A letter to the band

Dear band, guard, directors, my family and friends:

I cannot tell you how lucky I am to have the privilege to stand in front of all of you- to listen to and watch everything each and every one of you has worked so hard to learn. Seeing the performance last weekend, and watching our performance again in class, I finally realized how amazing it is that we have come this far together. Thinking about my personal growth- and how far I’ve come, is amazing to me, and knowing that each of you has grown just as much- this is a powerful bond between us, and it allows us to create something meaningful and compelling.

I like where our focus is this year. The amount of communication on the field was incredible last week. Because we chose that as our focus, and reminded ourselves of the word many times throughout our practices, in just two days we were able to master it. And still, we can do even better. That’s the beauty of it.

There have been times this season where I have felt lost, afraid, unsure, disappointed, hopeless, frustrated, tired, weak, small, and so many other things. But last weekend I finally felt completely content. You saw me smile. I want to feel that way again, and again, and again. There is honestly nothing better. It hit me the other day that these next weeks are a few of my last, and without everything you’ve given- your cooperation, hard work, talents, good attitudes, and fun- I wouldn’t be disappointed that we are already halfway done.

I can’t thank you guys enough for the work you do. You gave it your all last weekend, and it definitely made a difference. You make me so proud to stand up there in front of you guys. You are the reason for my confidence – to let the judges know that as a band, I KNOW we ARE ready. It is something I look forward to- to salute before the show with confidence, and after the show with pure joy. And it’s not because of me, and what I do, but because you guys have proven that you have what it takes to perform. If you can bring tears to my eyes, you can bring that emotion to the audience. I have no shadow of a doubt that we will work as hard as we can this week and next to bring our show to the top. The judges love what we have this year. They honestly didn’t have much to say, as I listened to the tapes. With a wider dynamic range, consistent communication, tone quality, and balance, we can leave them speechless. And I know this sounds like a lot of stuff, but have we not been taking it one thing at a time? My dad always used to help me practice piano when I was younger, and although I was eager to play a whole song right away, he insisted that I practice one or two measures at a time, and slowly build upon them, to reach perfection. This lesson has never left me, and never will. Take it one mistake, one goal, one focus at a time. At band camp, we didn’t tell you to march and play and learn drill on the first day. We taught you toe point, posture, roll step, step size, forward and backward march, direction changes, and before long, we were able to put it all together piece by piece, making it that much easier. I like the motivation this year; I like what we are doing. All I wanted, coming into this year, was to turn things around. I worried about how to go about it- wanting to jump in all at once- flip some kind of switch to make everything better. It seemed impossible for me to take on that task by myself. But I was never alone. Until last week I didn’t think I was doing a great job, but feeling and seeing us perform together so well, sharing our joy, reminding each other of traditions and spending time together- this has shown me that we all have a part in turning our band back around- back to where it belongs, back to its glory. I am so thankful to be a part of this amazing season, and again, it wouldn’t be the same without all of you. Thank you for everything you all have done so far to make this season great, and let’s keep it up until the very end.

Your field commander,