Oh, I think we have to think about this one some more. I just came from a wonderful camp, but there were times I would just leave a group because of too much of the BBS. And I know I am not the only one. Some people have more of a tolerance for them, and will stick it out. But believe me, I know for a fact that people will leave a session once those books come out. You might not even know they are gone, but they do sneak out. And it seems to be the people with the best voices and best songs. And new people are not told this because I guess it's not polite.
I guess what I am referring to mostly is the late night, unofficial sessions, where the best music happens. That's when it drives me crazy. I guess a workshop, or song circle is fair game.
But I think people should express their opinions, one way or the other, unless it conflicts with mine, of course. And groups should let newcomers know if there is a group preference. And people don't have to follow the groupthink on this..they should be free to do what they want...but they should know that the quality of the music goes way way down. Maybe it is counterbalanced by something else...a better sense of community or something....but I go mainly for the music. I don't want to ruin people's enjoyment by any means...but I think they should know the consequences of those BBs. And that is, quite often, based on my observation only, that the best singers will quit coming to your song circles. They will have secret hiding places at camps and sing in the dark so you can't read them. They are passionate about how much they dislike what it does to the music.
I guess I have a couple of recommendations. One is, if you like them, use them, but use them for yourself only. Don't ask the group to turn to a particular page, wait while they do it, then ask if anyone knows the tune. You can learn the tune and refer to the words. Better yet, you can hum along or sing the chorus on songs and learn them as you go. If y ou are running a camp or a song circle, consider this problem, and maybe have some suggestions on when and when not to bring them out, and I would say, as a general rule, O.K. during official sessions listed on the program, OK if you set up your own session later on, but don't bring them to a group of people already singing. It really really disrupts the flow and greatly reduces the quality of the singing.
There. I said it.