Editor’s Desk

Column: This one time, at band camp...

August 7, 2013 

Traditional schools open in a few short weeks, but already there is a buzz of activity going on with schools. High schools are particularly busy places in the weeks leading up to the start of school. Teachers will soon be returning to their classrooms to prepare for the year ahead. Sports programs are up and running and administrators are busy trying to work out scheduling kinks and prepare for open houses.

As I write this column I’m still recovering from a weekend serving as a chaperone at my child’s band camp. With a new director replacing a popular predecessor, a lot of kids went to band camp not exactly sure what to expect from this year’s marching band. The new band director apparently proved himself to be a cool guy and has earned brownie points with his students.

Band camp was held this year at the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf.

The students – like any athlete on any team – were building a sense of teamwork and camaraderie.

Though I pulled weekend duty, many other parents were at band camp throughout the entire five-day run of the camp. They were up and at it before the students, cooking meals and filling water bottles, administering medicine and whatever else needed to be done, and they often waited until the students were in their rooms and quiet before they called it a night.

The camp instructors, housed in a separate building on the ENCSD campus, gathered each night to discuss the day’s practices and what to do next to prepare the band for this year’s show.

The band campers were on the practice field each morning at 7:30 and practices usually ended about 9:30 or 10 at night. It was an intense five days for those students.

On Tuesday night, when I got home from work, my daughter had awakened from her recovery nap enough to talk to me about her experience.

The excitement in her voice and the pace of her speech told me it was a good week. She talked about the difficulty of putting on a good show and she said it was harder than any sport people play. I took exception to that argument, but only briefly.

I realized that, on a football field, 11 people must work in concert on every play to be successful. They must be in the right place at the right time and they must execute their skill properly in order for the play to be successful.

As I made my argument, I realized I was describing exactly what marching band members must do each time they perform. They must be in the right place, at the right time. They must execute their marching with precision and, oh yeah, they must play the right notes on those instruments. Success relies on all 65 members doing their job right each time.

So if you’re a football fan and you plan to head out to the stadium this season, be sure to stay in your seat during halftime and take in a band performance. And remember that those kids were sweating their butts off in August just like the football players you’ve come to cheer.

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