Because of Band…
August is a month of lasts. The last month of summer, last chance to explore the city, last chance seeing your college bound friends, except for one beginning—high school band. While others spend their last season of freedom bewildered to the rumble of drums and shrieks of whistles blaring from the high school, one hundred fifty kids spend ten days marching, sweating, and most important—laughing to its rhythm. I am blessed to say that I was able to participate not only in four, but seven years of high school band.
This journey began in 2009 for my family, when my oldest brother joined the band program. Later on throughout this year, our mother was diagnosed with cancer, queuing our lives minor key. Contrary to what some might have thought during this time of adversity, we never had to worry about a ride, where our dinner would come from, or seeing friends—band made all of that possible. After she passed away, each family active in the program cooked us a dinner. For me, band is not just a bunch of kids disciplined to instrument and their passion for music. Band is a place of unity, friendship, and promise.
The Chippewa Valley band program has built itself into my safe haven. A safe haven created out of dozens of band parents always ready to steady my life, hundreds of friends, and a staff that has offered me limitless opportunities. The leadership positions I have held during band have taught me two traits: humbleness and confidence. While these may contrast in many forms, band has helped me embody both in a perfect balance. I have gained confidence by standing with Chippewa’s bands, whether it’s performing a halftime show or preparing for states competition. I have embodied confidence by being united with hundreds of kids holding the same passion for music. By deflecting the stereotypical names called out to us band kids, and instead enjoying our time spent together, I have grown.
I have grown into a leader, a role model, and a friend to all. I am the flute section leader for Chippewa’s marching band, and to this day the underclassmen still call me “mom”. I am humbled to have made an impact on these kids’ lives, no matter how small. As a freshman I remember looking up to the seniors in the Wind Ensemble and holding officer positions in the band and admiring them. Four short years later, I am forever humbled to be that person for all of my flute children, que major key. On senior night, seeing them wipe their tears as I gave my speech made me realize how much they valued and cherished our bond as flautists and friends.
Participating in band has helped me grow into the woman I am today. I still cannot believe that I have one last bus ride matched with my last performance approaching soon. High school band has been synonymous with home to me, a place of comfort and support. I will never be able to express my gratitude and appreciation for this program and its staff enough. I know that when I’m sitting on stage at graduation the band will be playing Pomp and Circumstance, cheering me into my adult life; when August surfaces I’ll be in the town of Ann Arbor, remembering my safe haven.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR
BAND SCHOLARSHIP WINNER
CHIPPEWA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL