Month: November 2015

Off to New York: Woodwind Delight

I’m very excited. I just got word that all my hard work has paid off, and the school district has approved the request for funds that I submitted, and Jason’s woodwind quintet is going to New York!

The quintet has come so far this year. The kids have developed into really good musicians, and they play very well together. It’s been fun to see them performing at different events.

It was only about six weeks ago that Watson brought up the idea of the kids going to New York for the woodwind camp. At first I blew off the idea, but when he said he thought the district might cough up the money, I got interested. It would be such a cool opportunity for the kids! Imagine, a week in New York at a camp dedicated to woodwind quintets like theirs!

The first thing I did (after talking again with Watson) was to ask each of the other kids’ parents if their own child could even go—money aside. The last thing I wanted to do was submit a request for funds and then discover one of the kids couldn’t even go. All the parents said yes, so I went ahead and got the paperwork and filled it out.

Watson took care of actually submitting it.

And then we just waited. We’ve been waiting for a month, but the news just came today, that the request was approved. Actually, I can hardly believe it! What a great thing! And what a great opportunity for the kids!

It’s very cool when you work hard to pull something off, and it actually happens.

The Joys of Fundraisers

Today all the items from the cheesecake fundraiser came in. I’m so glad this was my second year of staffing the distribution day.

I remember last year was just chaotic. It was the first year for us to have this particular fundraiser, so there was a lot to figure out in terms of smoothly distributing the stuff to the kids. The fact that most of it was frozen or refrigerated added to the complexity.

This year we decided that we’d collect all items for the big orders ahead of time, and put them to the side. And then with the smaller orders, the kids would come through the line, show us their orders, and the volunteers would then go get the items, give them to the kids, and check the items off the kids’ order forms.

It worked very smoothly for most of the kids. Where things got sticky was towards the end of the distribution, when stuff started running out. Then we had kids show us orders for items that we had run out of but were still supposed to have.

Oh, my gosh. What a hassle. It involved checking the other orders that had already been filled and looking for mistakes, and also just carefully looking at the original order again and making sure we were trotting off to collect the right item. Half the time the volunteer had read the order form wrong and went and got the wrong thing.

Last year, when people got their orders from this fundraiser, they were all pleased with what they got. So this year, the kids sold a LOT. I’m thrilled for them, because 40% of the sale amount goes back into their pocket. And with the price tags on this stuff, the kids with a bunch of orders are going to do really well.

I bet some kids will pay for their whole band trip with this one fundraiser.

Anyway, so that stressful event is done. I’m really glad. There’s one mom who is almost militant about her daughter, and she comes to every event and dispenses her militant attitude out on everyone. She must have come out of a pretty tough situation, because that woman is hard as nails.

She usually has something to complain and moan about. She was there today, fussing that we weren’t fulfilling the orders faster. Dang, woman, I wanted to say. We are just volunteers and we are going as freaking fast as we can. Butt out or help! No, actually, just butt out, because I don’t think we could STAND your help.

Of course I didn’t say any of that. I just wanted to.

Anyway, my feet are killing me, but I’m happy that fundraiser is done for another year.

For next year I am thinking about trying to do everything online. I talked to a company that told me they are really good at building temporary sites for fundraisers for a reasonable price. I thought it would make sense for people to pre-order the things that we intend to sell during the fundraiser. You can see their site here. Pretty nice people.

Click here.

Just want to give a huge shout out to everyone that helped in the fundraiser and made all this possible. Without the help of so many it would have been impossible.

Love ‘em/hate ‘em

Most parents have a love/love relationship with the band director. Most students have a hate/hate relationship with the band director. Most booster committee members have a love/hate relationship with the band director.

Wanna know why? I thought so.

The band director puts on a great face for the parents. He smiles, he acts friendly, he calls their child by name, he sounds all knowledgeable, he appears to be the Grand Poobah of All Things Musical. Parents are assured and reassured and comforted and yada yada yada.

The band director does not put on a great face for the students. Sometimes he really treats them like crap. And worse, he treats them like crap in front of their peers. I’ve heard him say stuff that would make me want to slide under my chair if he said those things to me. So, the kids don’t like him.

The booster committee is caught in between. We see firsthand what he says to the kids, and we just want to slug him. Or walk out and say he can shove his booster committee up his ass. And at the same time, we can see the bigger picture. This guy is trying to corral 30-plus kids, teach them music, and get them into a cohesive unit that will actually produce something worth listening to in a month at the first band concert. Yeah, concert.

This guy has to put on a concert with kids that are squeaking their reeds and blowing farts out of their trumpets because they are all still learning. Holy shit. No wonder he has to shout and scream and motivate in whatever method seems right at the moment. His ass is on the line! He’s got parents who are going to judge him in ONE MONTH according to how their precious kiddos sound in concert.

So, yeah. Love him for taking on the challenge of shaping and forming these kids into a single music-making machine. Hate him for making them feel humiliated and discouraged with his abrupt and seemingly heartless words.

I decided long ago that I would never ever be a band director. Yo

But I might start my own band one day, wink.