Thursday, November 08, 2007

This Could Be Me

One of the local high schools has their band participate in the cheering on of NYC marathoners every year. I couldn't get a close up of the band director but if you embiggen this picture you can see him in the upper right of this shot, he's got a microphone and glasses and a big purple hooded sweatshirt under his white t-shirt.

He's a laugh riot, too, but I don't think you're going to get that from the picture. He has the kids play for about an hour before the front runners arrive. They play all sorts of nice things, they were doing some really great progressive jazz this year. However, the moment the front runners are spotted in the distance by a vigilant band booster they play nothing but the theme from Rocky for just over 2 hours. They aren't great players, they're pretty darn good but not great, certainly not after 2 strong hours on the Rocky theme when they play their grand finale of New York, New York but man this guy has these kids in the palm of his hand. He's got a big group which, in a day and age when the arts aren't exactly fully supported in schools, is a testament to this conductor's enormous talent in mesmerizing the masses. He's up and down those risers, weaving in between players and singing along when they start to flag. When he picks out a wheelchair participant and tells those kids to cheer for her every single one of those kids yells their lungs out.

Both my parents were music educators. When I was a toddler my father was the band director for a high school band over 100 strong. Most of my parents' friends were educators of one stripe or another, often in music departments. If I tell you that, having never met this man in my life, I know him I wouldn't be lying. I have seen these tactics and this kind of charisma all my life and, had my music theory abilities been a little better it might have been me. Well, and if I'd practiced my trombone (or my clarinet or my piano or my violin or my singing) like, ever.


  1. I don't care who you are or what you do; doing it with enthusiasm is FAR more than half the job. Call it what you like - personality, charisma, delivery - it makes all the difference in how you get the message across, I swear it...

  2. Anonymous11:28 AM

    I love watching someone do their job well. It's like watching TV for me. Just get me some popcorn and a comfy place to sit and I could just watch forever.

  3. I love that guy and I don't even know him. I imagine he's much like my old band director who had such passion...over 1/3 of our school was in the band.

    And my clarinet sits all dusty and old in a corner if that helps.