Unexpected Opportunities



When I first signed up for a music class in middle school, I chose choir. I have no idea what caused me to pick that, and as soon as I walked into the class, I just had a feeling it wasn’t right. Two weeks later I was signed up for band and was carrying a clarinet case through the halls – band geek from the beginning. As I moved around to different schools, I always stayed in band. It was my constant as I tried to make new friends and fit in to my new school. Coming up to high school, my mom made me do marching band. She told me to just try it for one year, and if I hated it, I could quit. So I spent my August mornings the month before my first day of high school waking up at 7 in the morning to go to band camp. I wasn’t the happiest the first few days, but eventually, I came to love working hard and perfecting the shows. I have always loved performing, and this was a new kind of performing that I came to love so quickly and easily. Band also gave me so many opportunities, most of them unexpected.

College Leadership

Everyone tells you to get involved when you get to college, and don’t miss out on all the opportunities that are so accessible to you. I didn’t do that. I joined the band. In joining the band, I learned so much about my leadership style and my ability to work in a team of 150 people. At the end of my freshman year, I was an active member of my band fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi. By my sophomore year, I was section leader of the alto saxaphone section, and one of only a few sophomore leaders at the time. It was exciting and something that I had never expected upon entering college. It led me to so many opportunities which were unexpected.

Fraternity Leadership

The fraternity offered me a lot of opportunities. I’ve had the chance to make some of the best friends I will ever have, and I’ve had the opportunity to participate in some really cool service projects for my school of music. With that, I have come to realize that I am a part of a very special group in the bands. With my best friends by my side, I have grown more confident, more professional and more accountable. I have learned to take my abilities and apply them to a real situation. This was never more real than this past month. The picture at the top of this post is a moment that I will always see as one of my proudest – the moment I was sworn in as a district officer. I was kind of numb to it when it happened – I was so surprised. It’s a weird feeling knowing this is something I’ve wanted for two years, and it was finally happening. As exciting as it was, it took a lot of work to get to this point.

When I realized this was what I wanted, I knew I couldn’t just walk into the situation. It was going to take some work. I became actively involved in my chapter, and wasn’t just a member in active standing. I took my membership standing to heart, and made myself be active. I became an officer at the chapter level. I worked hard at that, and did what was required of my position, as well as what was required of an active member. This all helped me gain leadership experience and qualities to help me succeed.

My favorite part of this position was my ability to use my PR/communications background to help me succeed. I used my ability to communicate and write effectively to announce my interest in the position. My public speaking skills helped during my interview. My storytelling skills helped me validate my ability to make the district publication, one of my responsibilities. One of my favorite moments about this was realizing my two worlds could collide.

I have always struggled with balancing band and PR. It’s usually one or the other, and I never felt that I could have both. I knew at one point I would have to give up one, and I know it will be band, seeing as my career will be in PR. I didn’t want that to end sooner than I had to graduate.

After being elected, it is exciting to see that my worlds can collide and I can put both of my passions into one position. The honor of being selected to serve the district is great; but it is even greater to know that I can still go on to my senior year, and have the honor of being a brother, and a member of the bands at Kent State, and follow my passions in Public Relations.


Beyond Kent’s Campus – College Band Connections

One of my favorite things about being in band is that your bond with the average band geek goes far beyond your campus’ border. For me, it’s been of my favorite parts of being in a college marching band. It’s one of the only organizations I’ve been a part of, that I feel I can go to someone from any school involved in the same thing and feel an instant connection. Band geeks just understand each other, it seems. It’s also a great conversation starter. I could probably talk for hours about why I love using Rico Reserve reeds for concert band, but could never use them in a jazz concert. Or how if I could just find time to get my cork replaced, playing would be so much easier. And down to the petty and girly annoyance of never being able to comfortably wear a necklace without your saxophone neck strap getting in the way. If you’ve never touched an instrument in your life, it’s almost like I’m speaking a new language; but band geeks would understand, and undoubtedly talk for hours with me about it.

That ability to easily make a connection and stick with it is one of the reasons I’ve found myself so involved with college bands. I wanted to base this post around what I’ve done OUTSIDE of Kent’s campus, and show some pictures of the connections that I’ve made in the past three years. I’ve had some really cool opportunities because I was involved in the bands. Some involve marching band trips, and others involve fraternal activities throughout the district. Each connection I’ve made is special, and best of all, was simple to make because of our involvement in the bands.

These pictures are just a glimpse into some of the adventures that I’ve had.

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