A Night of Surprises

Our trip to Band Contest is finally over, and all in all it was a good one.  I won’t keep you in suspense:  both of our bands – Cadet and Concert – earned Gold awards, which was gratifying.  Way to go, Backpack Bulldog Bands – thanks for a memorable night!

However, the night was memorable as much for its surprises as for the final scores.

Surprise #1 – Everyone was on time, which is not always a given, so we will count this as a pleasant surprise.

Surprise #2 – When we reached our contest site following a 15 minute bus ride, my eight drummers informed me that no one thought to bring a snare drum.

Figuring there was no point in wasting time, I sped right through the five stages of grief as quickly as possible.

“No way!”  (Denial)

“What were you thinking?”  (Anger)

“You’re kidding, right?  Please tell me you’re kidding?”  (Bargaining)

“How do eight drummers forget to bring a snare drum to Contest?”  (Depression)

“O.k., what are we going to do about it?”  (Acceptance)

Thankfully, our Contest hostess was kind enough to loan us a snare drum.  Problem solved.  Lesson learned.  Life goes on.

Surprise #3 – As the Concert Band students were lining up to go to the warm-up room, one student told me he had forgotten his music.  It turned out he wasn’t the only one.  In fact, a total of five students had not been listening when I told everyone to make sure they had their music.  Dispensing with the five stages, I went straight to pulling out the rest of my hair (which didn’t take long).

Surprise #4 – Both bands played exceptionally well.  This is not to say they were perfect.  I wouldn’t even say they were the best bands I have ever directed (no offense intended).  But all things considered, they put on quite a show.  It is not often that I enjoy – I mean really enjoy – conducting a band performance.  Usually, my attention is on the mechanics of keeping the group together and getting through the pieces without losing anyone.  But I thoroughly enjoyed these performances.  The bands played with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.  In short, they outdid themselves, and they made music.

Surprise #5 – The judges were not as impressed as I was.  This is the reality band directors face who choose to have their bands adjudicated, and I guess I should have expected it.  Judges don’t know all the countless challenges my students had to overcome.  Their job is to judge the quality of the performance and offer suggestions for improvement.  My job is to learn from them.

Surprise #6 – On the way home, one student stopped me to apologize for forgetting his music.  He said he knew it was irresponsible.  Wow!  That may have been the biggest and best surprise of all, which is why I said before that, all in all, this was a good trip.  My hope is always to teach these young ladies and gentlemen more than just music.  Hopefully, for at least one young man, a lesson was learned, and life goes on.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rachael Shaver on March 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    You never told there were that many surprises!


  2. Posted by Mom on March 18, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Loved your 5 stages of grief. Very well written. Funny! Mom


  3. Posted by Jason on March 19, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I thought the hair was gone before this trip. Did you pull the faux hair out of your toupee perhaps?


  4. Posted by Angela Shaver on March 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I like this one a lot.


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