This is the time of year when we sign up new members from the middle schools. Since early in the Fall, the band directors have begged, pleaded, cajoled, encouraged, enticed, and requested parents and students to make some personal connections with the families that are our future. We have been told that it is "too creepy" for students to call someone on the phone. We have been told by our parents that other parents don't want to be "bothered by phone calls".
This week, we followed up with several band families whose student had decided not to take band in high school. A couple of current Pope band students made some phone calls and the results were very interesting to say the least.
One of the first parents contacted said that their student "loved music", but just couldn't commit to the marching band class and the five day per week rehearsal schedule for the year. Really...REALLY!? We've never practiced five days per week and there is no marching class.
Here's another: (Parent of an 8th grader) "I can't commit to working the GA Dome every week. Some of my friends told me it was mandatory for all parents to work the dome all the time....12 hour shifts every week" Really....REALLY!? I'll bet we have 200-300 parents who have NEVER worked at the dome. I can't recall a fundraiser EVER being deemed "mandatory". It's not legal.
How about this one: "Parents who hold office in PBPA get all their kids expenses covered for free". That one came from inside our organization. Really...REALLY? Even the band director's kids paid for every dime of participation. No one goes free.
The ramifications of this type of unchecked gossip and the falsehoods that result are that we lose members. Kids who might benefit greatly from band and might enjoy the activity never get the chance because "somebody" told them a bunch of stuff that just isn't true. We need the families that are connected and active in our program to take the lead and make sure that the truth gets just as much publicity as these outrageous exaggerations that apparently permeate our community.
Here's a great tactic to use...when you encounter one of these fairy tales that you know are untrue, simply ask the storyteller "Who told you that?" Be insistent that they reveal their source. 99 times out of 100 they can't do it.
Those really involved in our program see the benefits every day. THAT is the word that needs to spread,,,not the negativity bred from those who do little and experience less.
By the way...after talking to one of the eighth grade families who had been tainted by rumors, they changed their student's schedule and were happy that they had "better information" on which to base their decision ! Their student will now get to experience the Pope band personally and decide how to proceed based on facts instead of rumors.