If you’ve been following the politics in Washington, then you are aware of the current political divide in our nation surrounding the Russian attack on the 2016 election and the ensuing investigations of obstruction of justice and collusion by President Trump and his campaign, respectively. As the investigations proceed, President Trump (and his supporters) have lashed out at the media, the FBI and the Special Counsel’s Office, calling it all a witch hunt. The Democrats (also known as the political correctness police) are chasing Trump around twitter looking for gotcha moments with every tweet. Meanwhile… the Russian attack on our country remains unaddressed by congress. Both sides have resorted to their respective corners where only their own talking points are heard and accepted. It feels good getting those “high-fives” when everyone agrees with each other… but that’s not democracy.
Last year around this time I wrote an article entitled IS IT HELPING OR HURTING?: The All-Star/Mass Band. The inspiration behind the article was a spirited conversation between some high school and college band directors who were comparing the positive results of students participating in All-Star/Mass Bands as opposed to the typical Summer Band Camps hosted by universities. Some questioned if All-Star/Mass Bands benefited their students in any impactful way. I hoped my article would inspire a lively discussion amongst directors and mass band participants which could possibly develop into understanding and mutual respect. This activity could potentially be another pathway to college scholarships for directors and their students, satisfying goals that I would later learn were the same on both “sides” of the discussion.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way… The discussion was taken over by MEAC vs SWAC dialogue and, just like the Republicans and the Democrats, people resorted back to their corners of the internet for virtual “high-fives” and adulation as they attacked “the other side” while never truly hearing each other. Meanwhile… a momentous opportunity for dialogue and purposeful action was lost and the students became the ultimate losers.
So here we are, a year later, and I’m posing the same questions… Is the All-Star/Mass Band hurting or helping students and programs in general? Do you believe the enrollment of summer band camps have suffered due to the popularity of All-Star/Mass Bands? Is this a fad that will eventually pass or is the All-Star/Mass Band here to stay and should be respected as such?
I encourage you to revisit the article from last year and then contribute your thoughts on the matter here (in the comment section) or; under “The Revisit” post on our facebook page, my Google Plus account, or my LinkedIn page so everyone can see your comments and respond accordingly. This is not a discussion to have with our respective “amen choirs” so please don’t share this article to groups then discuss privately. Please discuss here or on the aforementioned platforms where contrasting viewpoints and constructive debate is welcomed and encouraged.