The Mississippi Community
Symphonic Band










Planning Document #1

This document is merely the product of a brainstorming session during the first meeting of the Band Organizers. You should read this document first, to see what's been thought of.

The information in this document is not binding, nor is it set in concrete -- it is put here merely to serve as a foundation for discussion and future concept development.

If after reading this document and the other planning documents, you have suggestions to make, please get in touch with the Band Organizers.

To download a Microsoft Word version of this document (54k), click here.



February 2, 2004

PURPOSE OF THIS DOCUMENT: This document is for brainstorming purposes only. The ideas, concepts, and possibilities outlined in this document are suggestions only, and not intended to be taken as set in concrete. All items are up for discussion and alteration if the working group comes up with something better.

The name “Mid-Mississippi Community Band” is used in this document as a working title only for the group. The name of the group may be expected to change in the near future. In this document, it will be abbreviated as MCSB.



A. Suggested Vision For The MCSB:

B. Suggested Mission Of The MCSB

C. The Philosophy Of The MCSB

D. Goals Of The MCSB


A.The Board Of Directors

B.  The President

C.  The Divisions -- Summary

D. The Music Director (Division)

E. The Executive Director (Division)

F. The Operations Director (Division)

G. The Booster Organization (Division)





Ultimately, we would like to see the MCSB achieve the following:

Ø     The group will have more volunteer workers than it needs. Volunteer workers can be instrumentalists or non-players. They just want to work to help the MCSB succeed.

Ø     The MCSB will have so many players it will be divided into two bands, the Symphonic Band with the best players, and the Community Band, which is open to all players.

Ø     The MCSB will so popular and in demand that they could perform two concerts a month if they wanted to.

Ø     Every time the MCSB has a concert, it is sold out and SRO.

Ø     Selected staff members are paid a stipend or salary.

Ø     The group will own all needed items, including

o       Music library

o       Instruments (esp. percussion)

o       Equipment (stands, lights, podium, etc.)

o       Uniforms

o       Vehicles


The mission of the MCSB will be twofold. These two mission elements are listed in order of importance and priority.

 The mission of the MCSB is to

(1)   Provide a place for instrumentalists to play in a a fun and challenging ensemble.

(2)   Provide good music in the form of concerts to the communities we serve.


The philosophy of any organization defines its culture and its values. We see the philosophy of the MCSB as the following:

(1)   People are more important than music. Granted, the whole purpose of the organization is to make good music, and to delight our audiences. But before we can make good music, we must have people, and our people are more important.

We should operate under the principle of “the greater good.” This means when there are conflicts, the resolution should be guided by the greater good for the greater number, with proper consideration and prioritization given to the MCSB members, to the audience, and to individual contributions.

Even as we strive to put our people first, we must remain careful not to become vulnerable to people who would see this philosophy as weakness and attempt to manipulate it to their advantage.

Basically, this means the Directors, staff, and other leadership of the MCSB must always be open to listening to concerns of the members, the audience, and the boosters. Those who hear these concerns are obligated to let those with the concerts know the disposition and rationale for the decision.

(2)   The MCSB represents all the communities we serve. We don’t want to put any geographical or other limitation on the communities we serve. This means we want to remain open to performance anywhere at any time, with only logistical considerations placing limits on us. This also means we want our membership to be open to anyone, with the only requirements being each individual’s musical ability and attitude.

(3)   MCSB Music Should Be FUN! First, the tunes have to be fun for the players. This means the music should be somewhat challenging but playable, and each tune of itself should be fun to play and fun to listen to.

Second, this means the music must be fun for the audience. We don’t want to “pander” to any audience, but we definitely want to play things they will enjoy. This means a mixture of things they know and want to hear, and new things that will entertain and delight them.

(4)   Concerts should follow an interesting sequence. This means opening with a lively march or show tune, following it with a fun feature piece (a la Leroy Anderson), a maximum of one piece of “serious” literature, a feature piece with a guest conductor or soloist or ensemble, a showcase piece, an inspiring or patriotic piece, and a rousing finale. There should always be an encore prepared.

(5)   Showcase Local Talent. We should always consider showcasing local talent. Perhaps sponsoring a high school solo and ensemble contest, or inviting winners of the state contest to perform as guests. This would be particularly appropriate when we do something out of town. For example, if we play in Hattiesburg, we could invite a local star to be a guest artist.

(6)   A Forum For Composers. We might consider inviting local composers of all ages to write pieces for the MCSB. Those that “pass muster” will be featured in a concert. Passing Muster means gaining the approval of the Music Committee.


The goals of the MCSB are the interim steps we want to take en route to achieving our vision. These goals might include:

Ø     Each member will have fun making excellent music.

Ø     The MCSB will grow continually in all instrumental sections.

Ø     The members will represent all aspects of the communities.

Ø     The MCSB will perform at least four concerts a year.

Ø     Audiences for MCSB concerts will continually be larger with each performance.

Ø     The MCSB will be in ever-increasing demand to provide concerts in many communities.


This is a first-draft sketch of what the staff setup of the MCSB might look like. We see the MCSB being governed by a board of directors, a President, and four divisions.

A.The Board Of Directors

It might be best to have an Interim BOD and a Permanent BOD.

The Interim BOD will consist of 3 to 15 volunteers, and will serve not more than one year in interim status. Their tasks will be to get the MCSB off the ground, to write and approve the Constitution and Bylaws, to “hire” the volunteer Division Chiefs, to do fundraising, and to oversee the attainment of IRS 501(c)(3) status.

The Permanent BOD will consist of a number of directors to be determined by the Bylaws (suggest 5 to 25), and will have duties and terms of office as defined in the (to be written) Bylaws. Initial Permanent BOD members will be elected by the Interim BOD.

B.  The President

Whether the MCSB even needs a President is a matter to be discussed. It is possible that the Music Director or other Director could also serve as the President, or that the President could be another individual altogether.

The duties of the President would be determined by the Bylaws and the BOD, but should probably be to oversee all functions of the MCSB and ensure that each staff member is properly fulfilling the assigned duties.

Another consideration might be that the President would in actuality be the President of the Booster organization.

Whether the Booster organization should be a Division of the MCSB, or should be a totally separate organization, is a matter for discussion.

C.  The Divisions -- Summary

The four divisions of the MCSB, and a summary of their functions, is as follows:

1.      Music Director (Division) – This division is in charge of all things musical. This includes, rehearsals, concerts, music library, equipment, uniforms, etc. There should be a Music Division Staff to handle various tasks of the division.

2.      Executive Director (Division) – This division is in charge of all non-profit type activities. This includes attaining and maintaining nonprofit corporation status, IRS 501(c)(3) status, appropriate licenses and permissions, and all fundraising outside of concert admission fees and concert stipends.

3.      Operations Director (Division) – This division is in charge of all the non-music aspects of the MCSB operation. This includes such things as booking rehearsal locations, booking concerts, coordinating personnel for each rehearsal and concert, maintaining the website, writing the newsletter, maintaining the personnel database, and generating and coordinating all publicity.

4.      The Booster Organization (Division?) This division is responsible for fundraising, for maintaining the list of individual and corporate donors and sponsors, and for generating, operating, and coordinating special events just for the boosters.

D. The Music Director (Division)

This division will consist of the Music Director and the Music Staff.

1.      The Music Director. This individual is also called the “Conductor.” This person will be responsible for directing rehearsals and concerts. Also for coordinating all the members, assigning parts, chairs, etc. The Music Director also chairs the Repertoire Committee (below).

2.      Librarian Staff. There should be one principal Librarian, and as many Library Staff members as needed. The Librarian Staff will be responsible for maintaining the music library and the MCSB rehearsal and performance folios. Their principal duties will consist of passing out new music when instructed by the director, taking up and filing music no longer needed, tracking down and regaining possession of music that accidentally went home with members, processing and filing new music purchases, and other duties as the Music Director may instruct.

3.      Quartermaster Staff. There will be one principal Quartermaster, and as many staff members as may be needed. The Quartermaster may wish to appoint individual Lieutenant Quartermasters to be in charge of

Ø      MCSB-owned Instruments.

Ø      Equipment

Ø      Uniforms

Ø      Vehicles.

           The MCSB Quartermaster Staff is responsible for seeing that each rehearsal and concert is properly set up in time for the event, transporting any large instruments and equipment as needed, and issuing and tracking uniforms when we get them.

4.      Repertoire Committee. Chaired by the Music Director, this committee consists of at least three members and is responsible for selecting the music to be played at each concert, and for approving music to be purchased.

E. The Executive Director (Division)

This Director and Staff handle all 501(c)(3) matters. They also handle any nonprofit concerns, including fundraising. (More to come here later.) The ED may also serve as chair of the booster organization if that division folds into this one.

F. The Operations Director (Division)

This Director and Staff handle all the bookings. They set up the calendar and locations for rehearsals and concerts, in coordination with the Music Director. They handle all the finances of the organization. This division is responsible for ensuring all monies are properly accounted for and setting up procedures to ensure any expenditures go through proper approvals. This division also handles any legal issues that might arise, especially Sarbannes-Oxley concerns.

G.    The Booster Organization (Division)

The concept of this division is the foggiest of the lot. It is possible it might be a loose organization of people and corporations dedicated to seeing that good community band music is here to stay, and done right. This area needs further discussion.


A Single Band

In the early days of the MCSB, we will probably have only enough musicians to form a single performance group. If that’s the case, then we must determine how free or how restrictive to make the membership. The tradeoff is that if we let in players of all levels and abilities, then many of the more accomplished players will opt out of the group. But if we restrict membership to players of higher ability, we are cutting out some people who might really want to play. This issue warrants much more discussion.

Two Bands?

It seems the very best solution to this issue would be to have two bands, the Symphonic Band, and the Community Band.

The Mid-Mississippi Symphonic Band

This band would be membership by invitation only. It would consist of only those players needed to form a complete ensemble, and would be players of college-graduate level ability or equivalent. It would probably be wise to have several-deep reserves in each section because of individuals’ schedule conflicts.

The Mid-Mississippi Community Band

This band would be open membership, for anyone of high-school-graduate-level playing ability. This would provide an opportunity to play for those adults who sincerely want to play, but are somewhat rusty on their instrument. It would also provide an opportunity for high-school-age musicians to play with a larger group, if they have their band director’s permission and pass an audition.


We need to have a plan for keeping things moving until they take on a life of their own.

This pretty much means we need to form a semi-official “MCSB Startup Working Group,” and as soon as possible get the Interim Board of Directors in place.

This means we need to have regular meetings, and we need to find out as soon as we can who we have who wants to work on this thing, who is willing to put in some time and some effort and some money.

We have already scheduled our first rehearsal for March 22, and that’s a great date to shoot for. We’ve got a lot of things to do between now and then, and it will be much easier if we have lots of people to do it.

Respectfully submitted,
David P. Miller
February 1, 2004

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