Home of the Paoli Jr-Sr High School Bands

From the Director…

What is this thing called Marching Band?

At times, many people wonder just what kind of urge overcomes students and adults alike to form a marching band (there are adult marching bands in some states for all those older people who can’t get enough): practicing in weather conditions that range from light to dark, hot to cold, and wet to dry; trying to perfect music on the football field that many bands struggle with sitting down; learning to march backwards at a very fast pace (172 steps per minute this year!); and trying to hit the right spot while depending on the people behind you not to run you over. The Pride of Paoli Band rehearses long hours, rides the school bus on the trips, and performs on 7 consecutive Saturdays in the fall. The band parents organize and provide food, uniforms, chaperone duties, and transportation for everyone involved.

Students and parents will give many answers ranging from learning life skills such as pride, discipline (lots of that), cooperation, the love of music and getting a chance to perform in front of thousands of people for a single show (25,000 people witnessed State Finals last year in the Lucas Oil Stadium), the excitement of competition and travel opportunity, or just because it is outdoors.

As a director, I get to teach all these things, but the one area that stands out the most to me is watching Mom and Dad and other friends and family members coming to the contests, cheering for the students, helping to support them (food, travel, dress, love, etc.) and hugging them afterward. These contests are one of the few places that I get to see whole families together united in a single cause and supporting each other, and if I can help create these situations for our students and parents in this busy and sometimes hectic world of ours, then all of the long hours of work and planning, all of the dissent from people who are not happy with the given situation, all of the successes and disappointments are worth it. This job can be particularly rewarding when I see the love and pride of students and parents having set very high standards and goals and having successfully worked to achieve them.

These things called success, love, pride, discipline, the feeling of a job well done, all come from one thing: HARD WORK. However, before hard work begins to pay off, one must have the correct mental direction of work. After all, a mule pushing a grind-mill around in circles may be working hard, but where is he going? Sometimes outside people or even parents who don’t attend many rehearsals question how the entire organization is structured into one single unit. One must understand that giving structure and organization to individual family members is a lot different than doing the same thing for a group of 70+ individuals who come from varied life styles. Remember: the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. The only ability I ask of my students is their availability and willingness to work hard, get along with each other, and learn.

Marching band is not about trophies and rankings, but it is about standards you set for yourself and the ability to work and perform under all kinds of conditions and succeeding at the same time. Isn’t this what life in general is all about? These things cannot be taught from a textbook and I have the fortunate opportunity to be able to teach some of this to what I believe are the best students here at Paoli.

– Mr. L