Ah, summer….a DMA story for all of you

So here I am, right now this very minute, at Kutztown University. I’m sitting in the big Georgian Room and Mr. Parks is in the middle of his big and final hoopla (called the Attitude Session) with 180+ high school drum majors…..and I’m picking away on my computer. It’s not that I’m not paying attention, nor is it because after 23 (cough!) years of teaching with the Drum Major Academy that I have heard this session close to (math, math, math) 200 times…it’s because I was just struck by a very profound thought and knew that I needed to post it.

When you spend a lot of time doing the same thing you see people come and go. And many of those people were the reason you did whatever it was that you’re still doing—and now, they’re gone. What are you going to do without those people to make the experience special? Well truth be told, if you’ve been there long enough, it is time for YOU to step up to the plate! YOU are now the person that the new people will look to to make the experience special!

Upperclassmen: close your eyes. Think about your first year in the band and about the people who made band special. Did you find anyone? Did you see their faces? I bet you have vivid memories of fun times, performances, rehearsals, eating out on Main Street, etc.,…so vivid it was like it was yesterday. And now, they’re gone. They’ve graduated! What are you going to do?? Who is going to make band special for you now?

What you have to realize is that while you’re looking for all the people who made band special for YOU there are over 100 rookies joining band who will look to YOU to make band special for them!!

And to all the incoming Rookies I guarantee that the Vets will do just that–make band special for YOU. And in a few years you will do the same for future rookies. And the cycle and tradition will go on and on and on.

But why am I writing all this to you? Well while listening to Mr. Parks tell all the DMA students “Close your eyes and think about the people who made band special” I realized that when they nodded their heads that yes, they saw people, I realized that many of them saw YOUUDMB VETS AND ROOKIES!!! And I know this because day after day, student after student has come up to me to ask:

  • Do you know “so and so?” – they’re in your band (or) they’re going to be in your band.

These students talked on and on about YOU, about what an incredible person you were, about how YOU did so much for their band, about how YOU were the reason they joined band, stayed in band, tried out for drum major, etc. And they remember each and every memory as if it happened yesterday. And now they know that THEY are the ones who need to go back to their high school bands and make it special for THEIR new members just like you did for thme…and just as the UDMB Vets will make band special for all of the new UDMB rookie members.

The UDMB is a very special place filled with special people. And the connections between all of us and so many, many band programs around the country (yes, country!!) is extraordinary! With each passing week I get more and more excited about the upcoming season!

Have a great July everyone and close your eyes. Think about how special this year is going to be!


(and just when I thought I had finished this post….)

At the final ceremony during the Kutztown DMA, in an empty stadium the DMA Staff stood and chatted about the week and when we would all catch up again. And a lone voice from the top of the stands called down, “HEY SARV!” It was Maggie Loughman, vet member of the UDMB Trumpet line. Her sister had just finished DMA with us at KU!!

…..and the cycle and tradition goes on and on and on….

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