Archive for August, 2016

Kindness and Generosity Wrapped in Music

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

Bluecoats 1I have spent the last 3 days at the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis and I have returned home exhausted and yet inspired.  While there, I said hello to countless smiling people, from "celebrities" in the activity to average fans.  I shook many hands, took lots of pictures, shot videos on my phone, posted to social media, saw life-long friends, and recorded many, many conversations which we'll turn into podcast releases.  

Through all of this, I find myself inspired and full of hope.

Dan Acheson with Tim

The main takeaway from the entire experience is that the people I met were incredibly kind and generous.  Of course, I had already said this about all of the guests we’ve talked to on the podcast, now in the mid-500’s in releases!  Everyone has always been willing to talk and share and help.  But I heard this from others this week, and saw this in action, in person.

Thrower and RarickMeeting so many of our podcast guests in person highlighted this generosity and kindness in a way I didn’t expect.  Many designers and instructors, at the height of their season, would stop and say hello, perhaps record a short interview, and always thank me for what the podcast is trying to do.  Hearing that “celebrities” were listening to podcasts was gratifying and astounding.

CaitlinTalking to marchers was perhaps most powerful.  It’s so easy while sitting in the stands to get angry or have strong opinions, but in this day and age it’s also easy to broadcast those negative ideas to the world with the click of a button.  But I challenge ANYONE to spend one minute talking to an actual marcher, standing in the lot after their performance, and be able to post a single callous remark.  We so easily forget that these are kids and they are so full of love for the activity and so excited for the opportunity that DCI has given them!

I think about talking to The Academy guard captain, in full make-up and uniform after her show, and experiencing the thrill of the way our community has embraced their show!  Or talking to drum majors who are so proud they can hardly contain it.  One expects the buttons to fly off their uniforms.

Regiment MomI also had podcast conversations with many of the unsung heroes of drum corps, from cooks to seamstresses to souvie volunteers.  I'll never forget talking with Barb, the Phantom Regiment Corps Mom, and both of us with tears in our eyes as she shared the story of the corps playing "Elsa's" for her and her husband in honor of her 45th wedding anniversary.

Perhaps most memorable, I had the privilege of being on the field Saturday night after the Bluecoats won their championship, and had the opportunity to talk to Doug Thrower and Tom Rarick and Jon Vanderkolff and thank them in person for the gift they gave us this season with that show.  But far beyond this was standing just behind the corps staff as the corps did their final encore performance.  In front of me was the Bluecoats family and staff, so proud, so excited, and struggling knowing they had to, as Doug Thrower said, “Let the show go forever” after such a season.  Behind me were fans so excited and so in love with a show and an activity that I wondered how they could contain themselves, cheering for every note, every slide down a prop, and for every wink from a soloist.

Bluecoats Encore

But I will never forget, as long as I live, the gigantic smiles on the faces of the performers as they performed that last show.  So in love with music and marching and performing and their friends and their corps!  It was all about hugging and smiling and loving and being thankful.  I dare anyone to grouse meanly about a designer’s show choice in the face of such love.

So thank you to DCI for allowing me to be a part of this experience.  We live in a time when our leaders can be mean and thoughtless for their own gain, and some of our fellow citizens forget themselves and follow that lead.  But after three days surrounded by such generosity and kindness…and excellence, I am inspired and reminded of really WHY we all do all of this.