Glendora-Monrovia

Just left Glendora a little while ago. On Mondays they do street. The director is very meticulous, as is the banner/tall flag/drill team lady. It’s street. Everyone, grandma, and God will know if you are good or not. Oh yeah, and they have a pipe band between the banners/flags and the band 😀

Excellent student leadership helps make the banner/flag/pipe band/drill team thing happen. The distance between the banners and the end of the drill team is almost 100 yards. I am going to measure it next time (not the way I measure hashes for the home show, Jeff) I will make marks on the curb and come back with my 300ft tape 😀

Anyway, student leadership. It’s interesting, they, Glendora kids are really smart, but they are very laid back in the way they hold their positions. I should say the band kids are very laid back. The colorguard/banner/tall flag/drill team girls are fierce. If a fight ever broke out in a biker bar, and I was there, I would want these girls with me 😀 But seriously, the way their gig is run, they have a lot of responsibility teaching, cleaning, and maintaining all the work they do. There is very little down time for them, they are always working on something, or extending an ear or eye to see, hear what the band is doing and where they need to get their section set. Highly admire them.

The pipe band leader is a genuine badass. But like the band kids, very laid back. It works okay for him, since the pipe band is a very select group, and they all fall into the badass category.

The director is very unique guy, as all band directors are. He participated as a youth in a highly regimented, military style drum corps. I see flashes of it from time to time, as does the band 😀 But for the most part he treats the kids like they are reasonable, mature, intelligent young people. They are teenagers, so you can guess how that works out 😀 Sometimes they are, sometimes…not so much.

I am still trying to figure out how to do more than I am. I am also trying to be sensitive, especially with the upperclassmen, about affecting and effecting the current culture. I was getting a little too intense towards the end of band camp and the beginning of the after school rehearsals. The director very gently asked me, before I think the 2nd night rehearsal to be more positive, he didn’t want the students to think I was anything less than positive.

Funny, those of you that know me, yes?

I got it, though. I remember being particularly annoyed with more than a few students the previous rehearsal, in terms of their focus and effort, and I let them know it. But those of you that know me also know I am a very reflective person, so I was ready for the message the director had for me. My response to him was I knew exactly what he was taking about, I had thought about my behavior the previous rehearsal and I had three words that were going to carry me through the rest of this season: positive, encouraging, and supportive. Done! 😀

Now about Monrovia…completely different gig. The Glendora gig is basically a 2 person show (there is a pit tech and two battery techs, but the gig is really being run by the director, the guard lady, and student leaders), its 150+ performers and me trying to figure out where my talents can be best used (I did get basics time, but not so much since band camp) Monrovia has an 80 or so ensemble and a STAFF 😀 As a director, that alone is a challenge managing the adults along with the program. Thankfully, we all work well together. Not always the case in some programs. Easy to understand, everyone has a different focus. Every caption AND sub-caption is well staffed. If anything/anyone were to be added it would be a ensemble music person sitting in the box handling that, just saying 😀

Monrovia is another outstanding example of student leadership. These kids are more vocal about how they interact and encourage their sections and the band about making a better product. A different culture. Not better than Glendora, just different. No doubt about the quality of the ensembles at Glendora, they just do it different 😀

I realized something too about the differences in the parent presence. At first I was a little concerned about the lack of the Glendora parent presence. Then I realized they don’t have an awesome stadium to sit and watch their kids rehearse. That is something that has always impressed me about the Monrovia parents: rehearsals, games, competitions, fundraisers, they are THERE 😀

Now I have had a chance to see how the Glendora parents support that program. My first chance to see that with Glendora was when we did the Rose Parade walk through about a month ago. We took 4 buses, there were 3 to 4 parents on every bus, and about a dozen more followed in their cars. Second time I saw it was picture day, at least 20 parents were helping kids get their uniforms on/together and it was a hot day so a bunch of parents set up a water station with several coolers, lots of water, and cups. Then last Saturday there was a preview show for the parents and the turn out was quite impressive. It looked like each kid had someone there, plus some. Good times.

I am trying to remember what things were like for me when I started at Monrovia. It feels like family now. I seemed to remember getting to know the kids and parents better a lot sooner than I have so far in Glendora. I know I am approaching things differently, different cultures. I will figure it out. Time answers all questions. I definitely feel appreciation in both places, so thank kids 😀

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