I Have a Gripe

December 17, 2016

Education, Not Politics

“The classroom should be apolitical.”

I’ve heard this quote several times over the years from an educator I highly respect. And I agree with this statement completely. This does not mean we should not teach civics, history, or other potentially complicated topics. What this means is that the politics of the day should be checked at the door when you walk into a classroom to teach impressionable children. The opinions of the teachers should not enter the lesson plan. I believe this for both sides of the aisle.

So why do I bring this up?

A high school friend sent me an article that sent me flying.

inaugralparade

Now regular readers of my blog know I am a huge advocate of music in public schools. My time in marching band were some of the best of my life. I had the opportunity to march at Epcot and DC. I never had the opportunity march in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, an Inaugural Parade, or even Giants Stadium like other friends. But I still loved every minute of it and I cherish the memories I have.

Many schools are opting out of the opportunity to march in the Inaugural Parade. While some are citing budget restraints or other issues, some are saying, quietly, that it is related to politics.

I think this is deplorable.

Now I understand first-hand what band directors are facing today when it comes to tight budgets, time constrains, and all the other challenges that face music programs in public schools today. This is not what I am discussing here.

The chance to march in an Inaugural Parade is an opportunity few students get to experience. These teachers should not allow their personal opinions related to the election to have anything to do with denying their students this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

To the band directors who are letting their sore feelings over the election prevent these kids the chance to be part of a small very club, I say shame on you.

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January 3, 2015

Jim Rome – the True “Dork”

Filed under: General Annoyances,Marching Band,Music Education — alvb1227 @ 2:37 am
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Nothing gets my back up more than when music in school comes under attack. Well, it looks like another genius has shared a Tweet and learned the wrath of the band.

Jim Rome, host of “The Jim Rome Show” on CBS Sports Radio sent out the following Tweet yesterday.

Jim Rome
Oh yeah, that didn’t tick me off. Not at all.

Well, apparently I wasn’t the only one. He has received post after post with the hashtag #MarchOnRome to make sure it got his attention. Past and current band members, band parents, teachers let him know how displeased they were with his commentary.

What might be the best part is that he received a crushing blow from the Army Field Band.

Army BandI don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mess with them.

The truth is that it takes great skill to not only play an instrument, but simultaneously march around a field and not get decapitated by someone twirling a flag in the color guard. To say these comments infuriated me is putting it mildly.

People like Mr. Rome are under the misconception that marching band is simply there to give football players a break during halftime. The reality is marching band is very competitive. When I was in marching band I took it very seriously and looked at the football games as prep for “the real deal.”

This is a clip that originally aired as part of the 1993 DCI World Championships broadcast. It is part of a study that was done by a professor at Indiana University to see the physical demands of a modern Drum & Bugle Corps show. They hooked up one of the tenor drummers to a device that monitored heart rate and oxygen intake and then had the corps do a full run of the entire show (approx 11 minutes). It originally aired as part of the 1993 DCI World Championships broadcast. During the test the whole second half clocked in at 192 BPM accelerating to 208. Star of Indiana made history with this show and it’s a great window into how physically demanding drum corps is. Fast forward to today, many colleges and high schools perform similarly demanding shows. It is serious work.

I am incredibly proud to be one of the so-called “dorks” Rome referred to in his tweet. As I mentioned in a previous post about a similar idiot, NEVER mess with the marching band. I’m sure Mr. Rome has learned that the hard way. You sir, are the dork. Sports programs are now the “be all, end all” they once were.

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