I made a little something for the opera group! Face masks are all the rage now, and necessary if we want to get back to having music in public together. Here are the first 4 mask designs: Akhnaten, Hojotoho!, Arches, and Voice. I’ve ordered all of them and will be posting pictures of how they look in real life. If you ordered one, and want to be featured here sporting your mask, let me know in the comments!
Philip Glass’ opera Akhnaten was the inspiration for this first mask. Drawing on artifacts from his reign, this design combines color and iconography to celebrate one of the highlights of the season.
The second mask, “Hojotoho,” celebrates the legendary valkyries. It also serves up a warning for those around you to keep their distance! Feel free to cut loose with your own majestic battle cry when picking up toilet paper at the supermarket!
Third, we have a more subtle design featuring the iconic arches of the Metropolitan Opera’s facade in Lincoln Center. These semi-transparent arches are repeated in a soothing, textural patten, paying tribute to the mecca of opera fans around the world. This is comes in 5 different colors, and is suitable for even the most conservative environments.
Lastly, this mask unleashes the threat of using one’s opera voice, while celebrating voices of the past: Enrico Caruso, Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, and Leontyne Price.
I hope you find one you like! If you have a special request for a design, please let me know in the comments below!
Stay safe out there and protect those around you by wearing a mask.
Saturday, June 20 Philip Glass’s Akhnaten Starring Dísella Lárusdóttir, J’Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Aaron Blake, Will Liverman, Richard Bernstein, and Zachary James, conducted by Karen Kamensek. From November 23, 2019.
Akhnaten at the Brooklyn Museum – On November 2, 2019, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the Mannes Orchestra, and Gandini Juggling came together to give thousands of attendees at Brooklyn Museum’s free First Saturdays event a taste of Philip Glass’s “Akhnaten.”
Music in the Air – One of the most memorable aspects of Phelim McDermott’s 2019 production of Akhnaten was its incorporation of mesmerizing juggling, designed by choreographer and juggling master Sean Gandini, which seems to make Philip Glass’s music appear before your very eyes. By Elena Park
Here Comes the Sun – Throughout his long, prolific, and innovative career, American composer Philip Glass has set the standard for contemporary classical music, so the rare arrival of one of his creations on the Met stage is a major cultural event. The 2019–20 season saw the company premiere of his transcendental Akhnaten, which starred countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo as the enigmatic title pharaoh who radically transformed ancient Egyptian society. By Christopher Browner
Phelim McDermott on Akhnaten – Watch a preview of director Phelim McDermott’s new production of Philip Glass’s “Akhnaten,” starring Anthony Ross Costanzo and conducted by Karen Kamensek.
(Year 1 of Akhnaten’s Reign Thebes.
The opera begins with an orchestral Prelude. The curtain rises towards the end of the Prelude, revealing the Scribe in the funeral setting. He delivers the Refrain, Verse 1 and Verse 2 of the text as the Prelude is completed. In the moments of silence before the funeral begins, he continues his speech through Verse 3)
(Text: Recited by the Scribe from the Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom)
Refrain Open are the double doors of the horizon Unlocked are its bolts
Verse 1 Clouds darken the sky The stars rain down The constellations stagger The bones of the hell hounds tremble The porters are silent When they see this king Dawning as a soul
Refrain (repeat above)
Verse 2 Men fall Their name is not Seize thou this king by his arm Take this king to the sky That he not die on earth Among men
Refrain (repeat above)
Verse 3 He flies who flies This king flies away from you Ye mortals He is not of the earth He is of the sky He flaps his wings like a zeret bird He goes to the sky He goes to the sky On the wind On the wind
Scene 1: Funeral of Amenhotep III
(The scene presents the funeral of Akhnaten’s father, Amenhotep III. As the starting point of the opera, it represents the historical moment immediately before the “Amarna period” or the reign of Akhnaten and depicts the society in which the reforms of Akhnaten, reforms which appeared so extreme that they can be called revolutionary, took place. The action of the scene centers on the funeral rites of the New Empire of the 18th Dynasty. It is dominated by the Amon priests and appears as ritual of extraordinary traditional character drawn from The Egyptian Book of the Dead. The funeral cortege enters downstage led by two drummers and followed by a small body of Amon priests who in turn are led by Aye, father of Nefertiti, advisor to the recently dead pharaoh, and the Pharaoh to be)
FUNERAL CHORUS (Text sung in Egyptian by the from Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead) Ankh ankh, en mitak Yewk er heh en heh Aha en heh
(As the music goes to the cellos alone, the deceased Amenhotep III enters behind the procession. He appears to be headless and is holding his head in his hands. The music for orchestra, small chorus and solo bass voice (Aye) resumes)
SMALL CHORUS (Text sung in Egyptian by from Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead) Ya inen makhent en Ra, rud akit em mehit em khentik er she nerserser em netcher khert
(During the next section for orchestra alone, the funeral cortege, Amon priests and Amenhotep III, moves upstage. Akhnaten and the people of Thebes join Aye downstage. In the final section of the funeral, the people of Thebes and Aye join the orchestra in a last salute to the departing Amenhotep III)
AY, CHORUS Ya, inen makhent en Ra, etc. Ankh ankh, en mitak, etc.
Scene2: The Coronation of Akhnaten
(The short opening to the second scene show Akhnaten alone as the Scribe, Aye and the people of Thebes leave and the funeral cortege departs. Akhnaten’s attendants appear and, by changing his costume, prepare him to receive the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. There is not singing or narration in this section. The next section for orchestra accompanies the appearance of the Scribe, the Amon High Priest, Aye and Horemhab as well as the people of Thebes. Akhnaten has remained with his attendants. The following section includes the trio of Amon High Priest, Aye and Horemhab with orchestra. The dramatic intent of this moment is to prepare Akhnaten to receive the double crown)
AMON HIGH PRIEST, HOREMHAB AYE, LARGE CHORUS (Text: Sung in Egyptian by from Budge, An Egyptian Reading Book) Ye-nedj hrak yemi em hetepu Neb aut yeb sekhem kha-u Neb wereret ka shuti Nefer seshed ka hedjet Mertu netcheru maanek Sekhi men em weptek
(The opening music of the scene recurs as the Scribe announces the names and titles of the new Pharaoh. During this speech Akhnaten receives the double crown from the Amon High Priest assisted by Aye and Horemhab)
SCRIBE (Text Recited from a list of Akhnaten’s titles) Live the Horus, Strong-Bull-Appearing-as-Justice; He of the Two Ladies, Establishing Laws and causing the Two-Lands to be Pacified; Horus of Gold, Mighty-of-Arm-when-He-Smites-the-Asiatics; King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nefer Kheperu Ra Wa en Ra, Son of Neb-maet-Ra (Lord of the Truth like Ra) Son of Ra, Amenhotep (Amon is pleased) Hek Wase (Ruler of Thebes), Given Life. Mighty Bull, Lofty of Plumes; Favorite of the Two Godesses, Great in Kingship in Karnak; Golden Hawk, wearer of Diadems in the Southern Heliopolos; King of Upper and Lower Egypt. Beautiful-is-the-Being of Ra, The Only-One-of-Ra, Son of the Sun, Peace-of-Amon, Divine Ruler of Thebes; Great in Duration, Living-for-Ever-and-Ever, Beloved of Amon-Ra, Lord of Heaven.
AMON HIGH PRIEST, HOREMHAB AYE, LARGE CHORUS (Text: Sung in Egyptian by from Budge, An Egyptian Reading Book) Ye-nedj hrak yemi em hetepu Neb aut yeb sekhem kha-u Neb wereret ka shuti Nefer seshed ka hedjet Mertu netcheru maanek Sekhi men em weptek
Scene 3: The Window of Appearances
(A windowed balcony of the palace used for state appearances. The music from the opening of the coronation scene is heard again, played on large bells and providing a musical and dramatic transition to what follows. Akhnaten is joined by Nefertiti and his mother, Queen Tye. They approach the Window of Appearances and sing, first a solo, then duet, then trio through the window. It is a hymn of acceptance and resolve and, in spirit, announces a new era)
AKHNATEN: (Text sung in Egyptian from Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians) Tut wu-a yeri enti Wa-a wa-u yeri wenenet Perer en rem em yertif Kheper netcheru tep ref
AKHENATEN, TYE Yeri semu se-ankh menmen Khet en ankhu en henmemet Yeri ankh-ti remu en yetru Apdu genekh pet
AKHNATEN, NEFERTITI: Redi nefu en enti em suhet Se-ankh apnentu yeri ankhti khenus Djedfet puyu mitet yeri Yeri kherti penu em babasen
TYE, AKHNATEN, NEFERTITI: Se-ankh puyu em khet nebet Hrak yeri Enen er a-u
(The music continues with full orchestra. Tye and Nefertiti leave Akhnaten alone. He stands gazing at the distant funeral cortege floating on barques across a mythical river to the Land of the Dead)
(Years 5 To 15 Thebes and Akhetaten)
Scene 1:The Temple
(The scene begins with a short introduction for orchestra. We then see an Amon temple and a small group of Amon priests led by their High Priest. They sing a hymn to Amon)
AMON HIGH PRIEST, AMON PRIESTS (Text sung in Egyptian from Gardiner, “The So-Called Tomb of Queen Tye”, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology) Amen men khet nebet Ya-u-nek em em djed Sen er ayu Nek henu nek en En wered ek imen
(The following orchestral section introduces Akhnaten, Queen Tye and a small party of followers, Aten priests, soldiers, etc, of the new order. After surrounding the temple, Atenists, led by Akhnaten and Queen Tye, attack it. Here we see Akhnaten for the first time as the rebel he was, venting his hatred if the old order on the Amon temple. The attack is complete, and the roof of the temple is pulled off as the light of “the Aten” pours into what once was the “holy of holies.” The attackers sing a vocalise, no words being necessary here)
Scene 2: Akhnaten and Nefertiti
(An orchestral transition prepares the scene, which is devoted entirely to a duet between Akhnaten and Nefertiti. With the introduction of the solo trombone, the Scribe begins reciting a poem. The first time we hear the poem it is as if addressed to a god. With the entrance of the strings, the poem is heard again, this time spoken as an exchange between two lovers. During this second reading, Akhnaten and Nefertiti appear. There follows the duet between the two, not alone together. The vocal text is the same poem sung in Egyptian. At the end of the duet the music returns to the orchestra alone. There is a brief pause, then Akhnaten and Nefertiti resume singing while behind them is seen the funeral cortege in a later stage of its journey, this time ascending on wings of large birds to the heavenly land of Ra)
SCRIBE (Text recited and then sung in Egyptian, a love poem found in a royal mummy of the Armarna period, from Journal of Egyptian Archæology, translated by Sir Alan Gardiner) Sesenet neftu nedjem Per em rek Peteri nefruk em menet Ta-i nehet sedj emi Kheruk nedjem en mehit Renpu ha-i em ankh en mertuk. Di-ek eni awik kher ka-ek Shesepi su ankhi yemef I ashek reni er heh Ben hehif em rek
Scene 3: The City
(The Scribe speaks the first part of this scene alone, without musical accompaniment. His speech is taken from the boundary markers or stelæ of Akhnaten’s new city, Akhetaten, The Horizon of the Aten. During his speech, Akhetaten – a new city of light and open spaces that represents architecturally and visually the spirit of the epoch of Akhnaten – appears behind him)
SCRIBE (Text recited from the boundary markers found in the valley at Tel-el-Amarna, in Breasted, A History of Egypt)
Stela 1 And his majesty said unto them, “Ye behold the City of the Horizon of the Aten, which the Aten has desired me to make for him as a monument in the great name of my majesty forever. For it was the Aten, my Father, that brought me to this City of the Horizon. There was not a noble who directed me to it; there was not any man in the whole land who led me to it, saying, ‘It is fitting for his majesty that he make a City of the Horizon of Aten in this place.’ Nay, but it was the Aten, my Father, that directed me to make it for him. Behold the Pharaoh found that this site belonged not to a god, nor to a goddess, it belonged not to a prince nor to a princess. There was no right for any man to act as owner of it.
Stela 2 I will make the City of the Horizon of the Aten for the Aten, my Father, in this place. I will not make the city south of it, north of it, west of it or east of it. I will not pass beyond the southern boundary stone southward, neither will I pass beyond the northern boundary stone northward to make for him a City of the Horizon there; neither will I make for him a city on the western side. Nay, but I will make the City of the Horizon for the Aten, my Father, upon the east side, the place for which he did enclose for his own self with cliffs, and made a plain in the midst of it that I might sacrifice to him thereon: this is it. Neither shall the Queen say unto me, Behold there is a goodly place for the City of the Horizon in another place’, and I harken unto her. Neither shall any noble nor any man in the whole land say unto me, `Behold there is a goodly place for the City of the Horizon in another place’, and I harken unto them. Whether it be downstream or southward or westward or eastward, I will not say, `I will abandon this City of the Horizon.
(The dance, which immediately follows the brass fanfare, contrasts with the heavy traditional ritual of the temple scene which opened this act. Musicians, triangle, wood block, tambourine, appear on stage with dancers, as well as Akhnaten and principal members of his entourage, in a dance that marks the celebration and inauguration of the city of Akhetaten)
Scene 4: Hymn
(The music that follows the dance is taken from the orchestral introduction to the coronation scene and serves as preparation for Akhnaten’s “Hymn to the Aten”. At its conclusion, Akhnaten is left alone. The “Hymn to the Aten” is a central moment of the opera. In it, Akhnaten espouses in his own words the inspiration for his religious and social reforms. The Hymn is sung in the language of the audience)
Hymn to the Aten
AKHNATEN (Text sung in English from Winton Thomas’s English translation published in Documents from Old Testament Times) Thou dost appear beautiful On the horizon of heaven Oh, living Aten He who was the first to live
When thou hast risen on the Eastern Horizon Thou art fair, great, dazzling, High above every land Thy rays encompass the land To the very end of all thou hast made.
All the beasts are satisfied with their pasture Trees and plants are verdant Birds fly from their nests, wings spread Flocks skip with their feet All that fly and alight Live when thou hast arisen. How manifold is that which thou hast made Thou sole God There is no other like thee Thou didst create the earth According to thy will Being alone, everything on earth Which walks and flies on high. Thy rays nourish the fields When thou dost rise They live and thrive for thee Thou makest the seasons to nourish All thou hast made The winter to cool The heat that they may taste thee. There is no other that knows thee Save thy son, Akhnaten For thou hast made him skilled In thy plans and thy might Thou dost raise him up for thy son Who comes forth from thyself.
(At the close of the Hymn, Akhnaten leaves the stage deserted, and the act ends with distant voices singing)
CHORUS (Text sung in Hebrew by Offstage Chorus, from Psalm 104, Hebrew Bible, Masoretic text) Ma rab-bu ma-a-se-kha ha-shem Ku-lam be-khokh-ma a-sita Ma-le-a ha-a-rets kin-ya-ne-kha O-te or ka-sal-ma No-te sha-ma-yim ka-yi-ri-a Ta-shet kho-shekh vi-hi lay-la Bo tir-mis kol khay-to ya-ar
(repeat first three lines)
(Year 17 And The Present – Akhetaten)
Scene 1: The Family
(The stage is divided, one side showing a room in the palace in which can be seen Akhnaten, Nefertiti and their Six Daughters. Outside the palace, on the other side of the stage, are the people of Egypt, soldiers, outlawed priests of Amon and the Scribe. The opening of the scene depicts Akhnaten and his family in a moment of intimacy, oblivious to the crowd outside. As they sing to each other a sweet, wordless song, it is apparent that in their closeness they have become isolated from the outside world. The focus shifts to the people outside the palace. The Scribe, drawing on tablets known as the Amarna Letters that were sent to Akhnaten from Syrian princes, begins to incite the crowd, which presses toward the palace and becomes increasingly restless)
SCRIBE (Text recited from the Amarna Letters as cited in Mercer, The Tel-el-Amarna Tablets)
Letter No. 1: I have written repeatedly for troops, but they were not given and the king did not listen to the word of his servant. And I sent my messenger to the palace, but he returned empty-handed – he brought no troops. And when the people of my house saw this, they rediculed me like the governors, my brethren, and dispised me.
Letter No. 2: The king’s whole land, which has begun hostilities with me, will be lost. Behold the territory of Seir, as far as Carmel; its princes are wholly lost; and hostilities prevail against me. As long as ships were upon the sea the strong arm of the king occupied Naharin and Kash, but now the Apiru are occupying the king’s cities. There remains not one prince to my lord, the king; every one is ruined. Let the king take care of his land and let him send troops. For if no troops come in this year, the whole territory of my lord, the king, will perish. If there are no troops in this year, let the king send his officer to fetch me and his brothers, that we may die with our lord, the king.
Letter No. 3: Verily, they father did not march forth nor inspect the lands of the vassal-princes. And when thou ascended the throne of thy father’s house, Abdashirta’s sons took the king’s lands for themselves. Creatures of the king of Mittani are they, and of the king of Babylon and of the king of the Hittites.
Letter No. 4 Who formerly could have plundered Tunip without being plundered by Thutmose III? The gods of the king of Egypt, my lord, dwell in Tunip. May my lord ask his old men if this not be so. Now, however, we belong no more to our lord, the king of Egypt. And now Tunip, thy city, weeps and her tears are flowing and there is not help for us. For twenty years we have been sending to our lord, the king of Egypt, but there has not come to us a word – no, not one.
(The scene shifts back to the palace. This time Akhnaten is alone with his two eldest daughters. They continue to sing, appearing more withdrawn and isolated from the events outside)
Scene 2: Attack and Fall
(Horemhab, Aye and the Amon High Priest push to the front of the crowd and also begin to rouse the people, Large Chorus. The principals and chorus sing a text taken from the Amarna Letters. Soon the palace is surrounded. Finally, the mob bursts through the palace doors and windows in a wave of shouts, overwhelming Akhnaten and his remaining family and carying them off)
HIGH PRIEST, AY HOREMHAB, CHORUS (Text sung in Akkadian from Mercer, The Tel-el-Amarna Tablets) Lim-lik-mi sha-ri a-na ma-ti-shu Khal-kat mat sha-ri Ga-ba-sha Tsa-na-ta-ni nu-kur-tu a-na ya-shi A-di ma-ta-ti She-eri Gin-Ti-kir-mil shal-nu a-na gab-bi kha-zi-a-nu-ti u nu-kur-tu a-na ya-shi. Ip-sha-ti e-nu-ma a-mel a-mi-ri u-l a-mar i-na sha-ri be-li-ya ki nu-kur-tu a-na mukh-khi-ya shak-na-ti E-nu-ma e-lip-pa i-na lib-bi tam-ti kat sha-ri dan-na-tu Ti-lik-ki Nakh-ri-ma u kapa-si u i-nan-na a-la-ni sha-ri Ti-li-ki-u Kha-bi-ru Ya-nu-mi ish-ten kha-zi-a-nu a-na sha-ri be-li-ya khal-ku gab-bu
Scene 3: The Ruins
(In the silence at the close of the last scene, the Scribe appears out of the chaos to announce the end of Akhnaten’s reign)
SCRIBE (Text recited from Aye’s tomb) The sun of him who knew thee not Has set, O Amon. But, as for him who knows thee, He shines. The temple of him who assailed Thee is in darkness, While the whole earth is in Sunlight. Who so puts thee in his heart, O Amon, Lo, his sun hath risen.
(The next section for orchestra and the Scribe is a reprise, in shortened form, of the opening Prelude. It serves as a transition to the present day and is divided as follows: The Scribe describes the rebuilding of the Amon temples after the fall of Akhnaten)
SCRIBE (Text recited from Tutankhamen’s tomb) The new ruler, performing benefactions for his father Amon and all the gods, has made what was ruined to endure as a monument for the ages of eternity, and he has expelled the great criminal and justice was established. He surpassed what has been done previously. He fashioned his father Amon upon thirteen carrying poles, his holy image being of fine gold, lapis lazuli, and every august costly stone, whereas the majesty of this august god had been upon eleven carrying poles. All the property of the temples has been doubled and tripled and quadrupled in silver, gold, lapis lazuli, every kind of august costly stone, royal linen, white linen, fine linen, olive oil, gum, fat, incense, myrrh, without limit to any good thing. His majesty, Life! Prosperity! Health! has built their barques upon the river of new cedar from the terraces. They make the river shine.
(The orchestral music becomes very full and no action is indicated. Finally the city of Akhetaten appears as it exists in the present: a ruined city, recently excavated, the walls barely three feet high at most. Several groups of tourists wander through the ruins taking photos, exploring, looking about. The last group of tourists is led by the Scribe, now appearing as a twentieth-century tour guide describing to the group what they are seeing)
SCRIBE (Text recited from Frommer’s Guide to Egypt, and Fodor’s Egypt) To reach Tel-el-Amarna, drive eight miles south of Mallawi to the point where you cross the Nile. On the east side of the Nile the distance is less than a mile and can be covered on foot or on donkey. Behind the present village, at the ancient site of Tel-el-Amarna, the ruins known as the palace of Nefertiti are among the very few remnants of the Akhnaten period. Tablets in cuneiform writing, which contain correspondence between Egypt and Syria, were found here and are now the the Cairo Museum. (To see any sights on the Eastern bank of the river you must cross by ferry which carries cars along with the usual donkey carts and local traffic. The ferry docking station is located at the southern end of the town. You should arrive there at least one-half hour before the 6:00 AM crossing. The ferry does a brisk business and you will need every available second for sight seeing. There is nothing left of this glorious city of temples and palaces. The mud brick buildings have long since crumbled and little remains of the immense stone temples but the outlines of their floor plans. In addition to the tombs and ruins of the city, there are several stelæ scattered around the plain which mark the limits of the land belonging to the city, most of them are too widely scattered to visit and are also in bad condition.
Scene 4: Epilogue
(All the tourists have left. The ruined city is empty. The ghosts of Akhnaten and the other principals appear moving about their now-dead city. Singing parts are taken by Akhnaten, Nefertiti and Queen Tye, but they sing no words. At first they seem not to know that they and their city all are dead and now a part of the past. They become aware of the funeral cortege of Akhnaten’s father (Amenhotep III) moving across the background. They form a procession of their own and, as the opera ends, can be seen moving off toward the first funeral group still on its journey to the heavenly land of Ra)
The Metropolitan Opera Horns will be hosting a special edition of their Horn-Makers Workshop today at noon featuring Josh Landress of J. Landress Brass Shop. There will be a lot of fantastic musical guests including musicians from the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway, the Philadelphia Orchestra and more! You don’t want to miss this!
The crux of the whole deal is that the football coach shook the podium of the drum major and had other coaches, players, and fans/parents yelling at the band to get off the field in the middle of their halftime show. The disrespectful behavior from this very visible school leader and teacher, not to mention physical and verbal harassment, is completely unacceptable. There are many other facts about this story, but that’s the real clincher that pushed this from an interscholastic squabble to a social media shitstorm.
Musicians, especially band geeks (yes, I’m one!), are passionate about music, teamwork, the human spirit, and underdogs! You want high school marching bands on your side! This is a unique group of people who willingly spend vast amounts of time, energy, and their own money to be in marching bands that go play for football teams and entertain audiences no matter if the team is winning or losing! They are cheerleaders! They are event makers! They are spirit builders! Yes, there are lots of exclamation points because that’s just how band is! Yeah, band!
This event touched a nerve with me, so I penned the following letter to the school principal and copied it to the band director.
Dear Principal Randazzo,
Congratulations on the outstanding accomplishments of your band program under the direction of Mr. Hilkert. It is no small feat to reach that outstanding level of skill and cooperation without a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. The Herculean effort it requires to teach, train, fund raise, rehearse, plan, and travel with a marching band is commendable. Kudos to Mr. Hilkert.
As a music professional (Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees,) and now as a band booster with a child in a high school marching band, I’m flabbergasted at the behavior of your football coach towards the band, collectively and personally. Under what circumstance is it acceptable to shake a podium with a student on it? Or yelling at the students to leave the field?
I feel for the coach and his frustration at having a terrible season. I get it. I live in Tampa and the Buccaneers just won their first game of the whole season this past Monday. It’s painful to be attached to a losing team. Our high school team won 3 games this year, and took a beating most of the time. It wasn’t pretty, but we cheered and played the fight song. I imagine your coach is feeling pretty frustrated. In spite of that, learning is taking place. All the time. Everyone present at your Senior Night learned the ugly truth about your coach. The students saw it, and learned from it.
It’s your turn to teach your school, the community, and far beyond, thanks to the internet. Learning is taking place. The kids and their parents are watching. If you don’t stand up for the band and outwardly acknowledge their contribution to the whole football game experience, you are giving your stamp of approval to that coach and bullies everywhere that it’s okay to make others feel “less than.”
I wish you all the best as you take this opportunity to lead by example.
Ann Adair (who found validation and self worth while participating in high school band)
This snapshot was a pleasant, although character-building, memory of marching in a community parade. It was hot (South Florida!) and long. Parades always seemed very long with lots of starting and stopping, and repeating the same music over and over, especially at Christmas. Potholes are dangerous, along with occasional horse poop that might have been missed.
One unpleasant memory stands out for me, though, and it happened at a football game. It was my sophomore year, first year in marching band, and we were marching out of the stadium after the game. I don’t remember the score or who won, but it was crowded and a bit rowdy. Out of nowhere, I was hit in the side of my head with an egg. It hurt. It was humiliating. I had raw egg in my hair, on my face, on my uniform, and I stood at attention and concentrated on marching out of there as if nothing happened. The tears began to build, and I probably silently cried in the dark on the bus on the way back to the school. I don’t remember. I do remember a band chaperone helping me get cleaned up. I think I was in shock.
I’m trying to imagine what was going through the mind of the drum major from Annandale’s band on Senior Night as he’s conducting in the middle of the halftime show to have his own team’s coach yelling at them to stop and get off the field, then shaking the podium while he was on it. He’s a kid. A student leader doing the best he can with an undisputed prize-winning band following the direction of his band director. Why didn’t the coach talk to the band director? What was he thinking? That moment of the podium shaking is probably burned into the soul of that kid. Good job, coach. Learning is taking place. Learning about how even trusted coaches, leaders, and teachers can lose control. Those people who should be building up young people and are paid to do that can turn on a dime and lash out. Good job, coach. Thanks for teaching how it’s okay to push around students at your own school, in front of their peers and parents, on an important night in the life of a high school student. Senior Night is a time to celebrate your accomplishments with your friends, your family, your classmates, and your teachers/coaches/administration. Learning is taking place.
A friend posted a quotation from Lily Tomlin today that emboldened me about this story.
“I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that, then I realized I was somebody.”
I was that high school band student thirty years ago. Now, I’m a band booster with a daughter in high school marching band. I’m one of the parents that will be there to pick up the pieces when that trusted adult has shaken the podium or anonymous kid has thrown an egg at a student.
After all this, what I know is that marching bands march. They march through rain, heat, snow, sunshine, horse crap, potholes, muddy football fields, hot asphault, dirt roads, and will march right over jerks who might shake their foundations without blinking an eye.