Saturday, August 28, 2010

Forward March!

If you have no connection to the world of academia, you might still consider it "summer," but those of us in education have already switched over to fall mode. And even though it's not yet September, the beloved annual ritual known as high school football is already underway here in Texas. (Not everyone has started, mind you; this is "Zero Week," which means that the teams who played last night or Thursday will have a bye week later in the season.) And with the launch of football means the launch of another annual ritual that's much closer to me: Marching band.

As I've mentioned before, I have all kinds of appreciation for marching band--as long as I'm not the one having to direct it (or march in it, for that matter; I did my eight years in high school and college). I'll go to the big UIL contest (which has several parts this year, being a "state year" for my 5A schools) and at least one game per season. (I missed out last year because of my injury; I was having a bit of trouble with stairs during my recovery, and what is a stadium if not a giant set of stairs?) I also have a bit more connection with one of my two schools' shows, as I did seven days of sectionals over their music for them during summer band.

So I was happy to open up my newspaper this morning to see a positive piece about band on the op-ed page. The writer, Mike Shepherd, is from Duncanville, whose band has won all kinds of honors over the years, but a few things he says can be applied to band as a whole:
I still believe that the marching band is one of the best things about fall in Texas.

[...]Much of the success of the band is attributable to the band directors, who push the kids to improve and drill them many hours during the school year and in summer camps.

[...] My community is a better place to live because I know that – rain or shine, win or lose – the band plays on.
Indeed. And participation in school music programs helps build better students and citizens. (But you knew that already if you've been reading this blog for a while.)

Anyway, with all the bad press that school-age kids seem to get these days, it's nice to see something so positive so early in the school year. Let's hope for a lot more of this type of coverage.

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