As may of you have heard by now, we, along with our friends from Walton, Lassiter, and McEachern decided to perform in exhibition instead of being in line for awards. The reasons are many, but the primary one is that we have always taught the philosophy of competition with self and your own best level of performance rather than relying on rankings as the motivation.
No doubt, there will be people who do not understand.... they will question or doubt...and some will try to turn the event into a negative. Sadly, they don't know and will likely never find out the true inner workings of our programs or the respect we have for our friends who do the same things that we do in order to learn and grow.
The true measure of success in our activity comes in the PROCESS. It's watching those shy, insecure young performers mature and gain confidence. It is watching those first uncertain notes and steps develop into a polished performance. It is watching those who have been in the group for several years reach their full potential and become leaders and role models. THOSE are our trophies.
The statement that was made by the four bands through their decision not to compete sent a strong message to those who base their worth on winning. Unfortunately, some bands experience the negative side of competition and watch their members leave in frustration, the time and financial commitments become too much, and in many cases, the band director leaves in frustration after a few years of damaging young people. No one has fun, no one feels worthwhile, and everyone just wants it to be over.
Hopefully, by watching our bands perform at such a high level...even when awards were not a part of the process...some of our colleagues will consider the philosophy they embrace and hopefully make some positive changes. Maybe they will approach their neighbors with a sense of respect rather than resentment or rivalry.
Sometimes, folks are quick to "talk the talk", but slow to "walk the walk". Tonight, the students and directors of Pope, Lassiter, Walton, and McEachern truly "walked the walk".