Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends, Once More

Full disclosure on this Fourth-of-July weekend: I am the son of an Englishman.

When I was in the third grade, the social studies curriculum included quite a long time spent examining the American Revolution. Cases of tea in the Harbor! One if by land, two if by sea! Whites of their eyes! Give me liberty or give me death! Second of July [look it up]! All that stuff.

(Living in Massachusetts as I do, that period of history is ever-present in my everyday life. School field trips to the battlefields of Lexington and Concord are just a short bus ride away. There’s a 1760s-vintage stone marker around the corner from the house of my youth into which “Boston → 18 miles” is carved, and I imagine fellas on horseback wearing tri-cornered hats looking at the marker, then to the east, and saying, “yep … we can make it by lunchtime.” And the church wherein I do my church-musician-gigging is located in the area of town known as the Historic District … meaning if you want to build anything bigger than a mailbox, it darn well better look like something that was built by those colonial Americans, or no construction permits for you!)

So I was paying attention in class. The California Gold Rush? Lewis and Clark? Even most of the Civil War? Harder to envision. The Boston Massacre? Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride? The Battle of Bunker Hill? We pass that stuff all the time on the way to the mall.

But, unlike my classmates, I was considering that there are two sides to every conflict, and that during the American Revolution, those guys in red coats were human beings, weren’t they?

Thanks, I suspect, to the presence of a English father in my life, I thought often of the British soldiers. Sent far from home, to try to convince the expatriates to calm the heck down … possibly thinking it was the right thing to do, preserve the Empire and all that … and they had to carry out warfare while wearing outfits that kinda didn’t camouflage them all that well.

I didn’t talk about it too loudly, of course. But it may have been among my first moments dealing with empathy.

 

Let me be clear: my dad moved to the US from England’s West Midlands (via Scotland and Canada) as he followed a trail of jobs that led to a chemical engineering career. I don’t think he looked at America the way we Americans romantically imagine immigrants looking at it. I doubt he was murmuring “give me your tired, your poor” as he crossed the border … rather, I bet he was muttering, “give me your map of New Jersey and do you even do tea?” He never relinquished his English-ness and never apologized for it.

That said, he was plenty knowledgeable about, and happy with, this country. I suspect that knew and appreciated more about the sport of baseball than almost any of his countrymen. His accent faked out a lot of unsuspecting ugly Americans, in this regard.

So, with this example of English-ness in my life, I’ve always harbored great fondness for the land of my father’s birth. Rule Britannia! Monty Python! Gustav Holst! (Not an especially UK name, but he was an English citizen.) The stereotypical English reputation for gentility and stiff-upper-lip is both somewhat accurate and often overblown. As adorable as “Wallace and Gromit” are, John Cleese and the “Blackadder” series are only two examples of the English people’s unmatched facility for cruel humor. As stately and majestic as “Land of Hope and Glory” is, well … England also cultivated the early development of punk rock, and that’s not exactly the soundtrack of high tea.

Stiff-upper-lip” is not a phrase often used to describe any sports fandom, English or otherwise – what my dad used to call “English football” surely included. (He called American football “heaps of men”.) Soccer hooliganism was rather a problem in the 1980s, but one sportswriter in particular has chronicled the lengths to which England has gone in the intervening time to put a damper on it. English football fans are passionate, and most inter-club rivalries tend to dwarf all but the most rabid of their American counterparts (Yankees/Red Sox … Auburn/Alabama … Coke/Pepsi …), but at least there’s not so much rioting lately.

But there is a distinct tradition in England of holding people’s feet to the fire, and not being shy about it. If a professional English athlete – particularly one who is representing their country – fails to carry out their patriotical athlete duties, they become a verbal target in the pub and/or the press. If they let down their country … the existence of which clearly hinges on their ability to swing a club or racket, or to boot a ball, or to run fast, or to fling an oddly-shaped object … well, perspective is set aside and …

Well, good luck to ya.

And so it was, earlier this week, following a Women’s World Cup soccer semifinal match between Japan and England, that a set of feet had the chance to be held to said fire – except that it didn’t happen. Almost at all.

 

The match was tied at one goal each. The second half had expired, but play continued in what soccer enthusiasts call “added time”. That’s a few minutes of overtime tacked directly onto the end of a match at the discretion of the referee, based upon how much second-half time had previously been wasted watching players roll around in fake agony on the ground (or similar delays). Important to play 45 genuine minutes of actual soccer per half.

In the second added minute, a Japanese midfielder put a pass forward toward the English goal. To keep a Japanese striker (I’m sorry, but “striker” is a terrific term for a member of the offense!) from getting to the ball and probably drilling it past the goalkeeper for the winning goal, one English defender did catch up to the striker and the ball, and flicked a foot at the ball in order to deflect it away from the goal.

A successful kick of the ball, yes … but oh, the direction.

Usually in nightmares, the event that you can’t do anything about takes place in slow-motion. This was a high-speed chase with a drag-racing fireball of an ending. The ball soared, not away from the goal, but a little bit high and a whole lot toward the net. It glanced off the underside of the crossbar, down, and over the goal line by eighteen inches or so. It took no time at all for the English world to come crashing down.

All the blue-clad Japanese players leapt.

None of the white-clad English did.

Some of them sank to their knees; some collapsed to the ground. Some stood, looking for all the world like they’d been hit in the head with one of those animated Monty Python 40-ton weights. It was not untrue.

The term “own goal” is so very inadequate as a descriptive device.

 

The Women’s World Cup happens only every four years, and no matter how good a player you are, every Cup tournament you get to play in … might be your last. You might not be chosen for the national team next time around; or an injury might dash your hopes.

Even if you’re a perennial (quadrennial?) fixture on your country’s squad, the World Cup is your sport’s Big Moment. The men’s side of the Cup has been the stuff of internationally-televised legend for decades. More recently, the women’s tournament has begun to rise to that level. So a Cup semifinal is a big, big deal. If you’re in it, you want to do well. You want to win. You don’t want to lose, clearly.

You don’t want to screw up. You, yourself, personally.

Here in the US, we have athlete names which need only be whispered, to communicate the concept of “goat” … the guy who let the ball go through his legs as the winning run scored, threw the interception with time expiring, missed the two-foot putt on 18, double-faulted on match point. (We even have guys who hit the winning home run, whose names bring to mind not so much the home run but the pitcher who threw the hanging curveball, or the manager who kept him in the game for just one more batter. We’re amazingly creative that way.)

The defender’s name was Laura Bassett, and until that moment, she was recognized as one of English soccer’s heroic women. Her England team, nicknamed the “Lionesses”, reached the Women’s World Cup semifinal for the first time ever, this year. She had taken a nasty elbow to the face, near her eye, during an early-round match against France, and kept on playing regardless.

Bassett became a professional soccer player in England’s FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division at the age of fourteen. She has been a member of the English women’s national team for a dozen years. She has been the object of WPL bidding wars. In short: no slouch, she.

Because our world has an Internet in it, there were Internet trolls. Following that heart-breaker of a match, nasty Twitter messages immediately popped up, directed at Bassett (likely by people who wouldn’t think of saying these things to her face, as this is the way of the Web). They contained a great variety of snark, from knee-jerk amateur soccer analysts’ instant dismissal of her skills (“Scoring an own goal to ruin the country’s hopes is not quality. @laurabassett6 should be ashamed and should retire”) to unfunny jokes (“Congratulations to Laura Bassett who was officially voted Scotland’s favourite footballer today”). This is, again, very sadly, to be expected.

 

But this moment seemed to generate far more online support than your average professional athletic disaster. Numerous British media outlets have reported on the great wave of sympathy that has arisen.

Of course, fellow pro footballers checked in immediately on Twitter. They understood, better than anyone.

Former England captain Casey Stoney wrote, “If anyone did not deserve that today it was @laurabassett6 she is the most honest, hard working, professional who is an amazing team mate!!!” Former Premier League player Gary Lineker wrote, “What a dreadful way to lose! Poor, poor Laura Bassett.” Current WPL player Kelly Smith wrote, “@laurabassett6 Hold your head up high girl. You have lead by example and been IMMENSE all tournament. We ❤ you.” Current England goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain (into whose net the errant clear had sailed) wrote, “Football can be so so cruel. Absolutely gutted but so proud to be a part of this team.”

Most affectingly, for me, though, were a pack of Twitter messages that made me think perhaps the United Kingdom in general had its priorities uncommonly straight, in this case:

A young English musician wrote, “@laurabassett6 you played excellently and did your country proud. Literally inspired a nation. Nothing to be ashamed of from that performance” and a young man from somewhere in the British Isles wrote, “@laurabassett6 don’t think for a second that there is a single person who isn’t proud of and inspired by you, chin up! #ProudOfBassett

One Premier League supporter wrote, “@laurabassett6 We’re all proud of you Laura. Onward and upward. That cup[‘]s got your name on it.” Another English football fan with the curious Twitter account name “Invalid Parking” wrote, revealingly, “@laurabassett6 Head up, **it happens. 😦 Can’t blame yourself, fantastic effort from all of you! (Previously only men’s football fan)!” … and an RAF veteran living in Aberdeen wrote, “#proudofbassett and that’s from Scotland! You should all be proud and look forward not back.”

And it didn’t come from the UK, but it came from Canada, which is a Commonwealth nation, so perhaps it’ll still count: arguably my favorite Tweet on this topic, from a Toronto sportswriter called Eric Koreen.

WE ARE ALL LAURA BASSETT

 

Meanwhile, although England lost in the aptly-named knockout stage, there’s still work to be done. In American sports, we don’t muck around with silly things like consolation games, as there’s no consolation to be had after losing. But in this tournament, there’s still third place to be decided. To advance to the Cup final, the US women had to outdo Germany, and did. So, for the Lionesses, Deutschland awaits. Not a small mountain to climb, and especially for a side that just had their hearts broken in little pieces just this past Wednesday.

If the universe is a fair place … and we know all about that big ol’ “if”, but go with me anyway … if there’s any kind of justice in the world, I will expect my Twitter feed to esssplode tomorrow afternoon, around 4 o’clock Eastern time, on the very Fourth of July. It’ll happen when a beautiful entry pass from an English defender called Laura Bassett, in the midfield, will skitter through the German defense during the 89th minute, and a marauding England striker will bury it in the back of the net for the only goal of the third-place match. #ProudOfBassett, indeed.

If not, though … if England fall to Germany … I still have faith that England’s supporters back home will, in their unique way, come through again.

 

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

Henry V, Act III, Scene 1

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July 3, 2015 Posted by | Famous Persons, sports, Twitter | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We’ll Take A Cup of Kindness

The year which is just wrapping up now has had its good bits, and its ghastly bits. If you’re a follower of the news, you might feel overwhelmed by the ghastly.

Myself, I have this habit of visiting current affairs-related websites which feature daily writings by several of my favorite political writers – not necessarily a bad habit, but not always a productive one. It leads to wallowing: my Lord, the world is full of yahoos, and some of them are actually in charge.

Rather than dwell on the ghastly bits, though … in this moment, I choose instead to raise my glass to one good bit. In the spirit of “it’s gotta start somewhere”.

It’s something that I’ve been noticing in the last few months, and to my mind, it may go nicely toward countering the onslaught of online posts that boil down to “2014: The Year That Just Plain [insert faintly off-color verb, meaning ‘failed to live up to expectations’, here]”.

Pollyanna-ish to suppose that this small thing can spread throughout the whole wide world and make everything right again, … but it can’t hurt. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are,” and all that.

It goes back to a couple of things which I’ve written about in this space, previously. In short, this year more people than usual took me up on my suggestion, at the end of summer Drum Major Academy sessions, that DMA students would be welcome to keep in touch with the staff. Let us know how things are going. Jump and shout and point to your successes! And let us help with the more challenging moments, if we can.

As noted previously, usually that yields a handful of eMails over the course of the ensuing fall semester. Now that social media is a thing, that also can yield a couple of new Facebook Friend connections each August. This year, for me, it yielded an unusual number of those. By the time Veterans Day had rolled around: two dozen.

That by itself got my attention. I tried to figure out what was different. Something in the air? Just the right alchemy during the DMA week? A particular funny joke? Something.

I thought maybe that’d be the end of the story. … Not really.

At the beginning of the fall marching season, I noted the posts from newly-minted high school drum majors that noted the completion of stellar band camps, looked forward to first performances, celebrated successful first shows, and, in particular, noted the influence on their lives of DMA’s founder. Eloquently, in many cases. If these are the future leaders of America, maybe we’re not in such bad shape after all.

I thought maybe that’d be the end of the story. … Again, no.

Before the onset of social media, DMA instructors would suggest to DMA students that they were probably meeting the drum majors of their heated-rival bands; and wouldn’t it be something if, when those bands met, the two (sets of) drum majors might be seen meeting and shaking hands and being friendly? What great message would that send to their bands?

But unless snail-mail or eMail addresses were exchanged, rather on purpose, that mid-game meeting was going to be the extent of the keeping-in-touch.

Now, though … lots more opportunity for that. As many unfortunate qualities as social media has … this is one of the good ones.

End of story?

Yes and no.

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed, and I doubt I’m the only DMA staff type who has: as summer became fall, and fall became winter, DMA students posted those band-related notes, and then began to post other things like brief tales of college applications, college acceptances, and other items not specific to band but definitely important in their lives – including moments in which DMA Starred Thoughts were relevant, and applicable, and helpful.

And without fail, the lists of people who “Liked” the posts, and the comment sections below the posts, all practically began and ended with fellow DMA students. And not, I would judge, just the drum majors of the rival band, but their drum major friends from hundreds of miles away in completely other states, from Maine to New Jersey and beyond.

Please: I haven’t been creeping. I haven’t been going looking for this stuff. It’s popped up in my Facebook News Feed, though, and over the course of the fall, it’s been nearly impossible to miss. It’s a little community of people who have spent the last four months urging each other on, congratulating each other, bucking each other up when necessary.

Regardless of what band they belong to.

The world could use a little more of that.

News pundits might scoff at this admittedly Pollyanna-ish idea. Such a little tiny idea, accomplished by little tiny people, away from the big important places and people in the world.

Yeah, well … two words:

Ice buckets.

As the great philosopher Max Bialystock noted, “Worlds are turned on such thoughts.”

It’s gotta start somewhere.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

December 31, 2014 Posted by | band, DMA, drum major, Facebook, GNP, Internet, marching band, social media, Starred Thoughts | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alumni Affairs

This space doesn’t usually feature pure diary entries. The writing might sometimes resemble journalism, but it’s rarely my journal.

Having said that …

I’ve been away from the blog for a solid month now. WordPress may be wondering if I’m still alive. For that matter, so, perhaps, have you. (If you’ve been actively wondering, then I am humbled; and I might well be extra-motivated to never let a whole month go by again. I’d probably be even more tail-between-the-legs if this were a subscription-based service!)

It’s called “July”.

No snark there, actually. My opportunities to sit and write tend to decrease during this month which, for us east-coast teacher types, traditionally is a little less full of the day-in-day-out-ness that is otherwise our lives. In theory, we’re lounging on the beach or in the mountains or wherever. In reality, we’re just as likely to be not-lounging on a straight-backed chair in the middle of a professional development workshop; but that’s a topic for another time.

Schedule items have been packed into this particular July pretty tight. My calendar looks like a game of Tetris. Social visits and the annual Drum Major Academy fortnight; rehearsals and meetings and errands; conferences and family gatherings … comparatively, my August appears almost blank. This is an illusion, guaranteed, and it always is; but for the next few days anyway, I get to throw it into a lower gear.

So much for this not being my diary.

What has struck me about this July’s events and discussion topics, though, is the common thread that has run through them all: alumni.

(Or, as a certain Latin scholar and friend of mine wishes I would put it more often: alumni/-ae. It’s a little unwieldy in print, but the combined masculine/feminine endings beat the heck out of making it into a neuter-gender Latin word.)

Webster’s Dictionary defines an alumnus as “a person who has attended or has graduated from a particular school, college, or university”. With a certain amount of raised eyebrow, I note that the secondary Webster’s definition is “a person who is a former member, employee, contributor, or inmate [italics mine].”

Boy howdy.

Early in July, the summer arts program which is responsible for a lot of my formative experiences in the arts celebrated its 45th summer with a reunion event. Assuredly, there were plenty of Charles River Creative Arts Program alumni milling about, exchanging “long time no see” hugs, stories and belly laughs. (Given some of the lunatic anecdotes that evoked those belly laughs, one might reasonably recall the phrase “inmates running the asylum”! Ah, artistes.)

I did note how few social interactions there seemed to be between us ancient relics and the current staff members, that night. There seemed to be an innocent but discernible separation between the two groups. But then, I thought back to the 15th-year event (when I was a current staff member) and tried to remember to what extent we’d been instructed to mingle with the old-timers; and really couldn’t. Anyway, it was us forty- and fifty-somethings over here; the twenty-somethings over there. Maybe I’m just used to doing an abnormally large amount of multi-generational stuff in my life. Whatever.

Mid-month, and then again a couple of nights ago, I made what has become something of an annual pilgrimage to Cape Cod to attend a concert or two put on by a group of collegiate a cappella singers called Cape Harmony. The various editions of this group, since I first stumbled upon them six summers ago, have been very good at the game of women’s a cappella. For one thing, they have to write very careful arrangements, since by no fault of their own they work with a rather more limited range of pitches, high to low, than do their male counterparts. For another, a cappella singing in general is a high-wire act: there’s no instrumental accompaniment into which to sing your notes. If anyone is flat or sharp or otherwise misaligned, the whole project could come crashing down very suddenly.

What I find particularly enjoyable about this group, though, has just as much to do with the actual people in the group. Or rather, the people who were in the group and are still connected to it, electronically or in person. They still support the organization in lots of ways – and current members always make sure to acknowledge that support on their website, during concerts, and indeed when they sing the Wailin’ Jennys arrangement of “The Parting Glass” and bring any attending alumni onstage to sing with them. Too often, organizations can forget where they came from; but even as Cape Harmony are now completing their ninth summer, clearly they haven’t forgotten.

The back half of my July was dominated by the ol’ Drum Major Academy. Each summer, for four July days in eastern Pennsylvania and five days in Massachusetts, a rather inspiring collection of personalities get together, nominally to help prepare six hundred or so future high school band student leaders, but also to enjoy each other’s company and very often giggle a lot. There are former staff members whom we don’t get to see much, thanks to distance or circumstance; but the names predictably pop up in conversation (and at least one very-long-time-no-see example did visit this past week). In addition, many staff members were once DMA students. As I’ve noted recently here on the blog, some of those were very specifically my students – “in my TV room”.

Accordingly, I was inspired to take a rather harder look at the students who sat in those TV room chairs this summer – and for the first time, I spotted a couple of students whom I felt were strong enough (in skill set and mindset) to be recommended for future inclusion on our “IMPACT” staff, the group of collegiate drum majors and other student leaders who assist the DMA instructional staff with instruction and logistics.

(On top of which, last week’s DMA session took place on the campus of UMass, which has a certain band alumni history and presence of its own, previously chronicled in this space at some length and in some detail. So I was kinda surrounded by a definite sense of continuity.)

Sadly, this summer has seen some of the less positive effects of alumni involvement.

When news of the firing of Ohio State University’s marching band director broke, a couple of weeks ago, I was with my DMA colleagues at West Chester University. Because my mobile Internet access device is, um, limited (i.e. can’t display multiple windows in its antique little browser), I couldn’t open the links that would have allowed me to read news articles with titles like “Ohio State band director fired over ‘sexualized’ culture”. I had to wait till I got home to my desktop Mac. And once I did, I discovered accounts of an Ohio State investigation that revealed a band program full of frankly awful activities and traditions, such that the University saw fit to relieve the band director of his duties – some of which (including oversight and, frankly, the modeling of proper behavior) he seemed not to have carried out so very well.

Amidst the allegations of “an environment conducive to sexual harassment within the band, creating a hostile environment for students”, I found a couple of details which got me thinking specifically about the whole concept of alumni, and their role in organizations of which they formerly were members.

In the comments sections that followed the news articles from the Columbus Dispatch, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, some commenters demonized the director and some canonized him. Inevitably, the ones that claimed to be former members of the Ohio State band were the most vociferous in support of their former director.

Myself, I have my own fond memories of my college band director, and I do recall supporting him vociferously at a few crucial moments, and not absolutely always doing so with a great deal of charity toward the University that employed him. So, from knee-jerk-reaction or emotional standpoints, I don’t have trouble imagining that there are people prepared to rise to their director’s defense. There is, as you will shortly see, a difference, though…

The current assistant band director told investigators that “OSU’s Marching Band is unique in that it has a large, active, proud, and at times stubborn alumni base that can be resistant to change.” Ohio State is not alone in this, though. Every single college band I have ever been associated with in any way has featured one of these. Either by direct interaction or anecdotal observation, I found those bands’ alumni bases to be inspiring and challenging – either by turns or occasionally in the same breath. While I would agree that Ohio State may have more history and tradition to draw on than most bands do, I would nonetheless suggest that it is not, in terms of alumni involvement, at all unique.

Several details in the University’s investigative report stood out, to me, in this context. Most alumni associations are (or ought to be) focused strictly on fundraising and moral support (and, of course, cheering loudly from the bleachers at halftime). Alarmingly, according to the report, the OSU band alumni organization appears to have stepped over a few very reasonable lines:

[The band director] stated that the Marching Band’s alumni network publishes an annual directory that includes nicknames for some members, and he provided its latest version. Many of the printed nicknames included in the new June 2014 TBDBITL directory are sexually explicit, including some names given to new members in 2013.

Several witnesses stated that sexually explicit tricks [according to the report, tricks are “acts that individual Band members perform, either on command or at their own volition. … The tricks are usually connected to the students’ assigned nicknames”] were not performed in front of [professional band staff]. They were instead performed at student house parties, dinners sponsored by alumni [italics mine], and during down time on trips.

The misconduct described [in the main body of the report] … is highly sexual, frequent, and longstanding as part of the Marching Band’s culture. … The misconduct occurred in multiple locations involving the Marching Band, including practice at the stadium, bus trips, alumni events [italics again mine], and off-campus parties.

The band’s now-former director had held his position for just two years, but he had served as assistant director for the previous ten years, and as a graduate assistant before that. And before that? He was a band member for four years – graduating with Ohio State’s class of 2000. From fall 1995 onward, he had never not been in the Ohio State band program.

He was an alum, too.

One might think that this would give him an advantage at times: he’d been part of the organization, and probably was more familiar with its traditions, inner workings, and “players”, than other people who also may have been candidates for the position. But it’s entirely possible that in this case, familiarity bred not contempt but rather complacence, and complicity. The investigative report states:

Witnesses did not, however, report any significant change, or effort to change. In fact, only one witness stated that there had been transition in the culture of any kind. Another witness stated that speaking with Band directors about the culture was futile. She added that [the director] wants to be a cool guy in the Band. Similarly, [one other witness] stated that [he] just wants to be their [the students’] friend.”

For most alumni, the very act of being an alum may suggest that indeed, you can “go home again”. Every once in a while, alumni bump into the rather harsh reality that you can physically go back, but the organization is made up of a whole new crop of people, and former members are just that: former members, forced to live vicariously through the current membership.

Sometimes alumni can deal with that reality, and work to support the organization. Sometimes they can’t, and end up looking like rabid Little League parents, at best.

So. What traditions do we uphold? Hopefully, only the ones that make sense. How can alumni best support the organizations of which they once were an active part, and which they still love very deeply? They – we! – walk a sometimes very difficult tightrope indeed, one which sometimes forces us to reconcile our favorite memories with more current realities. We want the best possible experience for the people who come after us … but not everyone has the same vision of what that experience ought to be. And on occasion, that experience may necessarily be different from the experience that came before.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | arts, band, current events, DMA, marching band, music, news, Starred Thoughts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment