My old high school is set to be torn down. A new one has already been built to replace it, but the band hall as I understand is still in the works. Two weekends ago Auburn High school held a public walk through. A good handful of band alumni from the 70’s-2000’s came and gathered in the band hall for one last hoorah in the old building. It is just a building. There is nothing special about it really. But something quite special happened in it often, and over time; we became a part of a community. We assembled and played the fight song and a few other tunes.
A handful of us didn’t know each other, we were from too many years apart. Yet still we had a common bond, the community of the band, music. In one of these pictures you can see me (SD) with my good friend Bryan (he was the best man at my wedding), and Patrick (we just reconnected this year, after 20 years). Bryan and Patrick are not vocational musicians, Bryan is a systems engineer at Nintendo, and Patrick is a bridge engineer for the DOT. The three of us are quite different on multiple levels. But we have music in common, and specifically, we are all a part of the community that music made possible.
Some of you may know this already, but Rob and I first met about 15 years ago, over the phone. He was the Army Band liaison that I worked with to enlist in the Army Bands. We never even served together in the Army directly, but we were both a part of the band community. And here we are nearly fifteen years together, watering a music academy; one we hope will grow into a new community with relationships that will last a lifetime and span the globe.
Music is a proven community builder, and most often throughout history, the communities that music creates develop around a school or music center. And music communities are often proven to be those that know no boundaries but music. They include musicians, educators, and all who enjoy music, not just musicians.
One of our goals as an academy is to provide an opportunity for community growth. Everyone needs to be a part of something. Whether you attend public or private school, or home-school, don’t let your children miss out on the community that music creates. They will cherish it 20 years from now, and beyond. Don’t miss it yourself either. You will cherish it too.
What about you? What’s your story?
Did you play in the band, orchestra, or sing in the choir when you were a child? If so, are you still in touch with anyone from that community? We would love to share some of your stories.
If you didn’t, it is never too late!
 Paul Berliner. Thinking in Jazz: the Infinite Art of Improvisation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994, 36-37.