Monday, June 25, 2007

I was a band nerd.

Or, there is always the alternative:

I was a band geek.

Why is there such a negative label placed on students in band? Particularly when music is such a significant part of almost every one's life.

Yes, I was in the band. Starting with the fourth-grade tonette band, through two years in college. It was a lot of work, but it was an fantastic experience. It helped me develop my leadership skills: I was drum major one year. I got some of the best seats at football games. I got to travel, including an incredible trip to Venezuela. I made a lot of close friends.

I'd like to say that I am proud of the experience. But you know, it's really hard to be proud of something when the majority of references are derogatory.

* * * * *

Another favorite movie of mine is Mr. Holland's Opus. It honors not just those in band, but band directors too. (If coaches are somehow put on a pedestal, band directors are seen as the ultimate nerd.)

The man who composed the score for this movie, and particularly "An American Symphony," was Michael Kamen. Following his involvement in scoring the movie, he was a founder of the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation which supports music education in American schools through the supply and maintenance of free musical instruments.

Long live band geeks! I believe you help make the world a better place to live.

And I'd like to offer my personal thanks to my band directors: Mr. Martinez, Mr. Atwood, Mr. Dashier and Mr. Wright

* * * * *

More than anything else, this experience -- being called a nerd or a geek for as long as I can remember -- gives me a sense what Pride Month is all about. It's the ability to say, "So what?"


Friday, June 01, 2007

Road Trips

Last weekend I went to Vermont to spend the weekend with my friend that I recently went on the road trip with. (And yes, we rode around in the white pickup truck with the Texas plates again for a few days.)

Saturday night, his sixteen year old daughter wanted to see Little Miss Sunshine. And while he wasn't very excited about letting her see an "R" rated movie, I convinced him that it was a good story, with socially redeeming value, and that the language was nothing that his daughter doesn't hear regularly in school. I'm not sure he gave in, but we rented it anyway.

Seeing this movie again, I was reminded about the following life lessons:

"Little Miss" pageants are indeed very creepy.
Multi-generational family car trips can be a good thing.
Learning to drive a standard shift transmission is not a good thing when you're frustrated and in a hurry.
Suicidal gay uncles can possibly be the most sane member of the family.
Having an affair with your student and/or teacher is rarely a good thing.
If you're going to dedicate yourself to a vow silence, you need to make sure the cause is real.
Too much of a "good thing" can kill you.
You can just take a certain amount of motivational speakers before they get on your nerves.
It's always OK to eat ice cream.