Yesterday began around 7:30AM for me and ended a little after midnight. Yep, you guessed it I was with a marching band. It was my first actual performance with the Centerville Jazz Band and even though it was just an exhibition it flooded my mind.
I first was amazed at the dedication of the students. At 8:30AM they were ready to go even though they had performed at a football game the night before. They were more awake than some of the techs that's for sure. It was great for me to see the way they rehearse on a performance day. Since this venue was only 35 miles away they got in a full day of cleaning before we loaded 5 buses for Northmont. They didn't play much, as expected, but they have such an attention to detail. For example, the practiced in their shakos to get a feel for the sightlines that would be blocked. It all makes so much sense, everything has its place...a purpose. They slowly, but surely head towards their goal at BOA Finals. There's so much to copy from their playbook. I'm very thankful for the opportunity.
I thought a lot about what my future holds, do I want every weekend to be like this for the rest of my career? After meeting with my newest mentor and getting my first experiences as college faculty I wondered if that will be the path I chose. I guess I have a lot more thinking to do and I'm really ok with that for the first time in my life, I'm letting things happen because I really don't know the next step no matter how many times I've said "I want to teach a big HS program" or "I want to be the Assistant/Director of Bands at a University".
I came home during the dinner break to change and sneak a few quiet minutes. The staff just dresses up a pair of jeans. The director said he just doesn't take himself too seriously, that's why the tie will get broken out at the end of the season. It was weird to be sitting on a bus in jeans and button down shirt. Still with my bag of course.
I couldn't help, but think of the Marching Titans as the bus hummed along the interstate. Students were listening to Ipods, texting, and laughing as we drove. While it wasn't my group and I didn't have a bag of med forms, it felt comfortable. It was like I was home. The groups have many things in common, despite the obvious differences in size and financial support. The passion and drive, the sense of belonging, not to mention some cool uniforms, and of course lack of sousaphones(shudder).
I could pick out personalities that reminded me of my first band. There seems to be an equivelent to each of the students in those first EPGHS bands here at Centerville. They might not correspond by instrument(however the sax section leader is a tenor playing girl who plays very well), but the spirit is the same. I could go on, but that's not really the point.
For better or worse, I'm glad I turned down a few other offers to be the director at EPG. I met some great people, learned a lot about teaching, and found my future wife. I was told by one of my teachers that even though it wasn't the ideal job, I would always remember my first band. The group that really let me teach for the first time. I didn't believe it when he told me, but today I'm certain I would have no problem listing every student in the band 07-09 and something about them. I know I'd smile (almost) the whole time too. Those kids made just as much of an impression on me, if not a deeper one on me, than I did on them.
English National Opera Senior Producer
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