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University of Wisconsin Marching Band

May 30, 2017

Such fun!

Less than two weeks ago I was sitting out back of the Maine Arts Commission (MAC) building eating lunch with two colleagues and I heard the sound of instruments coming from the direction of the State House. I was curious so I headed over and out of the front of the building ran the MAC director, Julie Richard. She recognized the music of the University of Wisconsin, Oh! Wisconsin, since she went to school there and had played in the marching band and was very familiar with the arrangement.

Turns out that there were seven members of the marching band on a two-week road trip and they were playing at stops along the way. It was especially sweet for Julie since she was the first flugelhorn player at the University of Wisconsin. They asked dozens of questions about her experiences and we asked dozens of questions about their pathways.

They were headed to Bar Harbor to spend a few days in Acadia National Park to hike and explore. We made a few suggestions of places to go (and play). I suggested that if they needed a place to camp on their way south to send a text or call.

Sure enough, four days later I got a text and they were looking for suggestions on what to do in the mid-coast. I sent them a couple of lists and invited them for supper and to camp on the lawn. In the meantime, I emailed some friends and invited them for a pot luck and performance on the lawn. It turned out to be a beautiful evening and with friends and neighbors we enjoyed each others company enormously. It was wonderful to see the students with the neighbor children sharing their instruments and even including some instruction.

Five of the seven are engineer majors and auditioned for the band of 300+ because of the opportunity to be part of the community. We discussed everything from living on campus to courses, to why they chose their major, to opportunities to families, to what connection music had to the broader question about learning, and on and on. Who knows, maybe one (or more) will change their minds and go into teaching – they are naturals!

It was clear that they hadn’t eaten real well on the trip so we were glad to fill them with bar-be-cue chicken, hamburgers, salads and ice cream with Maine strawberries for dessert. The next morning we had a full breakfast including waffles with Maine syrup and blueberry sauce, yogurt and milk from our friends’ cows. We sent them on the road with lunch and waved so long as they headed down the road.

Needless to say we had great fun! I was reminded of the importance of kindness and reaching out beyond myself. They were the NICEST group of college students I’ve met in some time. I learned so much and was grateful for the opportunity to connect with seven wonderful young people! And, couldn’t help but know that the future is in good hands!

For me the moral of the story: don’t let a moment go by that I don’t go running when I hear music playing in the distance! Or to echo a Malawian saying: Likaomba Othelatu. Whenever you have the chance – use it – don’t let it go.

See a video of them playing on the lawn by CLICKING HERE.

6 comments

  1. Wonderful blog, Argy! Sounds like you all had a fabulous adventure. Great lesson in there for all of sudden!!


  2. Should read: a great adventure for all of us!!


  3. Hellos to Julie!
    Was lovely to read this! I was serenaded by a group at our annual Bratfest just this weekend here in Madison. I played under Mike Leckrone myself, and he is still going strong. Thanks for sharing my old home DownEast with those midwesterners.
    Deb Gilpin


  4. Thanks for your comment Deborah! Bratfest – now that sounds interesting! Best, Argy


  5. Great title for the post – perhaps I should consult with you before posting Gay! ~Argy


  6. Absolutely Gay! Got a live more in the “all of a a sudden” moment. We never know when something fun will be knocking at our door! Thanks for your comment Gay – Argy



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