After compiling a Best of 2017 last year, I found that it made a good abbreviated diary of the year, so I kept a similar list as I went along in 2018. I would suggest you take a moment during your upcoming year and do the same; years later, you will be glad you did. Here’s what I came up with.
Best New Artist Who Makes Me Look Cool Because I Downloaded His Music: Charlie Puth (Done for Me and The Way I Am).
Best Imitation of an NCIS Agent: Clandestinely talking into my new Apple Watch at a football game.
Best New March I Had Never Heard But Maybe Should Have: Colditz March (the theme for the BBC television series Colditz) by Robert Farnon, arranged by Philip Sparke.
Best Thing I Never Thought I Would Be Doing During Marching Season on a Saturday: Blowing up little inflatable green aliens for our contest show.
Best Encounter with Nature: A light infestation of crickets in our new band room. When I tell jokes you can literally hear crickets after the punchlines.
Best New Teaching Concept: Teach breathing as a three-dimensional concept; picture the lungs as three dimensional.
Best Insult: A beginning band student told me, “You are an insult to comedy.”
Best Thing I Learned That I Should Have Known Already: It is better to tune trombones on Bb3 than on F3.
Best Stroke of Good Fortune: Having a student intern two semesters in row.
Best Career Pick-Me-Up: A new fine arts center at our school.
Best Micromanaged Moment: I was asked if I had filled out the proper paperwork to take band students a quarter mile away to eat at Burger King during summer practices. (I have never taken a bus without permission in 33 years.)
Best Self-Introduction of Student to New Assistant Band Director: “Hi. I’m Hailey. I’m last chair.”
Best Arrangement of a Pop Tune for Jazz Band: Nothing from Nothing arranged by John Wasson.
Best “Did They Really Do That?” Moment: Five members of our football team purposely parked their cars in the middle of where we practice in the parking lot because one of them was mad that I reported him for speeding through the lot while we were practicing.
Best Rediscovered Mood Music: Selections from great classic musicals like Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Annie Get Your Gun, and The King and I.
Best Oldie I Downloaded: Spooky by Atlanta Rhythm Section.
Best Percussion Moment of the Year: My drumset player had a triangle ready to go when we were about to sightread The Pink Panther. Usually there is scramble in my percussion sections for matching drumsticks, much less a triangle.
Best Time to Reflect on What Is Wrong with Education: Our required weekly 40-minute professional learning community meeting, which replaces our prep period.
Best Annoying Tradition Continued: Students too lazy to lift a case three feet to place on the instrument shelf.
Best Moment of Personal Glory: Knowing how to do something on the computer that my younger, computer-savvy assistant didn’t know.
Best Fashion Moment: Wearing sandals to school and being told they were “Jesus shoes.”
Best New-to-Me Phrase: “Fight like you’re the third monkey on the ramp to Noah’s Ark . . . and brother, it’s startin’ to rain.” (Christopher Woods)
Best Response to a Blonde Joke: “Why don’t you tell old-men-who-wear-glasses jokes?”
Best Rediscovered Moldy Oldie That I Will Never Download: Torn Between Two Lovers as sung by Mary MacGregor. (I gagged just typing the title.)
Best Awkward Moment That Seemed Like an Eternity: A student’s parents silently standing by my desk while I was trying to get ready for an away football game.
Best Dreaded Moment: Waiting on the morning of a marching contest for my cell phone to ping with some type of bad news.
Best Parent Rant: “It’s cold and it’s been rainin’ all $%#@^&* day, and I’m not going to let him march! I’m not puttin’ up with this $%#^!” This was from the father of a senior who pulled his son out one hour before we were to perform. The rain had already stopped, and the evening turned out to be slightly chilly, but pleasant. The father was wearing shorts and a tank-top during his rant.)
Best Humbling Task Done Around 10:00 PM: Crawling around a dark bus looking for a black band shoe.
Best Text for Improving Band Sight-Reading: The Sight-Reading Book for Band by Jerry West (Books 1 and 2, Winger-Jones).
Best Show of Hubris: A band in our state who wore “State Marching Band Champions” shirts to contest under their uniforms before they competed.
Best Reason for Quitting Band (as said to a colleague of mine): “Well, I’m just gonna say it. My daughter is too good-looking to be in band.”