Be Part of Something "Bigger" Than Yourself

“I love watching lots of people doing great things.”  This statement, made by George N. Parks in the documentary Building Power And Class is one that speaks to me on a variety of levels.  Levels that are surface based and levels that reach to the depths of my core that in some ways I struggle with the ability to clearly articulate to others…but I will try. Let us start with the surface of it all.

A group of people working collectively on the same project, pursuing the same goal and all focused on a positive outcome for their efforts is a wonderful experience in which to partake.  Whether it is three people working side by side to assist with cleaning up a person’s basement that was negatively impacted by Hurricane Irene or 320 people rehearsing tirelessly in order to perform an energetic, enthusiastic, exciting, excellent and “en”-tense halftime show for 20,000 people, the process is as important as the outcome for both. Both examples require an organized approach and a commitment to “hard labor.”  Both outcomes result in a feeling of satisfaction in having achieved the goal.  Granted a rockin’ halftime show is much more fun than a dry basement, but a successful outcome leaves one with a strong sense of accomplishment regardless of the task.

The UDMB faced natural disaster after natural disaster at the start of this year’s season.  There was every reason for the band NOT to be prepared by the second football game let alone the first one.  That of course did not happen because of the commitment and dedication of the students and staff. While the surface explanation of the statement is met by these incredible young men and women during every rehearsal and performance, it is the deeper description that leaves a lasting impact upon everyone who comes in contact with the ensemble.

As I sat in the stands last night during the post game performances by both the DSUMB and UDMB I, or course, watched the bands.  But I also chose to watch the audience.  As DSU performed I watched DSU and UD fans alike stand up and dance in the stands.  And of course, the UDMB was rockin’ it on the sideline.  Then it was the UDMB’s turn and again, DSU and UD fans were both clapping along and going crazy by the end of the show.

The deeper meaning of the opening statement of this post is knowing that something as superficial as a marching band show has a lasting impact upon the lives of thousands.  “Lots of people doing great things” such as bringing a smile to someone’s face and pulling that person “into” the show so they too may share in an experience that focuses “simply upon being in the moment” is a PRIVILEGE–one that I am proud to say I am part of creating.  To bring joy to people lives, to help them put aside their troubles for 30 minutes, to see them smile, clap, and dance—that is being part of something “bigger” than yourself.