You May Say I’m A Dreamer

I am a dreamer.  My husband, is a realist.  It never ceases to amaze me how so much alike we really are and then can be so far apart on opposite ends of the spectrum at the same time.

We both LOVE B-Grade movies, Cult Classics…that sort of thing, and just recently purchased “Puppet Master”, one of our all time favorites.  After exposing our children to this wonderfully cheesy film, I made the comment that if I were ever to make a movie, I would choose to make a horrible B-Grade flick.  People love them and flock to them.  This opened up a conversation about some of our favorite and not so favorite Cult Classic flicks.

You may be wondering how I jumped from my being a dreamer and his a realist to cinema.  Well, I’m about to enlighten you.  Two of his most favorite movies of all time are “A Clockwork Orange” and “Apocalypse Now”.  I detest both of these films.  There are scenes from both of them that will never leave my brain, and I would have been just fine never seeing either of these movies.  My husband on the other hand, quotes them probably like most people can quote “Star Wars”.  Now don’t get me wrong, “Clockwork” is an ingenious movie, twisted and dark, but it’s one that I can’t wrap my brain around.  It makes me sick to my stomach to try to.  It’s too disturbing, but I think because it is on a “there are people really like this out there” level.  When my husband brought up “The Shining”, one of my all time favs, I pointed out that while yes, there are people like that in the world, this movie was still wrapped in “shock horror”, not “realistic horror” so it didn’t take me to that disturbed level.  Being a realist, my husband views life in the sense that the person behind you in line at the grocery store could twist off at any minuet.  While it’s a hard pill to swallow that such disturbed people really do live among us, it’s a part of life.  To him, that is what makes “Clockwork” such a great film.

As a dreamer, I live my life to music….music not everyone can hear.  While it may seem strange to some, I always have music playing in my head, like the background score of a movie.  No matter where I am, what I am doing, or who I am with, the music is always there.  This morning, when I took my son to school, one of the songs from “Lemonade Mouth” was (and still is) playing in my head.  I’ve used the saying “Music is the soundtrack of your life” many times, and it’s a sentence I live by.   My soundtrack is made up of many different songs by many different artists.  It is ever increasing as new music comes out.  Music is as essential to me as the very air that I breathe.  As a realist, to my husband when we are in the car, music is just background noise.  And I have no doubts that unless he has a moment of “I can’t get that song out of my head”, he does not hear music all the time.  I honestly think he hears sirens and tasers as I hear music. 😉  This is not a fault in either of us, it’s just the way we are.

The downside of being a dreamer, is that I can never get my brain to shut off.  It’s in constant motion, working on creating for different things, be it ideas for the band, our Halloween parties, festival, or trying to figure out ways to make something work better, smoother and easier.  All of this tends to carry over when I go to sleep and I dream about it when my eyes are closed just as much when my eyes are open.  At times, this causes some unwanted fatigue, but the end results of what I’m working on sometimes amaze me.

John Lennon wrote, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”  I think of this line from “Imagine” a lot.  I wonder if the other dreamers out there, think and experience life as I do, or if it’s different for each of us.  I couldn’t imagine living as a realist.  To me it would be like watching the world in black and white.  Like the difference between our world, and Alice’s world beyond the looking glass, stepping from the mundane into the extraordinary.  Please don’t think that I’m calling realists mundane, because that’s not what I’m saying at all.  My husband is anything BUT mundane. I just couldn’t imagine myself as a realist…..being a dreamer has made up who I am, so I can’t even begin to think of myself any other way.

No matter if you are a dreamer or a realist, together, we complete this crazy puzzle of life!  Carry on, dream on, live on!!!

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The Merry-Go-Round

I want to start this post by saying in the midst of being exhausted and burning both ends of the candle, I am so thrilled to be able to do what I am doing.  Even though my brain feels like it’s on a merry-go-round and I can’t get off of it, the end result of it all makes every ounce of what I put into my days worthwhile.

I used to think that I would just be coming into the busiest time of the year for me.  May is the magical month of the year in which we get to step out of our time and back into 16th century England, the time of King Henry the VIII.  Following the whirlwind of festival, we then jump head first into fireworks sales there at the Castle.  This last year has re-defined “busiest time of year” and has changed that to…..there is NO non busy time of year for me.  I am by no means complaining.  While I have had isolated moments of wanting to pull my hair out, this has been one of the most fulfilling years EVER!

The cycle is now made up primarily of band related events, but if you have met the kids we have the honor of getting to work with and for then you know that it is just as much fun as it is work.  And there is TONS of work.  So, the year cycle for me starting from today, April, 13th is as follows:

Tomorrow we will work with the HS band on special effects lighting during first hour, get advertising decorating done at all 3 schools, and work on painting reserved seating stars.

Monday the 25th is the Band Banquet.

May 28-30 Tri-State  solos and parade!!  This is also opening weekend of Festival in which this will be the first time we’ve missed it in 5 years…sad face..but again, the trade off is one that I wouldn’t give up.  SO all our Ren family!  May you have the most amazing opening weekend EVER!!!!

May 2nd – Band Booster Meeting!  Anyone wishing to support the band is welcome to come be a part!

May 9th- “Blue Carpet Movie Event” spring concert.  We will be missing the 2nd weekend of festival as we are hoping to be able to decorate the Sunday before and there is NO way I can do a full weekend of festival and drive back to do this concert.  Of course, there will be dress rehearsals mixed in between some of these dates, so that we have all of our ducks in a row and the show goes off killer and without a hitch.  I also have several more commercials to work up before this date to play during the concert as well.

May 12th – MS Awards Assembly and 8th grade graduation.  Well, it’s finally arrived.  I am fixing to have 3 kids in high school…. SIGH…  There is also the after graduation party at the river that afternoon.

May 14-15th – FESTIVAL WEEKEND!! WOO HOO!!! Can NOT wait to see everyone!

May 17th last day of school

May 19th – My niece graduates from Okeene!! YAY Tori! So proud of you!

May 21-22 – Festival weekend #2!! YAY!

May 23-26th – Mini Band Camp!  If you have a child pre-k thru 6th they are welcome to come be a part of that.  The cost is $30 until the 15th and then the price goes up to $40.  Gonna be a great time.  Don’t miss out!

Memorial Day Weekend – There is a mud bog that Saturday and the Boosters will be providing concessions.  Final weekend of Festival….hope we can make that!

First week of June – K101 Classic Bowl in Woodward with the game being June 4th

June 5th…head to Muskogee to get ready to work fireworks

Junish-July7this- Fireworks setup, sales, and inventory

Weekend of July 9th – head back home

July 22-30 Drumline, color guard and band camp … also mix in my anniversary 19 years this year!!! ❤ you Babe!!

July 31, my birthday

August starts school and marching season which will run into at least November

OCTOBER!!!!  If you know us, you know we are Halloween FANATICS!  We will have at least 1 Halloween party during the month….as the twins birthday is that month, we haven’t decided if we will be having a combined band/birthday party or 1 for each

December….Christmas Concert

January-April – Solo contests, Spring Concert, Tri-State, Prom, etc, etc

Now, in the midst of all these summer/fall dates, there is so much work that will be going into those time frames. Props have to be built, uniforms fit and altered, meals provided for clinicians and students during camp, keeping them hydrated and sunblocked, etc.  We also have Booster meetings in the midst of all these months.

Am I exhausted?  Without a doubt.  Do I sometimes feel that I do no have a creative thought or idea left…undeniably.  Would I give up even a second?  Not a chance.  You see, the greatest reward and inspiration that is keeping me driving headlong in helping make each moment of band greater than the one before was seeing  the reactions of the younger band students and talking with them.  Seeing how eager they are to be a part of the band program as they get older.  To know that they are valued and looked at with equal importance as the HS band students are.  To see them and listen to them and hear their excitement ….. THEY are the investment.  THEY are the reward that makes every moment worthwhile.  THEY are the BAND.  And there is nothing more valuable or worth investing in than they are.

 


The Band Parent

You Know You are A Band Parent When. . . .

  • You make three more trips than expected to drop off you child with everything they need.
  • You carry spare white gloves, needle and thread, safety pins, black socks and duct tape in your pocketbook.
  • You follow buses around all day on Saturdays
  • You can’t pick your child out of the crowd because they all look alike.
  • You no longer speak of your child as a fourteen-year-old daughter/son, but as a “freshman trumpet, freshman flute,” etc.
  • You prominently display a band calendar in the kitchen, have band dates marked on the calendar in your purse and/or have the Band Hotline Number on your speed dial.
  • You use your oven more for baking goodies for bake sales during home football games or treats, than for sit-down meals.
  • You know that you will be wearing something blue and white every Friday night and on Saturdays.
  • Early is on time and on time is late.
  • You don’t leave home without cushions to sit on, camera and camcorder!
  • You are cheering with other band parents.

 

This is ohhhh so true.  And actually very minimal as this just hits on marching season and doesn’t even touch concert season and contests.  BUT to all you band parents out there, thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to whatever band you support.  If you are not a band parent, but love the band, we welcome you as a fellow booster who supports these amazing kids and their awesome directors and you are more than welcome to attend our Band Booster meetings to be a part of what’s going on with the band!

These Are a Few of My NEW Favorite Things

In case you didn’t know, I am a true music lover.  I love all types of music from just about every genre there is.  I was brought up to have a great appreciation for music in its entirety, not just one specific type.   Thus, I am always on the lookout for new music, artists that are new to me, and new music by old favorites.

For a fleet moment in “reality tv”  history, there were two seasons of what in my opinion was a diamond among rocks show called “Rockstar”  in these two seasons, the first was “Rockstar: INXS” and the second “Rockstar: Supernova”.  A lot of you will remember INXS from the 80’s and their hit “Need You Tonight“.  In 1997, front man Michael Hutchence died, his cause of death argued as to suicide or accidental.  This brought the Australian band to a halt in which they did not perform publicly for about a year.  After performing with different singers off and on, in 2004 made it back to center stage with “Rockstar: INXS”, a reality show that give 15 different singers the chance to battle it out for the opportunity to become the new vocalist for the band.  While there were several amazing singers, my two favorites were Marty Casey, and Suzie McNeil, both of which made it to the final three.

As amazing as Suzie was (is), she was just not right to be the lead singer of INXS, however, as a solo artist, the girl just ROCKS!  Being from Canada, she hasn’t quite hit the main stream here in the US, but I believe that she is well on her way as she has a great range of contemporary and dance style songs.  Her song “Believe” was the theme for this last winter Olympics and is a brilliant, inspirational piece of work.  Two of her awesome dance style hits include “Supergirl” and her latest release “Drama Queen” and both are infectious. (Be sure to click on the different links to her home page and other two videos :D)

My second new favorite thing comes from an old favorite band….well….I can’t say old, because Duran Duran stem from the 80’s and I refuse to believe anything from that era is “old”…..just sayin.   Look up  the synonyms that go with the word “brilliant”…that sums them up.  Of course, when you hear Duran Duran mentioned, you probably think of “Hungry Like the Wolf” or the “Reflex“, but today, I offer you the 2011 Duran Duran and their outstanding new hit “All You Need is Now”.

When I first heard this, my initial thought was, “this is not the Duran Duran I know” until it broke into the chorus and then my brain said , “THAT is Duran Duran”.  If you loved or even just liked them in the 80’s, trust me when I say, you are going to LOVE them now.  They haven’t lost a beat, but have blended that awesome signature sound with a great modern twist.  Without a doubt, they are on my “Go see them in concert if I get the chance” list.

The great thing about music, is that you can like a little from this genre and a little from that genre and it all will transcend the boundaries of your every day life.  When I’m doing anything in which I am listening to my iPod, I always hit the shuffle button and the great thing is, I can start out with Def Leppard, go to Il Divo, to Pink to The Bedlam Bards to Alice Cooper and back to Fleetwood Mac and even The Gummy Bear song.  Keep new music ever present in your life, and then share it with other people.  Music is a joy that just….well, it just makes you smile and feel good.  It does me anyway. 😉

Music That Soothes the Savage Beast

Each of us has a beast within us.  One that sometimes desires to on a rampage and take out everything in its path.  Lately, the beast within me has be raging, and at times it is so hard to keep it in check and muzzled.  I have found that for me, the best way to keep that beast at bay and to soothe it is with music.  Now, depending on what has transpired throughout the day sometimes determines the type of music that the beast prefers.  However, there is one group that the beast will calm down to and even sit back and smile.

I have commented a lot on Facebook and posted video links about the band Il Divo.  This band is the soothing balm for the beast no matter when, no matter what.  I can listen to a song by these amazing men and the beast will smile.  Now, while I love the band itself, I have to say that it is tenor vocalist Urs Buhler’s voice that is the true tranquilizer dart.  Every time I hear that voice, the beast is down for the count.

While you might think that I am insane, stop and evaluate yourself and what kind of music you tend to listen to when you are upset.  Think about the change that takes place within yourself as that music takes effect.  In the bible it tells the story of David and Saul.  When Saul was troubled in his spirit, he would have David come play his harp and it would bring him peace.  There is so much power in music.  It inspires us, it soothes the beast, it reminds us of the one we loved, or of the heartbreak of love lost.  Music marks some of the most important moments in our lives.  Graduation, weddings, funerals…..music is such a part of our everyday lives.  Where would we be without it?  How out of control could that beast within become without the power of music to soothe it?

The first video that I have included is my all time favorite Il Divo song.  There is such power in this piece.  Urs is the opening vocals of the song.  I invite you to listen to these and let the music wash over your raging beast, and let it be soothed.  Enjoy!!

Poisoning Pigeons in the Park

This morning I decided to do something completely random and hit the shuffle button on my iPod and picked the first song to come up to write about.  Out of the numerous songs, ranging from just about every genre there is, the one the showed up was “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” by Tom Lehrer.  In all honesty, I was so NOT expecting that song to be the one to be the first one out the box.  No matter though, because I love this song, giggle every time I hear it, and it brings back some great memories of Dr. Demento.

As I am a huge Dr. D fan, I have heard so many different crazy and wacky songs in my day, but this has to be one of my favorites.  Not only is it funny, there is great piano playing and it is very lyrical.  All the humor aside, Tom Lehrer proves the point that music and academics go hand in hand.  When you hear a song like this, you wouldn’t think it’s author to be a mathematician as well as a composer.  This is a man who earned his AB mathematics degree from Harvard at the age of 19, and received his MA degree the next year.  As a musician, he is an early version of Weird Al, specializing in the art of parody of popular songs.

For more information about Tom Lehrer, check out this link to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Lehrer.  It provides some interesting information about this amazing satirical, mathematical, musician.

Tired of the Back Burner

I find it only safe to warn you, I have put on my “angry eyes” to write this post.  I am climbing up onto the soapbox and am going to get a few thoughts out of my head and translated to paper…or computer in this case.  Please keep in mind as you read this, these are my personal feelings and thoughts about this topic and not that of the band or its director.  I’m not saying they do or don’t agree with me, I’m just making it clear ahead of time, this is all coming from ME and no one else.  Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, and if you haven’t hit the back button, let us proceed to the rant, shall we.

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE football.  I mean, I am a huge Steelers fan unquestionably, and because of this, I may have some of you call me a hypocrite, and that’s fine.  If you feel that way, it’s your right to.  And while I understand that NFL players stem from our colleges, thus from our high schools, please keep what I am saying in perspective and that everything I am talking about is on a primary (in this case 5-12) level.

When did we become a society that is all about modern day gladiators and so little about culture?  We live in the Coliseum of a modern day Rome cheering on our favorite gladiators and we care little for what the Michelangelos, Leonardos, Mozarts and Beethovens have to offer us.  When did sports start defining our culture?

I am by no means and anti-sports person.  Like I said, I’m a HUGE Steelers fan, HOWEVER, I find it disturbing that on the educational level we place so much importance on sports and so little on our arts programs.  Now, I’m going to make this down right personal, and if I offend any Hennessey football players or parents, I ask you to try to look at this from the flip side.  I am very proud of our football team for taking state for the first time ever, BUT how many more times are we going to honor them?  My youngest son just went to solo contest and got a superior rating, pluses in ALL AREAS of his solo and ALL positive comments from the judges.  Will he be recognized by anyone other than his director, his class mates and his parents?  Doubtful, as I heard a rumor that for the awards assembly THE ARTS AWARDS ARE BEING CUT DO TO TIME.  Now, you tell me WHY is not only his 1 rating, but every student who got a 1, which was 12 total, WHY ARE THESE STUDENTS NOT RECOGNIZED LIKE THE SPORTS STUDENTS ARE??   Why is it when budget cuts are mentioned, you NEVER hear about ANY of the sports organizations in that conversation.  My personal though is, if you’re gonna cut programs funding…….make it an even cut across the board.  Don’t just take from some students …. students who are working towards scholarships in band or music.  If you’re going to take money from one, take some from all.

We need to stop sending our kids the message of “If you’re not into sports, you’re nobody.”  Please, don’t try to deny that this mindset doesn’t exist.  It was there when I was in school, and I heard it everyday.  It is there today, and I have heard it from my own child, wondering why.  My kids are “band nerds” and proud of it.  They are part of an amazing group that is teaching them so much more than just “band”.  They are learning skills they need for life.

I was thinking about what we see on TV…and if you think about it, there are so many music related shows out there, and we’re all drawn to them.  “American Idol”, “Glee”,  “The Sing Off“, “The Jonas Brothers”, “Hannah Montana”, “Lemonade Mouth” and so on.  When you get in your car, what do you listen to?  I’ll bet some form of music.  Kids are excited about music!  They want to be a part.  Check out this link for some percentages http://www.wannaplaymusic.com/harris-poll-2010/back-school-survey-shows-%E2%80%98glee%E2%80%99-%E2%80%98camp-rock-2%E2%80%99-fuel-kids%E2%80%99-desire-learn-and-make-musi

We should be fighting to keep our music programs strong.  We should be letting it be known from our school boards, to our state board, to the federal level that it is so important that we keep our arts programs in our schools.  For some of our students it so much more than an extra curricular activity, it’s the very air they breathe.  Just come meet some of our band students, and you’ll see what I mean.  Music …..music is life.