The Best of 2020
Best Reference to 2020: Dumpster fire.
Best Consoling Thought When I Walked Out the Door and Noticed That My Shirt Didn’t Smell Too Fresh: No one can smell this from six feet away.
Best Reference to Unsuccessful Attempts at Crossing the Break on Clarinet: Clarinet puberty .
Best Imagery for Deep Breathing: Pretend like your nose is on your stomach and that you are breathing through it deeply.
Best Rediscovered Article on Marching Band: The Sound Lag in Marching Shows by Si Millican in the July 2004 Instrumentalist.
Best Worst Question on Facebook Discussion Page: “Are major scales copyrighted?”
Best Professional Show of Restraint: Not one director on the aforementioned discussion page responded with what they were really thinking.
Best Ironic Comment About Practicing: You should sound terrible when you practice. (The idea is that you should be practicing many passages that need improvement, not just the things you already play well.)
Best New-to-Me Book of Lip Slurs: Modern Flexibilities for Brass by Scott Beck.
Most Surprising YouTube Discovery That Has Nothing to Do with Cats: Famed tubist Roger Bobo appears on Johnny Carson performing Romanian Dance No. 2 and then gives a very entertaining interview with a musically-out-of-his-depth Carson. (Carson accidentally calls a mouthpiece a valve.)
Best Classic Book for a Little Escapism: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot.
Best Classic Book Series for a Little Escapism: The eleven-book series featuring the indomitable Horatio Hornblower by C.S. Forester. His inner thoughts eerily parallel those of anyone in a leadership position.
Best Easy Bluesy Piece for Young Band: Declaration in Blue by R.W. Smith (Grade 2).
Best Mid-Level Piece that Will Make Your Day: Viva! by Jack Wilds (Grade 3).
Best Band Work About a Poet Who Wasn’t Such a Bore After All: Wild Nights! by Frank Ticheli (Grade 5) is based on a poem by Emily Dickinson that shows a side of her I never learned about in high school.
Best Performing Solo Artist I Should Have Heard About a Long Time Ago: Trumpet player Brandon Ridenhour.
Best Term I Won’t Mind If I Never Hear Again: (tied for first) new normal, social distancing, pandemic, and quarantine.
Best Coronavirus Parody: My Corona Home sung to the tune of Kokomo by the Beach Boys
Best New Thing I Have Never Experienced Before: Having an away football game canceled due to COVID-19 on Monday and a home game scheduled to replace it on Wednesday.
Best Fundraiser Opportunity If There Had Been Enough Inventory: Toilet paper.
Best Names Mostly Likely to Get Mixed Up on Final Jeopardy: Gordon Jacob, Malcom Arnold, and Arnold Jacobs.
Best Unsolved Conundrum on How to Write Something to Avoid Confusion on What Instrument a Performer Plays: Is it English Horn Player Dennis Brain, English Hornist Dennis Brain, Dennis Brain, an Englishman who plays horn, or Hornist Dennis Brain who is English?
Best New Musical Television Show: Songland
Best Catchy Tune Introduced to Me By My Grandkids: PAW Patrol’s Pup Pup Boogie.
Best New Book on Leadership and Personal Development: No Limits by John Maxwell.
Best Tip That Really Has Nothing to Do With Music But Might Keep You From Being Late for Work: If you cut yourself shaving, use a dab of chapstick to stop the bleeding.
Best Musical I Wish I Had Seen Live While in New York, But Then Again, I Saved $500 Watching It On the Disney Channel: Hamilton.
Best Personal Advance in Technology: Hosting a Zoom meeting.
Best Mistake in Hosting a Zoom Meeting: Leaving members in the waiting room for ten minutes and wondering where they were.
Best Student Insult: A beginning band student who did not remember the names of the spaces on the treble clef, so I pointed to my face as a clue. He slowly said, “U-G-L-Y”?