Okay, I;m mostly just whining here, but we haven't had any new threads in a while... maybe I just need a little calming down..
Our band stage setup has the singers at the back, right under the projection screen, up on 18" risers, and then the band members in front of them, sitting down or off to the sides. It sounds weird, but it works for us. And since we have our own building, we can leave it mostly set up during the week. One side of the stage area (which is not raised at all) is for the band, the other is for the choir.
So Thursday, I was at the church helping put together some demo CDs for the children's Christmas program and discovered that the preschool (semi-connected with the church) people had pulled out all the risers for their Christmas program, which means all our singer mics, cables and stands are sitting on the floor, and most of our amps & stuff have been moved around. So I'm depending on the preschool people to get it put back together correctly, and I'm going to wind up having to check every connection on Sunday morning (which means getting to the church about 6:30 am tomorrow). It does not appear that anybody tried to contact me to ask permission, or to let me know that it had been done, and if the risers aren't where they belong, I can't move them by myself.
So my first impulse was to fire off a nastygram to the church office and to go buy a big bike lock so that when the risers are back in place I can lock them to each other in such a way that they can't be moved like this... but, ya know, that's probably not the "Christian" thing to do. I think this has happened a couple times before, because there have been Sundays when I showed up and everything was just slightly "wrong" and other than having to check and fix all the cabling when we should have been rehearsing, it wasn't a big deal.
Anyway, like I said, I'm mostly just whining, but if anybody wants to add an encouraging word or suggest a gracious Christian way to deal with all this, feel free :-) I understand that the preschool wants to raise the children up so they can be seen, I think it's mostly the fact that nobody asked or let me know that's bugging me, and then to some degree, the fact that our stage setup was pulled apart and it's gonna be up to me to get it all working Sunday morning... and that the preschool didn't respect the fact that we might not want our stage setup pulled apart.
So, yeah, I suppose I just want to be told that not exploding was the right thing to do. Count my blessings that we don't have to set up the whole stage every week. But I suppose that suggestions about how I can handle this situation in a non-passive-aggressive way would be useful, too :-)
Maybe you could ask someone else less emotionally involved (speaking as one who has experienced your feelings for similar reasons) to have a gracious word with the pre-school, explaining why they should not dismantle the stage in the future. In your place, I would rather someone else speak to them because I'd find it difficult to be gracious.
Might be worth asking yourself if it would be less of a problem if they informed you in advance that they planned to dismantle it, so that you could go in on Saturday to reassemble & take the pressure off Sunday? Not ideal, but better than arriving to find such a mess again.
And yes, not exploding was the right thing to do. ;-)
I have to say Charles I think you have been very gracious about this, if I were in your situation I would be furious. I would probably rant and rave behind their backs and not say a word....definitely not the right way of going about it though. I think Toni's suggestion of asking someone else to have a word is as good as any, unless you are able to keep your calm and use alot of tact, which I would find very hard to do.
I am guessing Charles that the pre-school don't realise the extent of what they have done with regard to the music set up and the mics, cables etc., but I find it hard to accept this kind of discourtesy from the people involved by not asking you first and really do think that they are out of order.
ps. I run a pre-school and wouldn't dream of messing with anyone else's set up. Am I the Mary Poppin's of pre-schoolers? most definitely not, but would like to think I showed a bit more respect for other people and their set ups.
Thanks, Toni & Lorraine. I went over to the church about 45 minutes early and that was enough time to put things back the way they are supposed to be... the risers were close to where they're supposed to be, but not quite, a few other things were not back where they belong, but nothing was broken.
And somebody actually mentioned during "prayer request" time how much they appreciate the band (without knowing about any of this), so that kinda helped. I haven't contacted anyone yet, but I'll probably send an email to the church office about this and see what the deal is.
I'm trying hard not to turn into a bitter old white man these days, and given that there's only one of those things I can change (easily), that's the one I'm working on...
Okay, so I found out some more details since last week. If anybody cares, here's what I think happened:
- up until a year or so ago, the risers "belonged" to the choir, and if the preschool borrowed the risers, all it meant was moving a few chairs off, and if they didn't get put back up, it was no big deal as long as the risers got back where they belonged. So that's why it was never an issue before.
- at some point, the choir "gave" the risers to the band, and we created a new stage setup. In our new setup, there are mics and stands on the risers, plus they're back in the corner, so that they can't be pulled out without moving a lot of other equipment. Maybe the office wasn't aware of this, but, yeah, the use of the risers has changed.
- the preschool has been using the risers regularly a couple times a year (for years), and maybe it didn't occur to them that pulling them out of the band setup, it's more complicated and more important that they be put back "right." There's also more chance of something getting broken or lost that we need on Sunday morning.
- I have noticed a couple times in the past year that the band stage setup appeared to have been "messed with," but I wasn't aware who might have been doing that. I would point out that this last time, whoever "put them back" left a lot more things "out of place" and I had a lot more fixing up to do. I tried to be gracious about all this and not raise a stink 'til we were done with Sunday morning.
- From my perspective, it would be nice if nobody pulled our stage setup apart, but I understand that it's going to happen now and then. And because our setup is more complicated, it's going to be less likely that it will be put back just exactly perfect.
- I guess the most important thing is that I need to know about it when the risers are pulled out of the band setup, so that I can plan to be at church early the following Sunday to make sure everything is working. Even better would be if I was contacted before things got moved, so that I could arrange to be involved in tearing down / setting back up. Ideally (from my perspective), nobody would ever move anything, but I get that that's not going to happen.
So if we could just fix this that if somebody's going to move the risers around, to keep me "in the loop," that would be adequate. If I can, I'll try to be there at both ends of the process, but what I really care about is that if I show up on Sunday morning and our stage is as messed up as it was this week, that puts me in panic mode all morning.
Communication is a wonderful thing. At least you understand the path/reason now.
Thanks for keeping us in the picture Charles, much appreciated as we are a caring bunch on WTR.
I think people who are not involved with music/bands don't have the first clue about the importance of messing with music set ups and all the work that is involved on your part, plus they have no realisation about the delicate nature and expense of the equipment etc. I agree though Charles, it would make life much easier if you were contacted beforehand so you could be involved in the moving of stuff yourself. I think anyone would go into panic mode if they turned up on Sunday morning and things were all messed up as I reckon we have enough to concentate on doing the actual worship without having to worry about the set up at the last minute.
It's great though that everything is amicable as it is so easy to have huge fall outs over things like this : )
Charles, I know I came to this thread a little late, but here is my two cents worth........ you're an awesome servant of God! And don't you forget that, the church only functions because of people like you and others in the church. Same as in the Preschool area and the Choir etc. We need them all and we need the communications to be available to all too.
It is all for the Glory of God, and really, non of it belongs to anyone BUT God; it is used by the family of the church. It would be nice if some of the family gets on-board and is aware of their responsibility to replace things when they use it. It sounds like my house hold things get used and moved and not returned lol.
I would definitely get the word out to the different areas that use the stage for ANY reason to be respectful and replace whatever is moved or touched, if unsure then get in touch with the person who does, that's you in this case.
We have a policy that requires anybody show uses our church building to fill out paperwork. This paperwork explains that NOBODY is allowed to touch anything on the stage except for a few of our trained musicians and volunteers. Anybody who needs anything on the stage moved that requires more than a few minutes will be required to pay one of our people to do so. This has worked very well for us in preventing damage to our equipment and any unexpected surprises when we arrive on Sunday morning. I would highly recommend you put something like this in place.