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I can’t tell you how much I appreciate a National Day of Thanksgiving.

Yes, I love the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the green bean casserole, and that delicious sweet potato casserole with the pecan and buttered brown sugar crust my beautiful bride makes.

But, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the part of the day that allows me to sit back and truly self-evaluate.

I am a dreamer.

I think about what can be possible in the future. I think about the amazing performances my band will have in the future. The invitations they will receive. I see them on the stage of that concert hall performing for an excited audience.

I’m a fixer.

I see a lot of the problems we face. I see some of the challenges that lie ahead. I hear where my band currently is and I begin to formulate plans to make it better. I work on strategies to develop better intonation, stronger sight-reading skills, greater rhythmic accuracy. I see broken and try to fix it.

I’m a builder.

I am constantly moving to the next step, the next thing on the to-do list, that thing I know I can make better. I see a better future and I strive to build that future.

These characteristics (dreamer, fixer, builder) are good characteristics and they are necessary for developing strong young musicians. However, these are forward thinking character traits and I often find myself so focused on ‘what-is-to-come’ that I need to take a step back and look at the ‘here-and-now.’

And that is why I love a National Day of Thanksgiving. Each year we take this time to reflect on the previous year and give thanks for all we have. When I step back and look at where we were last Thanksgiving and where we are this Thanksgiving, there is so much to be thankful for.

I am so thankful for the outdoor concert in the Spring when students made music together for the first time in over a year. I loved the excitement of the students seeing each other, in-person for the first time since going virtual the year before. I loved the electricity in the air as the students played their first notes. I loved seeing the pride in the eyes of the parents who brought lawn chairs to watch their children do something they love.

I am grateful for the marching season I didn’t think we would have. I loved working with students to tell a story on the marching field for the first time in two years. I love the passion the students brought to each rehearsal, their continuing effort to grow each rehearsal and each performance. I’m thankful for all of the parents who gave their time and energy to make the season a success.

I am thankful for our Fall Concert a few weeks ago when students performed in their auditorium for the first time for a live audience since the winter of 2019! I loved seeing them walk proudly onto the stage in concert attire and give an amazing performance that stirred the hearts of the audience. I am thankful for the audience we had - the tired and stressed parents, teachers, administrators who chose to spend an evening with us and celebrate how far we have come over the past year.

As I take today to reflect on the past year, I see how much God has blessed me on this journey with my band. I thank Him for the joys, I celebrate the victories, and I pray for the heartaches.

Do I dream of brighter days in the future?

Do I see things I need to fix?

Do I see areas we can build something stronger?

Most definitely.

But, today. I am THANKFUL for where we are and how far we have come.

What are you thankful for on this National Day of Thanksgiving?


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