Author: Marsh Mourdock

Build It: They Will Come

This is the last blog in the series “Breaking the Bundle! – A Guide to Organizing a Booster Organization”

This is it—the plan to break the bundle that burdens your band director! Let your director get back to the work of teaching music to your students, rather than stressing about the management of details that someone without a music degree can complete.

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Don’t Reinvent – Keep Records!

A continuation in the series Breaking the Bundle! – A Guide to Organizing a Booster Organization

Wasted hours…Oh, how I hate to think of the hours that are squandered by booster team coordinators and their team members as they assume their new post. Aspiring to surpass the success of the previous team, they often start by starting over.

As I looked back over the years watching newly formed teams, I saw teams who spent hours, literally days, in a needless, inefficient struggle to improve what already worked. In almost all cases, the team after expending hours of time and incessant energy would duplicate the basic method used by the previous team. After all of this effort, the team found themselves discouraged and fatigued because they developed a matching basic method that had been created by others before them….effort and time wasted that could have been spent in upgrading this basic pattern to more commendable goals.

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It Takes All Kinds: A Music Booster Group’s Secret to Success

A continuation of the series Breaking the Bundle! A Guide to Organizing a Booster Organization.

Why do some teams (formerly called committees) have more success than others? Why do some teams with many creative people involved not get off the ground? Why do some teams with many superior workers not get off the ground? Why do some teams with many prospective leaders not get off the ground? What regulates the success of a team? A continuation of the series Breaking the Bundle! A Guide to Organizing a Booster Organization.

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Committee vs Team

A continuation of the series Breaking the Bundle! A Guide to Organizing a Booster Organization

Order is the central premise of organizing the entire parents group. Once that basic board with its officers and members at large are decided upon, it is then time to organize the remaining parents into teams, or what used to be referred to as committees.

You might ask, why did you say teams and not committees?

Thank you for asking. I have an answer.

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Wind Symphony Like Unto Family

“It’s a great honor to be a part of one of the best bands in Georgia. The Wind Symphony is our home and our family.” These are the thoughts of two students, Taylor Blanchard and Abraham Fernandez, from the North Cobb High School Wind Symphony of Kennesaw, Georgia.

This sixty eight member group was selected to perform at the 2012 Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference in Savannah, Georgia. This is not their only accomplishment…they have received superior ratings for the past 15 years, performing level VI literature at the District 12 Large Group Performance Evaluation…they have performed at the Bands of America Regional concert festival, the San Antonio Heritage festival, the St. Louis Heritage Festival, the 2006 GMEA In-Service Conference, the 2007 Columbus State University “Honor Band of Georgia” clinic and 2009 University of Georgia Janfest Clinic. This top quality group is under the direction of Mr. Greg Williams and Mr. Scott Pannell.

North Cobb

I like the choice of the words “home” and “family” used by Taylor and Abraham to describe their feelings about being a part of the North Cobb Wind Symphony. What greater compliment can a program receive than to be compared to home and family? These two words conjure up those warm and fuzzy feelings within me…a safe haven…a place of encouragement…a place of growth…a place of learning…a place of opportunity…a place of belonging. I love knowing that the youth in our county are finding these upbeat traits in the music programs.

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Historical Gleanings From A Band Trip

My family has had the awe-inspiring good fortune to become acquainted with and to cultivate a tender and caring friendship with a man by the name of Mr. Durward Swanson. Mr. Swanson is no ordinary man. He is a survivor of the Pearl Harbor Attack, December 7, 1941. A day that President Roosevelt said “will live in infamy”.

Our first encounters with Mr. Swanson were in 2006. He was “adopted” by the Alan C. Pope High School Band to accompany them to the Waikiki Holiday Parade in Honolulu, Hawaii commemorating the attack on Pearl Harbor. He visited the school several times to talk with the band students conveying to them his experiences as a military policeman on motor cycle patrol at Hickam Field, located next to Pearl Harbor. He shared the following with them about his activities on that infamous day:

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There is Marching Band after High School

Oh, my gosh! Oh, my goodness! I had no idea!! Parents and students, do you have any idea how much fun marching band is at a large university? I had my first experience with a Pac 12 marching band two weekends ago! I am still recuperating!

Our youngest daughter is in her second year at the University of Utah with the “Pride of Utah” marching band. I did not get to see a performance last year… perhaps it was the 1600 mile distance from Atlanta to Salt Lake City…I don’t know…but now that I have, I want to be at every home game to join in the merriment. Do you know what this day with a marching band did for a band mom who is in her second year of withdrawal?

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The Final Show OR Love of Music and Family

Having had two daughters in the band, I had become used to the band concept—I had even grown to like it! It was kind of startling to have daughter number three, Amy, come home from the sixth grade “Finding Your Instrument” event telling me that she wanted to be in the orchestra. She said, “I absolutely love the cello, please Mom, please?” The tone of the voice, the expression on the face, and the plea of please Mom, please convinced me that this would be her instrument; there was no use chatting about her decision.

Orchestra–It would be for her!

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Traveling Can Be Fun

band trip bw

I remember in 1999 organizing a trip to London, England for 200 students plus staff and chaperones. It was particularly challenging….passports were needed…there was the Y2K scare…there were terrorist threats…there was talk of cancelling the trip…All of these complicated the planning of this trip.

I had nightmares about the flights. The band was going to be on four different flights with plane changes in various cities. In every dream, Mr. Gribble, the director, would be in England with two of the flights, and I would be in Hawaii with the other two. Every time, the conversation was the same, “Marsha, you need to get those students to London immediately.” My reply was always, “Yes Sir, I will try.” Thank goodness, when we finally made the trip, all flights ended in London and so did the nightmares!

Where in the world is your band going this year? Be it just down the road or across the continent, moving a band around can be challenging and traumatic or it can be trouble-free and relaxed. Planning and communication are key to fun and safe travel. Here are some checkpoints for travel.

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