Re: Re: HS band woes - argh

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Posted by Dave on April 10, 2002 at 01:03:49:

In Reply to: Re: HS band woes - argh posted by Director Dictators on April 09, 2002 at 23:03:44:

Not to pile on your misery, but it doesn't stop in high school. ..

I spent four years in an Air Force field band, three of which were under a commanding officer that could best be described with one word - megalomaniac. I especially like the definition - "A mania for great or grandiose performance, coupled with infantile feelings of omnipotence, especially when retained in later life."

His troops universally despised him, and the senior NCOs, perhaps looking at that retirement check just a few years away, were totally spineless yes-men who let the man run rampant. The band operated in a semi-autonomous fashion, and our CO had, for all intents and purposes, little or no contact with his superiors except at the occasional ceremony or parade.

But herein lies the rub - he knew how to play the poltical game, and as much as we couldn't stand having him around, the generals loved him. After being rewarded with one early promotion after another, he's steadily risen in the career field and now sits poised on the verge of the band commander's holy grail - command of a D.C. band.

I hate to think about all the unbelieveably talented first-term airmen who were so aliented by the experience (myself included) that four years was about all they could handle. Some didn't even make it that far, and exercised whatever option they had for an early out. What a waste. I'm sure there were many fine units in the career field, but we were stuck in the armpit.

Your high school band director sounds as if he was cut from the same cloth. My only suggestion to you is don't let your kids become alienated from music because of one rotten apple. High school band is *not* the end of the world. There are many fine, fine community groups with very mature players, with any of which your kids would undoubtedly fare better than under the baton of a wannabee-king. Set them up for a lifetime of what music should be - enjoyable!!

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