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On Marching Band

Brian Anderson | August 2018

    This new column detailing Mr. Reed’s adventures debuted in our June online issue and will appear bi-monthly.

Carrying a Struggling Player

    Mr. Reed required each student to memorize the marching band competition show music, and students were assessed through a senes of playing exams. One student was behind on his assignments, and every time Mr. Reed asked him to come in after school to complete these, he would find a way to skip out. Mr. Reed remarked to the student’s section leader the student had not done his exams. The section leader told Mr. Reed that he would handle it.
    After school the next day, several section members came into the band room carrying the delinquent student, who was trying desperately to escape. Section members had stationed themselves at every exit to the school and grabbed him as he tried to leave the building. They sat him down in the band room and told him he needed to complete his memorization. He tried for a few minutes, then broke into tears saying, “I’ve tried, and I can’t memorize this.” His section members then looked at each other and without saying a word grabbed their horns. The section members worked with the student for nearly an hour helping him learn his music. While he did not finish his assignments that day, the section members assured him they would meet with him after school until he completed them. In three days, he completed his assignments, thanks in large part to the members of his section.

Clothes Don’t Make the Band
    Incoming Student: “Mr. Reed, I’ve decided I don’t want to be in band because I have to wear a uniform. Uniforms aren’t my thing.”
    Mr. Reed: “Well, If the uniform is really the reason you want to quit, you need to know that the volleyball team wears uniforms. You are on the volleyball team, right?”
    Student: “Yes, but those are cool uniforms.”
    Mr. Reed: “Uniforms must be in the eye of the beholder as I think ours are pretty cool, but what I am trying to tell you is that anything worth being a part of at this high school will have some type of uniform you will need to wear. I believe what is on the inside of a person is what counts, not the uniform on the outside.” 
    The student remained in band.

Worst Parade Idea Ever
    In a meeting with the Principal, Activities Director, and Assistant Activities Director, Mr. Reed learned of a plan for a Homecoming parade. This had been done in the community 30 years ago but had gone by the wayside from lack of student interest. The Principal, who had just joined the staff, really wanted this as he considered it community involvement. The Assistant Activities Director wanted this as well, saying that all the extra- and co-curricular groups and clubs would want to be involved. Mr. Reed told them that the time they wanted to have the parade would be crucial as the band went through their final rehearsal on the field 30 minutes before the team arrived for warmup. At the conclusion of the meeting, it was determined that the Assistant AD would contact all the clubs to see who was interested in participating before any decisions were made.
    In the subsequent meeting the Assistant AD said that no clubs wanted to participate, but she and the Principal had talked, and they were still planning on having a parade. Mr. Reed asked how this was going to happen, and she said that the Band was going to lead the football team to the field 12 blocks away.
    Mr. Reed: “I don’t get it. You’re going to have the football team walk or march behind the band while we lead them down to the field?”
    Principal: “Oh, no. The football team will be on buses and the band will lead the buses down to the field.”
   Mr. Reed: “The band will be marching, leading the football players in air conditioned buses down to the field. That’s your homecoming parade?”
   The Principal and Assistant AD nodded in the affirmative while the Activities Director put his head in his hands and said, “I don’t think this is a good idea.” However, the Principal had made his decision. Only a rash of phone calls from angry parents kept the parade from becoming a reality.

One of the Gang . . . Eventually
    After the first Band Camp rehearsal, Mr. Reed sat down to call the parents of a few students who were unaccounted for. One of these parents was the mother of an incoming freshman.
    Mr. Reed: “Hi, I am calling because your daughter was not at rehearsal today, and I wanted to make sure everything was okay and that she plans to be with us.”
    Parent: “Oh, I’m so sorry, I completely forgot about it, and she wasn’t about to tell me because she wants to quit band but I wont let her. She will be there tomorrow.”
    The next day, the student was not at rehearsal so Mr. Reed called the parent again.
    Mr. Reed: “Hi, she wasn’t at Band today. Is everything okay?”
    Parent: “I dropped her off at the high school. You didn’t see her? I wonder where she went She will definitely be there tomorrow.”
    The next morning, the parent escorted her daughter to the band room and introduced her to Mr. Reed. The parent had dropped her off at the high school the day before, but the student hid in a restroom until rehearsal started, then walked home. The student was upset, and Mr. Reed realized he was in for a challenge. The first day she did little, if anything. The second day she warmed up a little and by the end of band camp she was one of the gang. She was a valuable band member for her entire high school career and one the best leaders in the organization as a senior.