Dear future Eagles,
As I walked through the massive wooden door to the band room for the very first time, I was thirteen years old and terrified by the thought of meeting 150 cool, confident strangers. As I watched all kinds of people tossing flags and playing instruments, every stereotype I had ever heard about band kids being geeks went out the window. And when they took the field? Oh man, they were a well-oiled marching machine! How could I measure up to that? Would I even fit in?
Well, I am so glad to say that I was ridiculously wrong. Not about them being cool and confident, but about myself being the odd man out. As those first hours in band turned into days and weeks, I realized that maybe those other kids weren’t as perfect as I thought- maybe they were just people. Kind people who were incredibly loving and caring, but still made mistakes and had embarrassing moments just like me. And maybe, just maybe, I was a little closer to perfect than I had believed- because these kind human beings helped me see that about myself. They taught me strength, grace, and unconditional love. Band creates a space for its members to explore who they are and discover the best sides of themself. As the years have gone by, that door to the band room seems less and less ginormous, yet its effect on the lives of those who pass through it has only grown.
I always struggle with putting band’s impact on its members into words because it’s felt by so many. This is about every single person who has ever been on the field; from the most agile senior marimba player to the most nervous freshman tuba. We are more than just a team; we are a family. Everyone is valued and smothered with love that they in turn will pass on, creating a tradition of familiarity that welcomes all. Band is truly a place for everybody, with all types of personalities and interests within the group. And this family will do everything they can to build you up and help you become your best self. Because we are taught from day one that our legacy does not come from the notes we play, it comes from the way we treat others. I don’t have a shadow of a doubt that without band giving me the tools, I wouldn’t be who I am today. And I am so humbled by and grateful for that gift.
Now don’t get me wrong, band isn’t a cakewalk. It’s far from one. It requires you to put in hard work, dedication, passion, and perseverance. But that’s what this family is for- to motivate you when times get tough and to be your shoulder to cry own. But also to crack jokes and celebrate your victories with, big or small. The most important requirement for being a member of the Eagle Pride is to have a good attitude. All we can ask of you is to do your best, because everyone’s best can take us to the highest of heights.
There is nothing like performing a marching band show. Absolutely nothing. You stand there, eyes locked on the crowd as they clamor for more, their boisterous cheers filling you up like nothing else in the world. And even though you’re panting and drenched in sweat, nothing can stop you from grinning. I know that joining band isn’t a decision to be made lightly, but it will change your life just like it’s changed mine. All of my best friends and memories are from band, and I can’t wait to spend my last year making even more. This band is only special because of the people in it, and I can’t wait for you to bring your magic to this group.