Leadership in the CHS Band Program
When asked what defines the group of 32 senior band students to band director Ken Young his quick response is, “Within the band program, I would say this is the most talented group I have ever worked with. We have some extremely outstanding musicians. They have pushed the band in the last two years into being the best bands we’ve had in decades, if not longer. They have had unprecedented success competitively. This group has pushed the other students, younger and older, to be better musicians.”
“This group has received countless superior ratings at solo and ensemble contest, competitive success in concert band with superior ratings in performance and sight reading, and unbelievable success when it comes to marching band,” Young continued. “During their sophomore year this group was able to travel to perform in the Hollywood Christmas Parade which was broadcast on television. Last year the band won a sweepstakes award, meaning they received superior ratings in marching band, concert band, and sight reading. This year the band won the grand championship at the marching competition in Pecos, Texas. The seniors have at least won in their class at that competition every year they have been in school, including the color guard winning the Outstanding Color Guard award each year. The color guard won 1st place in their West Texas competition last year, based greatly on the success of this group that were juniors last year. They have a lot of great leadership.”
“This year’s leadership team is the strongest we have had,” Young shared. “The students in that leadership team have embraced every opportunity to learn to be stronger leaders. They have been taught from their freshman year to watch and learn from what they see in the program so that when their leadership opportunity came along they could be the best they can be.”
“What I think makes this senior class different is that these kids have a good understanding of what it takes to become good at what they do,” band director Robert Galindo added. “They had more responsibilities put on them, and they understand that those responsibilities dictate how our group performs throughout the year. They took on challenges and they performed their leadership roles greatly. They really had empathy for what the other students were going through and would help them out. They not only showed them how to become successful, but they also helped them out personally. I would see some of these seniors talking to the other students and not only helping them out in band but in their personal lives trying to help them become successful in their high school careers not only in band but in other subjects as well.”
“The leadership is the most important thing,” Galindo continued. “Without strong leadership you can’t have an organization that can succeed and win accolades. It’s just impossible. If you don’t have good leadership at the top there is no ladder to go up. You’ll just stay stagnant because without leadership you don’t have anybody pushing you telling you, ‘We can be better. We can do this. We can get the job done.’ Without leadership that doesn’t happen, and you just stay at the status quo.”
The expectation of great leadership from the band directors carried through to their seniors in their years in band, and the students shared how it has prepared them for life beyond high school.
“Band definitely gave me leadership skills,” said senior band student Edward Byers. “I really do appreciate all of the leadership opportunities I was given in high school. I think that will really help in the workplace. It already has helped in the workplace that I am at right now. Being able to help people find something to do and find a way to be productive that is going to help the entire group has been very helpful for me. That is what I appreciate the most.”
“Band has given me a determination to work to make things as perfect as possible,” senior band student Corie Swager shared. “In music you can never play anything perfectly. There is always something that could be better, and that is something that our directors have always tried to preach to us. Yes, you should be doing that in music, but you should also be doing that in your life no matter what you’re doing. You always strive to be better.”
Senior band student Garrett Carrasco also shared saying, “I would say band has given me a lot of job-related skills and leadership skills. As drum major I was kind of in charge of the band. This often meant that we would assist in the leading of rehearsals, and often times at pep rallies we were just in charge. It also gave me job skills because we were always given call times for when we had to be there and be ready to perform. We always had this saying: To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is fatal. This really got us into the habit of meeting deadlines and always making sure we were on time.”
“Band teaches a lot of life skills,” senior band student Matthew Cisneros agreed. “Get to places on time. The basics you need to know. The band directors never expect mediocrity. They always push us to our limit, and that is an amazing thing.”
The transformative leadership opportunities that these band students have experienced will resound throughout their lives as they go out into the world. Band has been a blessing for them, and now they are prepared to go out and be blessings to others. Congratulations to the band students of the class of 2020! You have left an impact on your band program that will continue for years to come.