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Mid-Year Madness

Brian Anderson | December 2018

You Will Have a Band There
    Mr. Reed was called down to the office for a meeting with the Activities Director, who informed him there would be a winter sports pep rally the next week on Tuesday after school.
    Mr. Reed: “Can we do it any day other than Tuesday? We have a band concert that night. I would like the students to be fresh.”
    A.D.: “No. That’s the only day we can do it.”
    Mr. Reed looking at the schedule calendar:: “It looks like the schedule isn’t booked solid except for Friday, so let’s choose another day.”
    A.D.: “I said the pep rally is going to be on Tuesday.”
    Mr. Reed: “Okay. I have an idea. How about if Friday afternoon we have the basketball team run five miles?”
    A.D.: “That would be stupid. They have a game that night.”
    Mr. Reed: “My point exactly with the band and Tuesday afternoon.”
    A.D: “You will have a band there Tuesday afternoon for a winter sports pep rally or I will start insubordination charges.”
    That next Tuesday after school, Mr. Reed took the full 170-member marching band to the gym for the pep rally. They played nothing but drum cadences for the entire rally until the school fight song once through at the very end. While expecting punishment, he never heard a word from the Activities Director, but the Cheer­leading Sponsor didn’t speak to him for weeks. The cheerleaders had dance routines ready for the pep band songs, but did not have any prepared for the drum cadences, so they had little they could do during the pep rally. Mr. Reed considered it a win-win.

Coach Wants More
    The Head Boys Basketball Coach walked into the Activities Director’s office. He said that while he appreciated the band because they played at most home basketball games, he wanted to make it mandatory that they were there for every home game. The A.D. said that the band students had other activities, homework, jobs, and social lives, and he thought what they did for the team was enough. The coach, however, kept pressing. The A.D. finally said, “Mr. Reed and the band had a concert last night. It was really good. Did you go to it? I didn’t see you there.” The coach answered that he did not go and that he never attended band concerts. The A.D. then asked, “How can you expect the band to do more for you when you do absolutely nothing for them?” The coach left the room in silence.

Bands Are for Blaming
    After the basketball team lost a home game, Mr. Reed was stopped by a parent on the way out of the gym. She told him she was a basketball parent and was disappointed with the band. She believed that the band cost the team the game because the songs they played were not peppy enough and didn’t get the team fired up to win. He tried to go around her, but she stepped in front of him and continued her claims.
    Mr. Reed: “You’re kidding, right?”
    Parent: “No, the band cost the team the game.”
    Mr. Reed: “Then we obviously weren’t watching the same game.”
    Parent: “You lost the game for the team!”
    Mr. Reed: “I’m sorry you feel that way, but if you are going to blame us for the loss, shouldn’t you give the band the credit when the team wins?”
    The parent turned and walked away.

Whose Turn Is It?
    Mr. Reed’s first teaching position was a grades 5-12 band program at a small school. One day one of his middle school students asked if a few of them could come down to the band room during study hall. All they needed was a pass to be excused. Mr. Reed agreed, on the condition that they would be practicing, not just sitting there wasting time. After a few days, several more students asked to come down from the same study hall. Within two weeks, more than 30 students – nearly the entire grades 7-8 band – wanted to come down to the band room.
    Mr. Reed went to see the study hall teacher to make sure everything was fine. In visiting with the other teacher Mr. Reed found out that the way the schedule worked, most of the middle school band students had their classes together. When the band students in her study hall came to the band room, she was left with only two students to look after, and she could have them in her room and get some things done at the same time. She suggested to Mr. Reed that they just go directly to the band room rather than to her. The two of them went to the administration, which approved the request.
    True to their word, the students practiced when in the band room, working on chamber music and individual parts. However, a good portion of the time each day was spent playing through their band music as an ensemble as different students conducted. Sitting in his office, he always smiled when he heard students say, “Okay, whose turn is it to be Mr. Reed?”