It is uplifting to see.
It is definitely community backed. This annual event can draw more than 1,000 spectators, advertising to fill a 66-page program and dozens of volunteers scurrying about making things happen.
The truly inspiring thing is the reason behind it all, improvement of our children.
Band, like sports, chorus, 4H, Scouting, dance lessons, is one of those things that tests a student’s mettle through an enjoyable exercise.
Band students meet the daily discipline of practice, the weekly rigors of playing half-time shows in front of an audience of a thousand. Then they have the heavier scrutiny of events like the Festival of Bands and other similar juried performances.
In there lies joy, sorrow and challenge.
You can see the focus, determination, spirit, excitement and sometimes fear in the faces of students.
The discipline, poise and self confidence learned through such challenges don’t come easily and don’t come without costs.
“Band is more athletic than many people think,” Scott Turnmyre, the local high school band director says. “You are pushing most all of the air you have out to play the instrument.” As a performer you are also walking and concentrating on specifics of the maneuvers and carrying extra weight.
“There are more than 40 specific maneuvers in our show tonight,” Turnmyre said of the Husky Vanguard Band’s Saturday performance.
Time and energy are required of the students to learn and carry off such a performance. Few of us are eager to give up simpler pursuits to put ourselves at risk of embarrassment in front of thousands. But facing that fear is part of life.
There is great learning in such performances and the preparation for them, learning that lasts a lifetime.
If band students never play another note of music after graduation, they still carry away great lessons in how to prepare for a task, how to carry it out and how to look good doing it.
Imagine the value of such learning to an engineer presenting a project to a group of colleagues, someone in sales, a lawyer or a college professor. By the time you get the engineering job or the sales job, the origin of these lessons is probably lost but the skill remains.
The lesson would be smaller and harder achieved without support of parents and family.
The notion of parental involvement is not always warm and fuzzy. I admit some irritation at the mother who stood over my shoulder at the Festival of Bands shouting at the flute section of an Iredell County school to “FOCUS, COUNT, GIRLS.”
But such is part of it. Schools are better when parents take an active part, know what their children face and help them seek solutions.
The job of band parents is much harder without the support of the community donating products, services and cash to make it all happen.
Ashe has a community support group that will take it far and help grow the community of the future.
Adamson is editor/general manager and lives in West Jefferson.