In an earlier blog, we introduced you to the Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Panthers. In some ways, they are just like any other marching band.
I am an unapologetic Buckeye, born and raised in Ohio — and when I bleed, I bleed scarlet and grey. So, like thousands of other fans across the country, on January 1, 2010, I was watching the Rose Parade taking place in Pasadena, California in anticipation of the Rose Bowl, where the Ohio State University “Bucks” would soon be the champions.
Music exists within us all. You don’t have to play cello in the symphony, sing tenor in the choir, or shred a mean guitar in a metal band in order to find it.
Looking back on my childhood I realize how, in some form or fashion, music has always been an integral part of my life. As things ramp up for the marching band season, I began thinking about how people get involved in the world of marching, so I asked a few Pepper colleagues how they got involved in marching band.
Music is a natural accompaniment to enjoying the summer’s bounty of good food, good times and patriotic celebrations. Watch how some New England band members expressed their patriotism as they offered their community a musical wish for a happy Independence Day.
There has been much research done on the cognitive benefits of musical activity during childhood; a recent study conducted by the University of Kansas analyzes whether or not these benefits carry over into adulthood. While more research is needed, the findings thus far are quite fascinating.
Have you ever attended a musical or choral event and thought, “Wow, I wish I could do that”? Perhaps you felt so inspired after witnessing a performance and for a split second you thought, “I’m going to march right up on stage and join in on the fun!”
In honor of Music in Our Schools Month, and to continue our efforts to raise awareness of the importance of music education, Pepper would like to share this video.
I know what you’re thinking. How can one scientifically analyze a concept that, by its very nature, is capricious and unpredictable? Dr. Charles Limb, a faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, has done a fascinating study on the activity of the brain when engaged in a musical activity.
The homecoming celebration for Wheeling High School in Wheeling, Illinois had a special event attached this year. As part of the festivities, invitations were issued to all previous members of the bands throughout the years — not an easy task considering all the band students that attended Wheeling High School since 1964! Current director Brian Logan extended a special invitation to the former band director, Dean R. DePoy, to attend and conduct the national anthem at the evening’s festivities. Mr. DePoy was the first director of bands when the school opened in 1964 and was the driving force in establishing a highly respected and distinguished band program that exists there to this day.
As a graduate of Wheeling High School, I was shocked and surprised when one day in early autumn I received an email from a fellow student from that era letting me know about the plans for the event. I had not been back to my alma mater in years and was surprised anyone from there could still find me (I graduated a LONG time ago). As a student I was a member of the band program under Mr. DePoy and looked forward to seeing him and my fellow band members again.
As it turned out the attendance was exceptional and the warm reception from the current band members far exceeded anything I expected. It was extremely gratifying and heartwarming to see fellow band members that I hadn’t seen since high school — but the high point of the evening was getting to visit with Mr. DePoy after all these years. All of us, his former students, had the same first impression: “He hasn’t aged a bit!” Though many of my classmates seemed to have aged very little, it was remarkable at how unchanged he looked. Several of us commented that he looked better than most of his former students who were much younger than him! Watching him conduct the national anthem instantly brought back memories of many performances we had under his baton, and how we as band members grew together and formed strong bonds of friendship that have lasted throughout the years.
It was an event that I won’t soon forget, and on behalf of all of the band alumni I want to thank Brian Logan, director, and all the members of the Wheeling High School Band for their thoughtfulness and efforts in hosting this event. I hope sharing this story may encourage other schools to consider making this part of their homecoming activities.
There is so much joy generated when you put together people that bonded through their many music experiences. Memories and friendship abound, just as all us “Wildcats” experienced on that cool, pleasant fall evening.