My husband and I were very active in the Sprayberry Band Parents Association from 1982-90. All three of our children were in the band during those years. We served as treasurers, co-presidents, and chaperones during that time frame.
Dan Martin was the band director and while sometimes a hard taskmaster, he was loved and respected by all the students and parents.
We learned that a high school marching band was a wonderful opportunity for students to learn time management skills, leadership skills and to know what it means to be part of a team.
You cannot march and play music if everyone is not on the same page (or perhaps foot). You cannot achieve greatness if you do not support each other in all phases of the marching band experience.
Mutual respect and cooperation are essential throughout the ranks of a marching band and this includes the band parent organization. The parents are there to assist the band director and the students. The opportunities are varied and wonderful. It is a major investment in time and commitment for all involved with the high school marching band experience.
So, it was with great dismay that I read the front page article in the MDJ on Wednesday. The article discussed in a public forum band parent and student dissatisfaction with a newly hired band director. The article indicated that the parents and students felt they were qualified to select a new band director and complained of vague, non-specific problems with Ginny Markham including a “lack of experience to take on such a prestigious ensemble.” They hinted at nepotism in the hiring process.
My objections to this article are numerous, but I will limit them to:
• Students and parents are never a part of the hiring process for any teacher. Do they also think they should have input on hiring science, math, and foreign language teachers?
• Band parents are there to support the band director, not hinder Ms. Markham’s first-year attempts to fill the shoes of an iconic band director. The current behavior of some band parents is undermining and disrespectful. The MDJ should not have added fuel to their fire by printing this article on the front page and giving it more attention than it deserves.
• Band parents should set an example for their children / students and not undermine a teacher in any way, especially in a public forum with such vague complaints.
• We buy our Christmas tree every year from the Lassiter Band Parent association tree lot. This year, the student who helped us with our purchase this year, told me that the band had just won a regional championship at a recent competition. That fact seems to support the talent and qualifications of Ms. Markham.
In conclusion, I wish Ms. Markham well in her endeavor with the Lassiter Band. I fear the school and the band may lose a fine instructor due to the situation created by an organization that seems to be a bit too full of itself to fulfill any future greatness as human beings. There is more to be learned here and it goes beyond winning trophies.