The Band Played On

Published: December 3, 2010

Twenty-five years after the original formation of the band, the music continues to evolve despite numerous changes in membership.

While merely a no-name garage band, the group has evolved into a fascinating blend of talents over the past quarter-century. Twenty-five years of age separates the bass player from the lead guitarist. Only 50% of the musicians have survived the band’s personnel changes from the original cast of characters that gathered in the keyboard player’s basement for the first time in 1985. Over the years, job changes, re-locations, divorces and illnesses have threatened to break up the band. Yet, month after month, year after year, the players gather to create new music.

It’s not always pretty. Everyone notices when one of the musicians is too loud, plays off-key or gets out of sync with the rest. Eye rolls, deep sighs and sulking sometimes communicate frustrations even though everyone tries to behave professionally under stress. Band members occasionally leave a rehearsal less happy than when they arrived even though the reason for the group’s existence is purely to be creative and have fun. Feelings get hurt and apologies are exchanged. The music carries on.

In the end, the pleasure always trumps the pain. Like any friendship, the matrix of relationships ebbs and flows from crisis to opportunity. The power of the music insidiously parallels the strength of the interpersonal connections as if our thoughts and feelings are being directly expressed through our instruments. Silent eye contact acknowledgments capture magical musical moments for eternity.

Invest, trust, innovate, distance…repeat.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.