Sunday, October 22, 2006

Band Parents

One of the nice things about getting involved with the high school band boosters is the opportunity to meet some really nice people. Since the Oakton High School band is so busy, the parents really work hard to support it. Jonathan's band in Iowa City had a nice group of parents, but they were not as busy as the Oakton parents. It was a good program, but it operated differently. Both programs have their strengths and weaknesses and it's been really educational to be involved in both.

The photos below are from last week's Oakton Classic, sponsored by Joshua's band. As you can see, parents cooked and sold concessions, sold programs, sold shirts, etc. They also did lots of other behind-the-scenes chores to make sure that spectators, competing bands and judges had a good time. They were assisted in all of these efforts by their kids, the band students. I'm constantly humbled by the extraordinary commitment these parents are making to their kids and their education. What a great bunch of people! And the kids are a nice bunch too. It really is lots of fun to work with them.

Yesterday I accompanied the marching band as a chaperone. To Joshua's great relief, I was assigned to bus #2. Since he was on bus #4, he didn't have to put up with my presence on his bus for 6 hours or so (3 hours each way). As you can imagine, 6 hours on a bus, plus an hour lunch break, gave chaperones lots of time to get to know each other. In addition to bus and meal time, parents interacted a lot during the preparation time before and after each show. We loaded and unloaded equipment and instruments onto buses and trucks. We prepared field props. We inspected the students to make sure their uniforms were complete and worn correctly. We hauled props onto and away from the field. We took photos of the kids. And we gabbed. A lot. I think the parents had as much fun as the kids.

Of course, like any other group in the world, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. It's too bad, because the inactive parents don't realize how much they are missing. It's a privilege to be involved in our kids' activities and it's a privilege to know other parents who feel similarly.

I'm a band parent - and I'm proud of it.


Barbara said...

I was chatting with the director from the Halton Junior Jazz Band last week and told him how much I miss being a HJJB groupie.

In groups like this parents can make or break the group. It sounds like you have a great group.

Joanne said...

I do miss the days of being a band groupie. Even though it was time consuming, it was rewarding......especially when the kids would seek you out to see what you thought of their performance. When James and Jason were in high school, there were several kids in the music programs that had been in the classes I had worked in in the past. It was cool to be able to follow their progress, as I saw them as being my "kids" in a way as well.