Strike up the band!

Everything I need to know I learned while in high school band. I had played piano since I was five and sung in the choir, but left the band teacher scratching his head when I finally decided to join the band in 9th grade.

“We don’t have any pianos in the concert or marching band,” he said.

I looked at him a bit dejectedly.

He paused and then said, “We do have these melodic percussion instruments.”

That began a love affair for instrumental ensembles as I played bells, timpani, snare drum, bass drum, and toms in the concert band, marching band, and jazz band. I went on to play with community bands, jazz groups, pit orchestras, and my college orchestra. I am reminded of those special days when it all began as I visit marching band camps this summer and observe talented DCPS music teachers working with our students on the field. What did I learn as I carried a heavy bass drum in the hot sun and turned a street corner while staying in formation with my band mates?

Grit. Determination. Perseverance. Creativity. Collaboration. Discipline. Teamwork.

Before books started being written on these popular topics, there was the band. Were you a part of it? Did you play in the band or perform with the auxiliary? Do you have memories of the brilliant lights on the football field as the band marched in full uniform and inspired the team and cheering community members?

I am excited about the start of a new year and welcoming new students and teachers to the band programs of Duval County Public Schools. I am not an alum of Stanton, but I am proud to support their band boosters and the many other band boosters throughout our district. With your support we will teach our students the value of grit, determination, perseverance, creativity, collaboration, discipline, and teamwork.  Strike up the band!

Blue Devils flip flops

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