGM. I felt it would be wrong and unfair to cancel the AGM when people had gone to that effort and personal expense.

2) The host band had put in considerable time, effort and cost to host and cater for the event.

3) If we had cancelled the AGM and re-arranged, by the time the postponed meeting were held it would be too close to the contesting season. As a result the chances of getting people to the meeting would be more and more remote.

Jeff Johnson and Nick Coope are now claiming that because the AGM was not quorate the TYMBA committee was never voted in, and as such we are not legally officers of the association. I, and the other members of the committee have been deeply offended by accusations that we have deliberately deceived the membership by holding a non-quorate AGM. They have used very strong terms in their correspondence such as ‘behaving improperly’ ‘grossly unconstitutional’ ‘unprofessional’ and ‘shameful’. I am sure you will appreciate how disturbing and upsetting this has been as we have always endeavoured to run the committee with the utmost integrity and any decisions we have made have been with the best interests of the membership in mind.

The reality of the situation on non-quorate AGMs is something we do need to address for the future. It is very difficult in a voluntary organisation to meet the quorum and enforce it. The options available to us are 1) to review the constitution to see if it would be feasible to reduce the quorum, 2) to review the constitution to address the action to be take if a quorum is not met or 3) to increase the number of people attending AGMs (all suggestions welcome).

In the meantime I have confidence that the membership would want the committee to continue in their current posts until the 2003 AGM and we have no intention of standing-down mid-term. All decisions made at the 2002 AGM will stand until the next one. At the 2003 AGM you will have the opportunity to vote officers off the committee if you do not feel we made the right decisions throughout this term.

 

BREACH OF RULE 6

The second decision Jeff Johnson and Nick Coope are disputing is their disqualification at the Stone Contest for an alleged breach of Rule 6 (which relates to conducting). They are stating that the rule was never actually ‘passed’ because of the non-quorate AGM. In addition they claim that the rule is ambiguously worded and that in their interpretation the rule was not breached. When the Contest Organiser and members of the committee explained the breach of the rule, Jeff andd Nick responded with, in my opinion, one of the most concerning lines in all their correspondence. In their letter to Bryan Pickering of 13th June they say:

‘It is not relevant what the general members of TYMBA think the rule should mean. It is not relevant what the members at the 2002 AGM thought they were voting for when the rule was passed.’

Surely, in an association run voluntarily by the members, for the members, the views of the membership are overwhelmingly relevant. The people whose views we most need to represent are the youngsters who make up the Bands. In an association where the committee acts on behalf of its members it is the duty of the committee to represent, to the best of its knowledge, the views of the membership and to make decisions based on this understanding.

Our committee is made up of a group of dedicated voluntees who are trying hard to represent the views of the membership and we have no malice or deliberate deciet in our approach to the running or the organisation. The one thing I have always stood for, as chairman of the organisation, is fairness.

I would welcome your views on this subject and have attached a comment slip for your thoughts. We have a committee meeting on 20th October and it would be great if you could get any comments to me before then so that I can carry them forward to the meeting.

Yours sincerely

Ian Hubert

TYMBA Chairman


 

Please return to Ian Hubert, TYMBA Chairman, 35 Woodfield Road, Bournemouth, BH11 9EU

Comments from:

 

Comments:

 

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#14 - Letter from TYMBA to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 10/10/02

35 Woodfield Road
Bournemouth
BH11 9EU

Mr. Jeff Johnson
17 South Drive
Rhyl
Denbighshire
LL18 4SU

10 October 2002

Dear Jeff,

Following our telephone conversation last week I wanted to drop you a note to let you know my personal views on the current situation and to suggest a way that you and I can deal with the issues sensibly. I don’t think we can expect to achieve results from an emotional meeting with large numbers of people involved. I have real doubts whether bringing a number of people to the TYMBA committee meeting would bring us any closer to an outcome.

I fully understand your frustration with the situation itself and with the lack of detail in the responses, and I have been impressed with the logicality of your arguments. The nature of my concerns do not relate to the individual points you are arguing with the committee - I’m much more focused on the big picture about what TYMBA itself is and how we can reach a conclusion which is in the best interests of everyone concerned.

My start point is this. Technically, legally you are right about the validity of the rule. The AGM was not quorate and therefore the rule was never passed. Also, I expect you could prove legally that the wording of the rule was ambiguous. If we were in a business environment where you were arguing with a competitor, supplier, or corporate body, for example, I would probably be congratulating you on a case won.

However, we are not dealing with a corporate body... this is not business... the TYMBA committee is not a highly-paid board of businessmen. This is an association of people who have come together with a common goal. And it troubles me deeply that in your letter to Bryan Pickering of 13th June you say:

‘It is not relevant what the general members of TYMBA think the rule should mean. It is not relevant what the members at the 2002 AGM thought they were voting for when the rule was passed.’

Surely, in an association run voluntarily by the members, for the members, the views of the membership are overwhelmingly relevant.

You and Nick are both clearly intelligent, highly-articulate men. You are exactly the sort of people who in business I would seek advice from in the wording of documents because it is clear you can argue a case logically and acutely. However, I would urge you to think about what you are trying to achieve here. The committee is made up of a group of dedicated volunteers who are trying hard to represent the views of the membership and we have no malice or deliberate deceit in our approach to the running of the organisation. You say in your letter to the TYMBA member Bands of 15th September:

‘It is not our intention or desire that the committee be brought down over this issue, since few people are generally willing to take on these duties.’

However, surely you can see that by the very nature of the way you are escalating this issue that is exactly what you are in danger of doing. I, and the other members of the committee have been very disturbed by the accusations you have made about our integrity. We have always endeavoured to run the committee with the utmost integrity and any decisions I have made have been with the best interests of the membership in mind.

I am not asking you to walk away from your concerns and leave the matter unresolved - that would clearly be an unsatisfactory outcome for you and the youngsters who make up your Band. However, I would appeal to your good nature and to your belief in TYMBA as a good organisation, to moderate your approach.

In my understanding there are two separate issues

1) The issue of your disqualification at the Stone Contest

2) The issue of the non-quorate AGM,

although the two issues are linked because of the un-passed rule.

On the first issue, whilst I fully understand that in applying the ‘letter of the law’ there is scope for reinstating your results, the decision is wider than that. In an association where a committee acts on behalf of its members it is the duty of the committee to represent, to the best of its knowledge, the views of the membership. It is imperative that we (yourself and the committee) agree on an approach that does minimal damage to the organisation.

The second issue, i.e. the non-quorate AGM, is something we need to address for future AGMs. I think there would be little point in trying to address this year’s AGM at such a late stage in the season and it would have little, if any, benefit to the members. However, it is important we either find a way of attracting a quorum to the AGM, or we need to review the constitution itself to reflect the reality.

As I mentioned at the start of my letter, I think it would be unhelpful at this stage to have a meeting between a group of people from your band and the TYMBA committee. I want us to jointly reach a position we are comfortable with and I think that would be too difficult in a large group situation. My preferred approach would be for you and I, plus at most one additional person from Rhyl and one additional person from the TYMBA committee, to have a round-the-table meeting.

I think it is really important we agree between us what we want to achieve in the interests of the members. If you feel compelled to respond to my letter with another long, detailed response then there is little point in us meeting - the time has come for us to talk things through in person. I am sure you will agree there is a need to disengage from the current combative and adversarial approach and seek conciliation for the sake of the association.

Yours sincerely

Ian Hubert

TYMBA Chairman

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#15 - Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band to TYMBA Chairman 10/10/02

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17, South Drive
Rhyl
LL18 4SU
15 October 2002

Ian Hubert

TYMBA Chairman
35 Woodford Road
Kinson
Bournemouth
BH11 9EU

 

Dear Sir,

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band Disqualification

Thank you for your letter of 10 October, and congratulations on writing the first response in this long series of letters which has made even a meagre attempt to address any of the issues. We appreciate your desire to limit the amount of correspondence, but would point out that our responding fully to any of the points you have raised does not preclude a face to face meeting. Rather, it enables us both to prepare better for such a meeting, thereby making it more likely to be fruitful than less. However, in view of your subsequent unhelpful telephone conversations with our bandmaster and your recent escalatory letter to all members (to which we may reply separately), we feel obliged to respond to your letter in full in the manner that it deserves.

We totally agree that little will come from an emotional exchange at any meeting. However, that depends more on the approach of the people involved, rather than the numbers. We do not require a large contingent to be present to argue our case - we are quite capable of doing that ourselves, and, as you have admitted, our case is pretty watertight. However, in view of the previous history of this affair, we do feel the need for the presence of observers who are not connected with Rhyl or the TYMBA committee to witness and convey to the membership what we regard as the continued and wholly unjustified intransigence of the committee, should it continue.

We resent the implication that we are merely pursuing parochial issues whilst you, as chairman, wish to view the ‘big picture’. We happen to believe that the reverse is true. We are trying to persuade the committee to act nobly and in the best interests of the Association by admitting to a series of mistakes and then proceeding in an open and honest fashion, and in accordance with the Constitution, to rectify them, instead of which, the committee is trying, with increasing desperation, to sweep the issue under the carpet by blustering and delaying tactics. Nevertheless, you have successfully flouted the TYMBA Constitution for over six months now.

You openly admit to us that the AGM was not quorate and that the rule changes are not valid. You then claim some sort of immunity from responsibility to act on this by suggesting that the Association has amateur status and you are not highly paid. What nonsense! What would have been your response if we had claimed that we should not be subject to the contest rules because we are only an amateur band? We would point out that your continued failure to resolve this issue by not publicly admitting all the facts has caused us huge amounts of stress and tens of hours of unnecessary time spent in writing firstly to the Stone Organiser and then to yourselves - far in excess of any similar effects on you, judging by the sparse responses we have received. We are equally unpaid for our activities.

It is typical of a person in a weak position to quote extracts of previous correspondence totally out of context in order to gain an advantage - we were extremely careful not to be selective or to disguise the context when quoting from the Contest Panel Chairman’s public comments. You are perfectly well aware that our statement regarding the views of the membership was made only in the context of how a printed rule should be applied, namely, that the actual wording is what must be used, not someone else’s guess at what might, or might not, have been in the minds of the persons proposing or voting for the rule.

We naturally agree that the views of the membership of any organisation, democratically expressed, are paramount. But, as you must well know by now, the way to that democratic expression is enshrined in the Constitution, and requires the membership to vote at a properly quorate meeting. You and the committee are entirely responsible for denying that democratic right to the membership, and are the very people who should be upholding that right.

Thank you for your flattering comments. A more sincere form of flattery, however, would be imitation. You claim to be trying hard to represent the views of the membership and to have no malice or deceit in the running of the organisation. It is hard to see how this correlates with deliberately proceeding with an inquorate meeting which, by definition, does not represent the membership, refusing to organise a replacement meeting, suppressing this information from the membership for six months, and continuing to persecute a band for breaking a rule which, by your own admission, has not been passed, whilst yourself continuing to flout constitutional rules which have been in existence since the Association was first formed.

You urge us to think about what we are trying to achieve. This is very clear. We wish to have the committee of TYMBA abide by the Constitution. We expected that the committee would have done this as a matter of course, as did the writers of the Constitution. In the process of defending ourselves against an accusation of breaking a rule which most people seem to accept as being, at the very least, badly worded, we discovered the irregularity of the inquorate AGM. The committee were notified of this in our original appeal, and were given the golden opportunity to acknowledge the ‘oversight’ and to declare the rule invalid and promptly organise another General Meeting. Had they done so, we venture that absolutely no one would have objected and the situation would have been satisfactorily resolved.

However, the committee chose to keep quiet and await the outcome of our discussions with Stone. When those discussions were exhausted due to a complete refusal by Stone to answer any of our arguments, the matter was again referred back to the TYMBA committee. A second opportunity was presented for the committee to acknowledge the position and rectify it. Again, although we would have been extremely annoyed that it had needlessly taken so long, the matter would almost certainly have been resolved without great trauma.

Since that time, the committee has three times admitted in writing that the AGM was inquorate and, as a consequence, the rule was always invalid, but it still steadfastly refuses to act to rectify the situation. Even at this late stage, if it were to come clean, the committee could probably escape with only mild embarrassment, and hopefully a firm resolve to stick to the rules itself in future.

You quote our stated desire not to bring down the committee over this affair. By and large, we believe the committee works hard for the good of the Association, and this frequently goes unrecognised. It is certainly work that few members are able or willing to undertake. Moreover, a sudden, wholesale change to the committee would not be in the best interests of the membership, especially since it would be difficult to find enough replacements in the short term. Rhyl Scout & Guide Band holds the concept of the Traditional Youth Marching Band Association in high esteem and has absolutely no desire to see it collapse. This is why we are so concerned about your actions over this particular issue which are not at all compatible with a well run Association. However, if this continues, any downfall of the committee will be entirely self-induced, but should not be confused with the dissolution of the Association.

Since our contact has only been with a few principal committee members, we have no way of knowing whether the whole committee is acting as one body, or whether the majority are being passively led astray, or, indeed, whether some are still totally unaware of the situation. If there are any committee members who are at all unhappy about flouting the Constitution, they should make their feelings known at once. In the absence of factual information to the contrary, however, we must assume that the whole committee acts as one. The longer this goes on, the more untenable the position of the whole committee becomes.

You further suggest that our escalation of this issue is likely to bring about the downfall of the committee, as though we are the guilty party. It is entirely your continued refusal to follow the TYMBA Constitution and to invent powers that you do not have which is responsible for the current situation. It is wholly fitting that the committee should be disturbed by our accusations about its integrity. That is because the accusations are well founded in this issue. We note that you have not made any attempt to demonstrate that they are not well founded.

Again you suggest the parochial viewpoint that a lack of resolution to this issue would be unsatisfactory for us and for the youngsters of our band. We put it to you, that such a lack of resolution would not be in the interests of any member band. The only possible beneficiaries of a lack of resolution would be the committee. We agree that a solution is desirable which minimises the damage to the Association. However, a continued, blatant disregard for the Constitution of the Association can do nothing but damage.

As far as the disqualification itself is concerned, we have temporarily abandoned the argument about the point of principle concerning whether or not the actual wording of a rule is paramount. This we will raise again at a later date. The disqualification must automatically be rescinded because the rule had not been passed by a quorate AGM at the time of the contest. However, you suggest that there are ‘wider issues’ which might somehow transcend the law enshrined in the Constitution. You carefully do not say what these wider issues are. We suspect that they amount to any scrap of nonsense which will allow the committee to be seen to triumph over a band which it seems to view as having clearly gone out of its way deliberately to flout a rule about conducting which self-evidently the entire membership wished had been properly passed.

As far as the issue of inquorate AGMs is concerned, we accept that a lack of a quorum is a matter which must be addressed at all future AGMs. It is one of the responsibilities of the committee to find ways to attract the interest of the membership and encourage them to participate in the running of their Association. Given the current degree of apathy, this is an unenviable task. However, this is not a new phenomenon. The matter should have been addressed at all previous meetings. It must also be addressed for the current year.

We agree that regularising the situation at this late stage by holding a General Meeting is something of a chore that will appear to achieve little practical benefit. Nevertheless, that is what must be done. However, since the Constitution requires an AGM to be held by 21 April, a Special General Meeting will now be required. The Constitution clearly states that the posts of Chairman, Vice Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and Membership Secretary and the committee must be elected each year by the Annual General Meeting. Automatic re-election can only occur in the absence of competitive nominations at a quorate AGM. These posts are all therefore currently unfilled. The acting committee should consider very carefully its legal position with regard to administering the funds of the Association on matters not directly concerned with organising a General Meeting, and especially with regard to the drawing of any personal expenses, whilst not democratically elected.

You made a telephone offer to our Bandmaster to attend a TYMBA committee meeting at Warwick on Sunday, 20 October 2002. We were initially reluctant to attend a meeting of an unelected committee, however, we agreed to do so in order that we could not be accused of refusing any offer to proceed towards a resolution of the issues. However, you now appear to be trying to avoid this meeting. We believe this to be against the best interests of the Association. Failing a successful outcome of that meeting, we will have no choice but to circulate the membership with some positive suggestions of how to resolve the situation. By so blatantly attempting to make our meeting with the committee seem totally pointless, you have again tried to squander another opportunity to put your affairs in order and comply with the Constitution of the Association. Our suggestions to the membership will provide only one more. Please do not waste it.

Yours faithfully,

For Rhyl Scout & Guide Band,

Jeff JohnsonNick Coope
BandmasterDrum Major and Musical Director
jeff_e_johnson@hotmail.comnick_coope@hotmail.com

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#16 - Open Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 22/10/02

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17, South Drive
Rhyl
LL18 4SU
22 October 2002

Open Letter to All TYMBA Member Bands

 

Dear Bandmasters and TYMBA Bandmembers,

You will, by now, probably be aware of the long-running dispute, initially over the disqualification of Rhyl Scout & Guide Band at the Stone Contest in May 2002, and more recently over the validity of the Annual General Meeting held in March 2002. The latter concerned that fact that the meeting was not quorate (less than fifteen Class A members attended) and, consequently none of the business transacted was valid. Anyone not familiar with these issues, and with plenty of time and patience to spare, can read the full text of the correspondence on our website (http:\\www.rhylscoutandguideband.org.uk/letters.html).

We are pleased to report that we have now received a personal assurance from the committee Chairman that the committee have accepted in full our proposals for an amicable resolution to this issue. These were presented to the committee at a meeting in Warwick on Sunday, 20 October 2002, and are attached to this letter in exactly the form given to the committee. It is absolutely essential that the proposals be taken as a complete set to avoid any further misunderstandings.

We wish it to be known that the agreed course of action is entirely satisfactory to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band as a resolution to this issue, and urge all bands present at the National Finals, whether competing or watching, to provide a representative to attend the short meeting and to vote in favour of these proposals. We also urge all bands (including ourselves) to make a better effort to attend future Annual General Meetings and other meetings, and generally to participate more fully in the running of the Association.

In the course of this debate, there have been cross words and misunderstandings on both sides. Rhyl Scout & Guide Band wish to make it clear that there has never been any intention to suggest any kind of financial or other personally advantageous motivation behind the committee’s actions, whether individually or collectively. If this has appeared otherwise, then we are truly sorry. We reaffirm our belief that the committee, and various other members of the Association, put in large amounts of time and effort for the benefit of the Association, and that this frequently goes unrecognised. Few members of the Association are willing and able to undertake this essential work. We also reaffirm that Rhyl Scout & Guide Band believes whole-heartedly in the concept of the Traditional Youth Marching Band Association and has no desire whatsoever to see it collapse or even weakened - quite the opposite.

Yours sincerely,

For Rhyl Scout & Guide Band,

Jeff JohnsonNick Coope
BandmasterDrum Major and Musical Director
jeff_e_johnson@hotmail.comnick_coope@hotmail.com

Required Actions for Resolution

1) The acting committee should notify the entire membership by letter containing the following wording, to arrive not later than 26 October 2002:-

"The acting committee wishes to bring formally to your attention that the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on 16 March 2002 was inquorate, and, consequently, none of the business transacted at that meeting was valid. Of particular importance is the election of Officers and of the committee, and the passing of new rules and rule changes. In order that the committee may continue to administer the funds of the Association, carry on general business, and comply with the Constitution, it is necessary to hold a Special General Meeting as soon as possible, since it is now too late to hold an Annual General Meeting for the current year.

Accordingly, a very short Special General Meeting will be held at (insert time & date) during a slightly extended lunch break at the National Finals (insert address) in order to minimise the inconvenience to member bands and provide the best chance of achieving a quorum. It is proposed that the Officers for existing posts who would have been elected or re-elected at the March meeting, had it been quorate, be formally elected now. It is hoped that members will support this action and postpone any matters of concern until the next formal Annual General Meeting in order to keep the meeting to substantially less than half an hour.

Please note that, although all members may attend, only Class A members (youth bands and registered contest organisations) may vote at a Special General Meeting, and fifteen Class A members are required for a quorum. It is very important that bands make every effort to attend this meeting, as continued lack of a quorum must eventually lead to the dissolution of the Association.

Only the following Agenda items will be taken:-

1. Apologies for Absence

2. Chairman’s Statement:

"The Annual General Meeting held in March 2002 was inquorate, and, consequently none of the business transacted at that meeting is, and never has been, valid. The acting Committee has not adhered to the Constitution in maintaining that this was not the case and apologises unreservedly to the membership."

3. Resolution:

"The Membership reaffirms that no person or group of persons has power to act on behalf of the Traditional Youth Marching Band Association in a manner incompatible with the Constitution of the Association"

4. Election of Officers:

Chairman - I. Hubert
Vice-Chairman - M. Watson
Treasurer - D. Wood
Secretary - D. Thornton
Membership Secretary - P. Wong
Midland Regional Co-ordinator - S. Newton
Northern Regional Co-ordinator - J. MacKay
South Eastern Regional Co-ordinator - R. Bridger
South Western Regional Co-ordinator - ?

5. Close of Meeting

In view of that fact that the new rules and rule changes were not passed by a valid AGM, the acting committee declares null and void the disqualification of Rhyl Scout & Guide Band at the Stone Contest in May 2002, that their results be reinstated immediately, and that any trophies which they would have won be forwarded to them without delay. The committee apologises to Rhyl for the long delay in resolving this issue.

Further, in spite of any wording to the contrary on the application forms or elsewhere, the National Finals, and any subsequent competitions, will be run under the rules as they existed after the 2001 AGM, until such time as any changes are properly approved by an Annual General Meeting."

2) The whole italic text of item 1) shall be prominently displayed on the TYMBA web site

3) The last two paragraphs of item 1) shall be printed prominently in the programme for the National Finals

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#17 - Open Letter from TYMBA Committee to All Bands 24/10/02

Chairman - Ian Hubert
35 Woodfield Road
Bournemouth
BH119EU

Secretary - Dave Thornton
28 Copland Avenue
Tittensor
Stoke on Trent
ST12 9JA

24 October 2002

This is a letter from the acting TYMBA committee to all members

Dear member,

Recently you received a letter from Ian Hubert explaining that the Bandmaster and Musical Director of Rhyl Scout and Guide Band were in dispute with the TYMBA committee regarding their disqualification at Stone contest. In Ian's letter he pointed out that the 2002 AGM was inquorate and as a result Rhyl were raising the issue that the TYMBA committee had never legally been elected and that decisions made at the AGM were never passed.

We as a committee agreed 100% with Ian Hubert's letter and with his proposal for us to continue to act as a committee. Given that there were no nominations for office other than the existing acting committee, these positions would have been passed by default at a quorate AGM. We also agreed wholeheartedly with Ian's proposal to stick to all decisions made at and since the 2002 AGM, until the 2003 AGM. From your responses to Ian's letter we are confident that we have been acting with the approval of the membership.

However, the representatives from Rhyl have taken legal advice and have threatened to take further action unless we agree that all business transacted since the last AGM was 'invalid'. The only options available to us were: a) to dissolve the Association with immediate effect, which would have forced the cancellation of the National Finals, or b) to call a Special General Meeting at or before the National Finals, with the agenda of electing the committee. We chose option 'b' in order to save the National Finals.

Rhyl had also demanded that we make a statement declaring all decisions made at and since the AGM 'invalid'. However, we have sought legal advice ourselves and have been advised that it is acceptable for us to pass a motion to approve all decisions made at the AGM retrospectively, (i.e. to backdate our vote so that all motions passed at the AGM are deemed valid from 16th March 2002 onwards).

At the TYMBA Nationals on 16th November we will hold a Special General Meeting in the lunch break. The attached Notice details the agenda. The meeting must take no longer than 15 minutes, as we have no desire to disrupt the day. Please send no more than two representatives of your Band to this meeting and ensure you bring your TYMBA membership card with you, as this is necessary for voting. Attached is the Notice of Special General Meeting.

At the 2003 AGM it is imperative that we agree a process to ensure that a quorum is easily obtained in future so that we never find ourselves in such a difficult position again. The best way you can support TYMBA now is to vote for the election of the committee at the Special General Meeting on 16th November, so that we can continue to run the association until the next AGM.

Kind regards,

The acting TYMBA committee

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#18 - Notice of Special General Meeting from TYMBA Committee 24/10/02

24 October 2002
TRADITIONAL YOUTH MARCHING BANDS ASSOCIATION
NOTICE OF SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING
13:00 - 13:15 - 16™ NOVEMBER 2002
CHASE LEISURE CENTRE - (Room to be advised)

The acting committee wishes to bring formally to your attention that the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on 16 March 2002 was inquorate, and, consequently, none of the business transacted at that meeting was valid. Of particular importance is the election of Officers and of the committee, and the passing of new rules and rule changes. In order that the committee may continue to administer the funds of the Association, carry on general business, and comply with the Constitution, it is necessary to hold a Special General Meeting as soon as possible, since it is now too late to hold an Annual General Meeting for the current year.

Accordingly, a very short Special General Meeting will be held at 13:00 on 16th November 2002 during a slightly extended lunch break at the National Finals, Chase Leisure Centre, Cannock, Staffs, in order to minimise the inconvenience to member bands and provide the best chance of achieving a quorum. It is proposed that the Officers for existing posts who would have been elected or re-elected at the March meeting, had it been quorate, be formally elected now. It is hoped that members will support this action and postpone any matters of concern until the next formal Annual General Meeting in order to keep the meeting to substantially less than half an hour.

Please note that, although all members may attend, only Class A members (youth bands and registered contest organisations) may vote at a Special General Meeting, and fifteen Class A members are required for a quorum. It is very important that bands make every effort to attend this meeting, as continued lack of a quorum must eventually lead to the dissolution of the Association.

Only the following Agenda items will be taken:-

1) Apologies for Absence

2) Chairman’s Statement:

"The Annual General Meeting held in March 2002 was inquorate, and, consequently none of the business transacted at that meeting is, and never has been, valid. The acting Committee has not adhered to the Constitution in maintaining that this was not the case and apologises unreservedly to the membership."

3) Resolution:

"The Membership reaffirms that no person or group of persons has power to act on behalf of the Traditional Youth Marching Band Association in a manner incompatible with the Constitution of the Association"

4) Election of Officers:

Chairman - I. Hubert
Vice-Chairman - M. Watson
Treasurer - D. Wood
Secretary - D. Thornton
Membership Secretary - P. Wong
Midland Regional Co-ordinator - S. Newton
Northern Regional Co-ordinator - J. MacKay
South Eastern Regional Co-ordinator - R. Bridger (Mr Bridger has subsequently been unable to take-up the position due to ill-health)
South Western Regional Co-ordinator - ?

5) Vote on a motion that all business that was conducted at the inquorate AGM be formally ratified by the membership as being in the interests of the association and as such all motions passed at that meeting be deemed valid from 16th March onwards, and

6) If the above motion is rejected - then state that in view of that fact that the new rules and rule changes were not passed by a valid AGM, the acting Committee declares null and void the disqualification of Rhyl Scout & Guide Band at the Stone Contest in May 2002, that their results be reinstated immediately, and that any trophies which they would have won be forwarded to them without delay. The committee apologises to Rhyl for the long delay in resolving this issue.

7) Close of Meeting

In spite of any wording to the contrary on the application forms or elsewhere, the National Finals, and any subsequent competitions, will be run under the rules as they existed after the 2001 AGM, until such time as the outcome of the vote at the Special General Meeting is known, or any changes are properly approved by an Annual General Meeting.

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#19 - Open Letter from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 11/11/02

Rhyl Scout & Guide Band
17, South Drive
Rhyl
LL18 4SU

11 November 2002

Open Letter to All TYMBA Member Bands

Dear Bandmasters and TYMBA Bandmembers,

You have presumably received our letter to all bands of 22 October in which we announced an agreed resolution of our dispute with the TYMBA committee resulting in a Special General Meeting to be held during the forthcoming National Finals, and provided a copy of the proposed agenda. Subsequently, you will also have received the formal notice of this meeting from the committee.

The simple agenda proposed by us contained no items which were contentious, given that the committee now openly accepts that the AGM was inquorate. We deliberately avoided including a number of resolutions calling into question the behaviour of the committee, in the interests of resolving this issue speedily and to the benefit of the Association. Our aim was to get the organisation back on to a proper footing and move on. In our previous letter to you, we even urged you to vote in favour of electing this very committee which has sought to treat us so unfairly, simply to avoid the damage to the Association by a contested election at such a late stage in the year. There would also not be time to discuss these issues properly at the Special General Meeting.

Unfortunately, despite two personal assurances to the contrary given to us by the Chairman, the committee has chosen significantly to vary the agenda for this meeting from what was agreed. In particular, a new agenda item has been added which invites members now to approve all the business which might have been passed at the March Annual General Meeting, had it been quorate, and moreover, to backdate that approval to the date of the AGM. This action now puts the Association in the ludicrous position of running the first half of the Nationals under the old rules, but not knowing which rules will be used for the second half until after the lunchtime meeting.

The TYMBA Constitution does not expressly forbid the backdating of resolutions. This is not, in itself, surprising since it is a practice shunned by any reputable organisation, and its prohibition would have been taken for granted by the writers of the Constitution. This is a very important issue. You should not simply take our word for it - we invite and implore you to consult any independent person knowledgeable in constitutional matters for amateur organisations. Self-governing amateur organisations are largely at liberty to make whatever resolutions they wish (provided they comply with their own Constitution and the Law of the Land). However, once bad practice is established in an organisation, it tends to grow rapidly and the organisation founders. If the precedent for backdating is set over this issue, it will be very difficult to argue against it in future.

With regard to the summary approval of the previous AGM business at this Special General Meeting, even if it were not to be backdated (the agenda resolution, however, couples approval with backdating), you might consider the following. The AGM did not have a quorum, which is a safeguard against business being transacted by too small a number of members to be regarded as being representative of the membership as a whole. Had a quorum been present, there could well have been discussion stimulated which may have resulted in an entirely different vote on some or all of the agenda items. It would be very unwise, therefore, for the meeting to approve any of those items, let alone backdate them, without having the opportunity to discuss them fully. This will simply not be possible with the limited time available in the lunch break at the National Finals. Attached is a list of just some of the non-trivial points about the proposed rules changes which might warrant detailed d iscussion before a decision is made on whether to adopt or not. Please read it carefully and consult your rulebook and the proposed changes circulated with the AGM notice/minutes for rule wordings.

Because of the inquorate AGM, all this year's contests to date have been run under the wrong set of rules. In practice, this will probably have had little impact on any band apart from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band. Since the disqualification, Rhyl has competed without the benefit of any conducting whatsoever, and has still been the outright winner of its last two contests. There is no technical reason why the proper running of the Association requires the business to be backdated. The only practical result of backdating will be the reopening of the debate about the actual meaning of the badly worded 'conducting' rule, plus an argument that, regardless of the backdating, when the Stone contest was held, the rule was not in force - history cannot be changed regardless of some people wishing and proclaiming it to be so.

We believe that the proper course of action now is not to try to correct this wrong by perpetrating a second wrong in backdating rule changes, but to acknowledge a mistake and to proceed in an honourable and open fashion from now on.

We urge you vote against any resolution to approve the AGM business unless time is made available for adequate discussion of each item, and under all circumstances to vote against the backdating of any resolution. We do not seek to influence your vote on the election of the committee, but would point out that failing to elect them would put the Association in a difficult (but not impossible) position regarding the forming of a 'caretaker' committee until the next Annual General Meeting. We would remind you that, according to the Constitution, these resolutions require a simple majority vote in favour at a quorate meeting, otherwise the resolution fails. Abstentions, therefore, amount to a vote against the resolution.

We still suggest that any contentious items requiring detailed discussion should be held back until the next Annual General Meeting, and would urge you all to make a special effort to attend and partake fully in such discussion. Many bands seem to want to participate in the contests and summer camps without wanting to put any effort into the well-being of the organisation - this is, unfortunately, a recipe for disaster. There are a number of bands which, although still retaining membership of TYMBA, have long since stopped competing because of previous differences with TYMBA committees. Also, at least one judge has quit for similar reasons. Perhaps they will wish to reconsider their position if a less autocratic regime is seen to prevail.

In our opinion, having now been obliged to study the Constitution and Rules in detail, there is a need for a serious overhaul in both areas, which is a major task, but one worth the effort. We would caution against reducing the quorum even further or making provision to bypass it - the current quorum of 15 means that major changes which affect all the 60 or so Class A members can already be implemented by only 8 votes in favour. A better way forward might be to introduce proxy or postal or even email voting.

Whichever way you vote now or in the future will be of little consequence to Rhyl Scout & Guide Band since we do not propose to renew our membership of TYMBA next year. We are not prepared to belong to an organisation having a committee which assumes powers not granted to it and continues to flout its Constitution. Even if (perhaps especially if) the vote were to go overwhelmingly against the committee (which we doubt), a small number of bands would continue to bear a grudge against us which would make contesting intolerable.

It has never been Rhyl's aim to see the Association put in jeopardy, and we continue to hold its basic aims and concepts in high regard. We trust that the fair-minded majority of bands will make a renewed effort to participate more in the running of the Association and that it will become the thriving and open organisation that it deserves to be. We wish them well.

Yours sincerely,

for Rhyl Scout & Guide Band

Jeff JohnsonNick Coope
BandmasterDrum Major and Musical Director
jeff_e_johnson@hotmail.comnick_coope@hotmail.com

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#20 - "Rules Issues" from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 11/11/02

Rules Issues Which May Warrant Further Discussion
(See the TYMBA Rulebook and 2002 AGM notice/minutes for old and new rule wordings)

Section 1

Rule 3: What business is it of TYMBA that band members should or should not also be members of any 'represented' organisation? Surely that is up to the represented organisation to decide? Why prohibit a new member from joining a band after 31 January? Disqualification is rather draconian just for lack of registration - it might be appropriate if cheating by playing for more than one band is involved. Why a special automatic bar from the Nationals just for this rule? There doesn't seem to be any provision for a bar from the Nationals in any other rule. The Nationals Rule 4 only requires bands to appear in three contests - it is not clear if a disqualification counts or not. Of course, all the Nationals rules will be deleted anyway (see later).

Rule 4: Why now include Drum Majors in the over 25 limit? Do old DMs confer some advantage (the young ones are usually much more skilled)? Geriatric DMs are already barred from winning trophies (Rule 5). Incidentally, why have many contests continued to assess old DMs for turnout when this is also prohibited by Rule 5?

Rule 6: Why is losing composure after dropping the mace no longer liable to lose marks? What is the point of restricting hand signals to the beginning and end of a piece? What exactly is a hand signal? What is meant by 'a piece of music'? Is it the whole presentation, a section surrounded by pauses (if so, how long is a pause?), a complete 'tune', part of a tune in a medley, a musical 'phrase', or what? How is even a musically adept adjudicator supposed to count bars? Since he does not have a copy of the music, he can't easily tell the difference between 2/4 and 4/4 by counting beats (so could be out by a factor of two)? What if the music is written without bar lines at all? Why not specify the duration in seconds - at least a musically unskilled timekeeper could then measure it? IF the last half of the rule is supposed to drastically curtail conducting, why is the term 'hand signals' used when conducting is mentioned twice elsewhere in the rule? Why doesn't it simply say something like: 'Conducting is prohibited except during the first and last 15 seconds of the whole of the timed presentation'? If conducting is to be effectively banned, how do the judges award marks to the Drum Major for control of the band (the movements of the band are mostly choreographed and difficult to 'control', whereas the music can be significantly influenced by conducting - otherwise why introduce the rule)?

Rule 8: Why are permanent supports for instruments not used on the march now being allowed?

Rule 12: Why has the extent of the deduction of marks been made less clear than before? Why are Drill and Display no longer marked on entry to the field? Incidentally, why was this new rule not invoked instead of disqualifying Rhyl?

Section 2

Rule 2: The arena size is reduced, but is still bigger than the Nationals indoor space. How are bands supposed to 'maximise the use of the arena' and still cope with the indoor event? Incidentally, why is extra time not allowed for getting on at the Nationals? Section 3

Rule 8: Why are bandmasters no longer allowed to see other band's results? Nationals Rule 1: Why is the preference for judges who have judged at earlier contests deleted?

Rule 2: Why is the safeguard of checking the results by independent people deleted?

Rule 3: Why is the rule about disqualification being deleted?

Rule 4: Why is there to be no rule for qualification to enter the Nationals? Is it now also to be left to the whim of the committee (like which class a band competes in - Section 1, Rule 1)? Incidentally, if the League were based on consistent marks across the classes rather than place points, this could be used as a reliable method for promotion and demotion.

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#21 - "Facts & Fantasies" from Rhyl Scout & Guide Band 11/11/02

Some Facts and Fantasies

Fact: Rhyl has been a member of TYMBA for about 10 years.

Fantasy: Rhyl always tries to bend the rules. Rhyl tries to present good music, well played, with a marching display which fits and reflects the music. Rhyl regards it as a challenge to provide an entertaining presentation within the full scope permitted by the rules. It is most helpful when the rules are very clear.

Fact: A few years ago, Rhyl asked if the arena entry time at the Nationals could be increased because of the single file doorway and the need to be positioned right against the back wall for the display - otherwise we would have to forego our warm up. We were assured by the Contest Panel Chairman that 'no band would be penalised over entry time'. So we took him at his word. Result, 10 points deducted from all categories. We didn't appeal because the rule was clear and he didn't have the authority to vary it. Made a mental note not to trust this man.

Fact: Rhyl had planned to attend the rules meeting in January, but the date was changed at the last minute to one on which we could not attend.

Fact: Rhyl was assured by the Contest Panel Chairman that the meeting was 'just a normal, annual tidy-up of the rules, nothing special. And moreover, any rule changes would still need to be passed by the AGM and wouldn't come into force until the following season'. Made a mental note not to trust this man.

Fact: Along with 50 or so other bands, Rhyl was too apathetic and uninterested to devote the time and money required to make a 500 mile round trip to attend a two hour AGM centrally located on the South Coast.

Fantasy: Rhyl deliberately set out to break Rule 6. The 'new' Rule 6 was circulated before the Stone Contest. Rhyl scrutinised the wording carefully and concluded that 'conducting' was limited to eight bars at a time. So Rhyl DM changed his previous practice and carefully made sure that he did not exceed this limit.

Fact: Rhyl was accused of 'excessive' conducting at the Stone Contest and disqualified. The Contest Organiser refused to make a public announcement to this effect, despite being requested to do so by Rhyl. One judge was so disgusted with the proceedings that he has resigned. The Stone Contest has consistently refused to explain why they regarded the arguments in our appeal as unacceptable.

Fantasy: Rule 6 is ambiguous. The rule is actually quite clear. It permits 'hand signals' at the beginning and end of a piece (although it doesn't prohibit them anywhere else), and permits 'conducting' in any number of blocks of no more than eight bars each. The two terms are normally used to mean different things, and if it had been intended to mean conducting in both cases, the rule would have used that word throughout. The fact that it is a pretty pointless rule change, and doesn't say what the committee and others seem to want it to say is irrelevant.

Fact: The March AGM was inquorate as defined by the Constitution. It follows that any business voted on was not valid. That includes the acceptance of the accounts, the election of officers, and the passing of changes to the rules. Since the aspect of Rule 6 under which Rhyl was disqualified was not passed at that AGM, it was not actually in force at the Stone Contest, and there never has been any basis for a disqualification.

Fact: The committee has now admitted in writing that they were aware of the inquorate meeting at the time. They kept the fact from the attendees at the meeting. They have kept the fact from the membership at large for months. They kept the fact from the Rhyl band throughout their appeal process with the Stone Organiser.

Fantasy: The committee has the power to declare business transacted at an inquorate meeting to be valid. The Constitution lays down the rules for the conduct of the Association. It defines a quorum for a General Meeting which is the minimum number of voters which must be present for business to be valid. This is a common and prudent safeguard against decisions affecting the whole membership from being taken by a small and unrepresentative minority. There is no point in having such a rule if it can simply be overridden. The committee has now effectively agreed with this by calling the Special General Meeting to formally elect its members. Nevertheless, the committee insisted that it did have this power throughout the majority of the disqualification appeal.

Fantasy: Rhyl have tried to bring down the committee and collapse the Association. Rhyl has uncovered serious breaches of the Constitution in the course of defending itself against a disqualification. Material has only been made public after the Stone Contest and TYMBA committees repeatedly refused to acknowledge any of our arguments. Any disrepute falling on these bodies is entirely self-inflicted. At the inquorate AGM, the TYMBA committee had the opportunity to take the proper course of action and call a second meeting. When we first lodged the appeal, the committee had the opportunity to admit the inquorate AGM and dismiss the appeal on the grounds of the rule not being passed without loss of dignity. When the appeal was subsequently referred back to the committee, they had a second opportunity to do so. When we pointed out the illogicality of their claim to have 'authorised' the AGM, they had a third opportunity. After Rhyl attended the committee meetin g in Warwick, the committee had a fourth opportunity to end this fiasco with minimum embarrassment. One has to wonder why none of these opportunities were taken and whether the introduction of the rule was aimed specifically at Rhyl. Even after all this, Rhyl has supported the re-election of this committee. Rhyl has always supported the aims of TYMBA and has no desire to see it collapse. Even if the committee were not re-elected, or were to resign en masse, there is no reason to suppose that the Association would collapse.

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