I'm very non-PC when it comes to "regionalism" (I don't care much about what happens in the 'burbs). But I wanted to offer congratulations to the Lakota West High School Marching Band (in West Chester) for its appearance and performance in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade. For those who missed it, the band was covered on both ABC and NBC. (They were on camera for much longer on ABC; NBC's marching band coverage was terrible overall.) They were the second high school marching band in the parade line-up; the first, a group from North Carolina, didn't seem to get nearly as much camera time, at least on ABC.
I was a band geek growing up (I was even the drum major of my high school band*), so I appreciate what the trip meant for these young adults (as well as the band's staff and the band parents). An invitation to the Tournament of Roses Parade is pretty much the equivalent of a college basketball team making it to the Final Four. It's a huge honor that is the culmination of more hard work than most people realize.
For those of who weren't involved in band growing up, here are some things you should know. First the members of a band like Lakota West spend an amazing amount of time practicing and drilling. They probably attend rehearsals daily after school (and spent one or two weeks over the summer at band camp). In addition to that, they all spend time at home practicing on their own. And this is in addition to the other demands on the time of high school students (which today seem much more rigorous than when I graduated 15 years ago).
And when the band manages to get good enough to be invited to a national event, their school inevitably rewards them with another task: fundraising. My parents were perennial pariahs at their workplaces; their colleagues knew that every fall, they'd be presented with another opportunity to buy whatever goods (usually candy, "hoagies," or candles) the music program was forced to hawk that year.
So: kudos, Lakota West. Thanks for your hard work.
* For those who followed the link to my alma mater, you'll see why it was inevitable that I become a criminal defense attorney: note the similarity in physical appearance between my high school and the Justice Center (I think the HCJC actually has more windows!).