Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

Timing Is Everything

In the past couple of years, I’ve used this space to offer up some thoughts regarding the All-State in-service professional development conference put on by our state music educators association. Mostly, these thoughts have been about things like meeting up with (and appreciating) former teachers, great (and not-so-great) workshop presenters, and the like. Lots of high-minded stuff, or at least attempts at same.

This year, I would like to reminisce a bit – and to bemoan the current state of affairs somewhat.

I’m perfectly happy to go to All-State. Going means that (beyond getting professionally developed) I get to cross paths with, or hang out with, a good number of fellow music teachers whose company I otherwise don’t get the pleasure of experiencing for most of the rest of the year.

But for the past few years, because of scheduling issues with an event venue or two, All-State has been held at the end of February or the beginning of March … rather than around March 20 or so, as had been the custom for (as I understand it) decades.

When it was held in that mid-March Thursday-through-Saturday time period, it served as something of a halfway mark for those of us who traditionally find ourselves staring down the barrel of eight bleak late-winter weeks between our February and April school vacations. If you can make it to All-State, you can make it to Patriots’ Day and the Boston Marathon. All will be well; anything is possible.

But that’s not really why I miss the mid-March meeting time.

The reason I miss it is: workshops would start in the host hotel and conference center around 10 o’clock on Thursday morning, after the keynote speech, and go till around five in the afternoon … and in between workshops all Thursday long (and Friday as well), an awful lot of otherwise very dedicated music educators would poke their heads in to the hotel restaurant/bar, on the way from one workshop to another, to see whether any college basketball powerhouses were perchance having their clocks cleaned by number-fourteen or number-fifteen or number-sixteen teams.

Yes, it’s true. Until recently, All-State always, ALWAYS coincided with the beginning of March Madness. Not on purpose, but like clockwork. Good morning, and welcome to All-State, and by the way good luck in your NCAA Tournament pool. Occasionally, word would filter around the venue – “Did you hear? Indiana’s in trouble.” “Did you hear? The 4/11 game went to triple overtime.” “Did you hear? Marquette’s winning, but Holy Cross is making them work for it.” (I guess I must have missed that particular All-State, since I about lost my voice at that game in the RCA Dome, yelling for the purple and white.)

I guess there’s just something about amateur (ha) athletics on the teevee that can provide fine opportunities for bonding experiences. Ah well. Now we’re reduced to trying to guess the over-under on how many inches of snow will fall while the All-State ensemble kids are registering in the lobby. We carry on somehow. But I miss all the checking-in-on-March-Madness that we did, all those years ago.

This brief and defiantly frivolous commentary comes to you courtesy of the Uphill In The Snow Both Ways Dept.; we now resume our normal overly philosophical blog, already in progress.

<Click.>  Ooooooooooooo… solfege…

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February 27, 2013 - Posted by | sports, teachers, television | , , , , , , , , , ,

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