A New Generation of Flight

Once upon a time there was a boy who could fly. He was described as having a cat-like ability to leap upwards with very little effort. His ability to lift into the air would generate energy within others in a way few have been able to replicate. The boy could fly and his ability was an inspiration to others in ways they would not completely understand for many years.

This boy is flying elsewhere now. But he still inspires others to fly and to “fly.”

As the 2018 UDMB regular season comes to a close I can say, without a doubt, that this year the band “flew.” The band as a whole.  Not just one certain area, not just a few student leaders, but the entire complement. It began at staff camp where I learned I had competent teachers on the Field Staff who approached each task, no matter how small, with a desire to HELP their peers learn and get better.

The new student AD Staff took to their roles like fish to water as if they had been doing it their entire lives. The freedom this gave the new graduate assistants was unexpected and also a gift. It allowed them to learn about their new organization and how it worked, find their voice in teaching, and frankly, find their place within the workings of the machine.

The rookie class fell in love with their new “home” by the end of their first evening session on the Amy Green. I never saw a rookie class smile from the start of band camp to the last post game playing of “In My Life” as this one did.

The vets…what can I say. They set the bar high, they came back with a desire to push the envelope, they reached deep and found a new expansive way to embrace the new members and teach them the ways of the band.

Every band I have had the privilege to work with throughout my career holds a special place in my heart. They are a part of me:  who I am and who I will continue to become.  And like any parent I don’t like to think that one “child” is ever better than another…but there are a few that, for reasons  I can never quite find the correct words to explain why, a few stand out just a bit more than others. The 2018 UDMB, as a whole, was one of those: they simply LIVED this year’s hashtag of #ReachHigher. 

The 2018 UDMB “flew.”

The boy who flew and taught so many of us to “fly” lives on in ways I am not so sure he ever realized he would. We all “fly” along our own flight path – one that fits our personalities – but also one that is built upon the same philosophical foundation of 100% commitment, #ReachHigher, do the uncomfortable thing, and “do it right the first time.” 

Sometimes, if you raise your helicopter high enough and survey your world without any preconceived idea or goal, you are “gifted” with the reminder that all things are connected, all people are connected, and you are quite never alone. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get just a little nudge … even if you never met the original boy who could fly.