I still remember the first time I met Mr. Schroeder. My family had just moved from Hawaii to California after my freshman year and the idea of starting over in a new school, in a new state scared the heck out of me. I went into the bandroom and Schroeder (we often dropped the "Mr.") looked at me and said, "Who are you?"
He did not look like any other band director I had previously. He did not have a short sleeve dress shirt. Wasn't wearing any glasses. No white socks with his dark slacks. (Okay, that was a joke.) In fact, he was probably wearing sweatpants and some type of outdoor-themed t-shirt. This couldn't be the band, right?
Well it was, and so started a journey that has impacted me to this day. At the end of my sophomore year, I decided to try out to become the drum major. I didn't think I'd get it, since there were some great people trying out, who were far more talented than me; but I thought it would be a good experience and prepare me for trying out again the following year. Against all the odds, Mr. Schroeder must have seen something in me as he chose me to become the drum major of the band.
There was one moment that I'll always remember. It was at band camp (no jokes, please) and I had just finished giving the first of many, many speeches to the whole group. I don't remember what I said now; all I remember is that the room was lit by the glow of over a hundred candles and by the time I finished speaking, I was moved to tears by the moment-by what was happening in that lodge room in the mountains. It looked like some of the group was moved by the moment too.
After my speech, Schroeder pulled me to another room, away from the main group. He looked at me and said, "You helped create a moment that they'll remember." His words always stuck with me. Up to that point, I was really excited about being the drum major because I would get to wear the coolest uniform, march in front of the band and conduct the band. In short, I was excited because of what I would get to do.
While I was still excited about that stuff (there is something about conducting a band that is immensely satisfying), how I viewed my role shifted, with his words. It wasn't just going to be about me...it was going to be about everyone. I believed in the band with everything I had and I was so excited to be a part of it. I knew, just knew that if we just did our best that we could accomplish great things. So during my two years as drum major, I made it my mission to try and get everyone else to believe in each other and in themselves as well.
Today, not much has changed. While I no longer play the clarinet and can't fit in my old band uniform, I still look for opportunities to speak to people. I still look for opportunities to create moments. I still long to help people believe in themselves and in their dreams.
And it all started because someone first believed in me. Thanks Mr. Schroeder!
I ask you, is there someone that needs to know that you believe in him/her? Now is a great time to let him/her know.