The purpose of this study was to collect specific data concerning the use of financial resources from extant adult community bands that are members of the Association of Concerts Bands (ACB). An adult community band is defined as an ensemble consisting primarily of amateur adult woodwind, brass, and percussion performers, the majority of whom are not satisfying school, college, or military requirements through participation.
This investigation comprises two main parts: 1) a perusal of the development of adult community bands within the overall history of bands in the United States, including, when possible, financial aspects of their operations; and 2) an examination of financial trends in ACB organizations, as illustrated by survey data.
An electronic survey was designed to examine six questions: 1) what are the budgets of today’s community bands, 2) how do bands compensate their staff and personnel, 3) where are bands spending their money, 4) what are their sources of income, 5) how are their current financial trends different than Peter Martin’s 1983 study on community bands, and 6) are there trends in regards to their expenses, revenues, bands’ longevity, and locations? In order to make more accurate conclusions, the author divided bands into five classes, based on their financial structure, to analyze and compare data.
Five major trends were observed: 1) current adult bands are usually non-profit organizations that list monetary compensation for their conductors on their Annual Operating Budget (AOB), 2) fifty-four percent (54%) of bands with an AOB spend between $4,000 and $19,999, 3) after adjusting for inflation, monetary compensation has remained nearly the same over the last thirty-four years, 4) music is the most common expense among adult bands, and 5) since 1983, the number of bands reporting government funding as a revenue source has decreased.