I was heartbroken yesterday when Governor Henry McMaster officially announced that we would not be returning to school this year, and I know that I was not alone in that feeling. Although expected, it was still difficult to hear such news as I was still holding out hope that we may be able to get back to school, even for a few days, to see our students one last time this year. I know that many of you are feeling stress and angst about what the days ahead bring for us. For me, the most difficult aspect of all of this is the unknown. I am very much a person who likes to feel in control of my destiny, and these “wait and see” times that we are currently experiencing are challenging me to live out the mantra that I tell my students: only worry about what you/we can control. I am finding that to be much easier said than done.
To quell some of the angst about upcoming events and the fall season, I want to give you an update regarding ongoing conversations and decisions that will be made soon.
Given that the CPA and State Festival did not occur, we are aware that many ensembles did not have a chance to record a recent performance. We are currently devising a plan for submissions for SCMEA Performances that will consider this and will be fair for all ensembles that plan on submitting a recording. We hope to have this information out to our membership in the next two weeks.
We also know that many of you have questions about the fall and what marching band will look like. While we do not know what the fall will look like just yet, the decision of marching band or no marching band will not be up to us; that will be a decision that is made by higher-ranking officials. However, our current stance is that if we can get back to school and have Friday night football, we will have marching band. We do understand that there may have to be adjustments to schedules as a result of altered school start dates. We are discussing all possible scenarios, as well as consulting with other states and Bands of America, to have as much information as possible. Marching Band will be a topic of significant discussion at our May Executive Board Meeting.
I know that this does not provide any specific information right now. However, it is difficult to give any specifics with so much unknown about what things will look like in five or six months. We hope to have more specific guidelines by the end of May and be able to make responsible, informed decisions about how we move forward. Please also know that any proposed decision about changing handbook policy will not occur without a vote of the body in some form or fashion. Any change or modification proposed by the Executive Board will be voted on by the membership.
I know these are trying times. We are all feeling the brunt of this. However, as I wrote in my April letter in the SC Musician, adversity does not build character… adversity REVEALS character. I firmly believe that we will be better because of all of this. I hope that we will be more aware, more compassionate, more loving, more supportive of our colleagues and students, and more appreciative of the time we have. We WILL get through this together. As always, if there is anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m proud and honored to serve as your President.