How MFA Summer Symposium students and teachers helped unlock a five-year-old’s potential
Tommy Telgenhoff’s mother, Toni Telgenhoff-Garmer, shared this story with us as thanks for the impact MFA and the 2009 Summer Symposium staff and campers had on her little boy:
This summer, when I took my 5-year-old son to watch drummers practice during Music for All’s Summer Symposium at Illinois State University, he took a liking to the drum majors. He watched a small group of them from the sidelines and practiced saluting and marching along with them. Soon, their director approached Tommy and invited him to watch the entire group rehearse on the field the next day.
Tommy woke up the following day eager to start off. To our surprise, the head director, George Parks greeted us and asked if Tommy would like to tell the 560 campers what he wanted to be when he grew up. Tommy raced to the podium with George and told the kids that his name was Tommy and he wanted to be a drum major when he grew up. The kids cheered. Tommy ran back over to us, all smiles. This was the start of something awesome! Tommy marched on the sidelines all day long, watching the kids and practicing his salute.
When he returned the next day he was greeted by smiles, hugs, and high fives. This continued throughout the week. Tommy called out commands to the entire drum major group. Campers and staff had pictures taken with him. He was walking around, full of pride, saluting everyone. All week long he had the most incredible smile on his face. George made him an “honorary vet” and gave him a vet pin, t-shirt and certificate. Tommy was even included in the group picture and brought onto the field in front of everyone at their final performance.