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February 21, 2005

UPDATE: I would like everyone to know that it is official now, I am the drum writer and coach for the Merrill Marching Band. It's been wonderful being with DCE and will never forget it.

I won't lie, everyday I think about the DCE Band, and most importantly my drumline. I feel really sad as to what had happened, but I know there is nothing I can do about it. I can only hope that the kids are able to pass down some things that I have tought them thorouhout the years.

Finally, I want to say that this will be the last update for this webpage. You never know, this page may be updated if ever in the future the band goes back to competitive marching and I'm around to be with them.

To everyone, it's been wonderful, I'll miss ya'll for sure. Don't worry, my music hasn't died with this, in fact it will always live in everyone that has gotten to know it, and it will relive itself in a new line. Please cheer them on, for this is a new chapter in the book of Wisconsin drumlines.

Feel the Love.

Dave

December 19, 2004:

Words are hard to express my overall feeling right now. I'm not going to go into the nitty gritty detail as it would take too long to write. But I want to share my overall thoughts.

On December 15 2004; our competitive aspect of the band and drumline came to a halt. This decision was not made by me nor did I have any input, even an idea, that this decision was going to be made. I was notified of the decision only about a half hour before the members were told. Even then, from what I'm told, rumors got out in the school before I even knew.

The marching program is not at a total loss though, just a move from corps style marching to show band marching.

With this program, a much reduced schedule will be in place. This brings benefits and problems to the table.

Benefits: would be less time to worry about the band program in general. Will not take up as much time in our busy lives.

Problems: would be drastically easier music. With the percussion section already in an advanced level of education, this move will not provide any musical challenges that will push them to become better players or further their overall music education. Also, with the reduced schedule, time to work on the basics will be next to none; an important foundation of how we get to where we are today.

I could really go on and just type away about all the differences, but this would be a waste of time on my part; noting the band booster meeting where people's opinions did not matter in the decision.

The truth is this; as a percussion instructor/writer, there is no possible way in the amount of time that we have, and the musical choices that will be brought to the table, the amount of music brought to the table; there is no way to provide a learning experience that is equal to what we have had in the past. This is how I feel in reguards to the percussion section.

The band will somewhat benefit, maybe, from this change. But, and this is a big but, if you look at the this in the long term forecast, and not the short term; you will find that the highest level of musicianship that is possible with this change falls very short of what was possible with the competitive marching.

This opinion is not shared by any of the decision makers. But I will explain my view, because this is the most important point I have on the subject.

The percussion section excelled because of a few reasons:

1. Basics were a primary foundation to our overall achievement in the program.

2. Exposure to "great musical groups" (drum corps) made it possible for the musicians to see just where they can go and what we do is truly all about.

3. A long period of time to work on the same thing provides more opportunities to explore things otherwise to be left out in short period time frame.

Let me sum this up...

Spending 4 months on the same music gave us time to work on basics. It allowed the ability to write a show that is harder and more advanced than any other short term show could provide. This larger time frame gave us the chance to not just play the music; but to work on the little things that we would not have time to work on and truly make music.

When it came down to the end, I was able to teach not only the notes, but what each note meant, what the composer and arranger meant. Gave us time to read between the bars and really become one with the music, not just play it.

I was able the achieve all of these goals with a marching program and the 4 months of preperation.

In the 4 months, other staff was not able to teach the band these fundamentals.

Let me ask you, why is it that a non-certified person like myself can create the right product and a certified teacher in the same amount of time can not?

If you look at it, the real answer is that it's not the program, music, or timeline that is the problem; the real problem are the people motivating the students and teaching them.

I'm not placing blame on one individual, but it is clear that when it all boils down, it is all on the teacher, not the cirriculum.

With this change, I have needed to evaluate my envolvement with the Everest Drumline and Band.

It is clear, that with the reduced practice schedule, the type of music that is easier in nature, and what will be the lack of true fundamentals which is essential; my time with the line would only produce the maximum learning in a short time frame. I want to note that this is far short of what would be obtainable with the progam we had in place.

My talents as a writer and instructor would be go to waste because I have so much more I can offer to the students.

With this known, I would think that my time would better benefit somewhere else where I would not be so restricted in what can be taught.

This is not an official saying goodbye, or decision, but just the fact that I may move away from DCE because my time is best spent somewhere else.

There is so much more I could write, but I'd rather be rid of this issue.

To my students:

I had faught as hard as I could for you and did not give up. You did everything right and nothing wrong. You did what others could not achieve. It saddens me that you will in turn punished for being right, and all of you hard work. Just remember all that was taught and pass it on to everyone behind you. You will always be my second family, and I really do love each and every one of you.

I don't know what the future holds yet, but I'll let everyone know as soon as I do.

With Love,

Dave