Today's guest post is from Larry Harper, Jr. Thank you, Larry for allowing us to share your thoughts on the 2013 Grand National Championships!
"To create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all."
The countless amazing interactions between bands in the hallways before heading to the field to compete, the countless number of staff and volunteers who give unbelievable hours of their time and simply the experience had by each and every performer over the course of the event. Those are the things that stick with you.
Resist your preconceived notion of what a 'BoA Band' is, because you don't have to look far to see countless examples of just how far off-base it is, or how much that idea has nothing to do with the experience provided to the participating bands at Grand Nationals.
Seeing two of the top drumlines passing each other in the hall sharing fist-bumps.
Seeing smaller bands go out and completely win over the crowd inside a massive stadium.
Witnessing so many countless acts of complete selflessness you don't even bother trying to note them all.
Although the performance might be the highlight of the trip for many bands, I guarantee that the experiences had from the time they arrived in the parking lot, until they left on Saturday night were unlike any found elsewhere and had very little to do with competition.
Competition is healthy and has its place in our activity. It pushes us to work harder and to achieve things we never thought possible, but at Grand Nationals, its about the common bond and experience that all of those performers, parents and staff shared.
Those life-changing experiences are what makes the event great.
Not the props, not the giant eagle, not even the stadium. The fist-bump, the high-five, the "Good Luck".
It's not just being able to have the opportunity to perform at the highest level; its about being supported by, and sharing the experience with 90 other bands.
Regardless of who we are, this week we're all just a stadium full of 'band kids.'
- Larry Harper, Jr.
Larry Harper, Jr. has spent the majority of the last fifteen years living in the Triangle area of North Carolina and filling a variety of roles in the marching-arts world. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Carolina Gold, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a stimulating and rewarding social experience by promoting responsibility and self-discipline through music education, competitive performance and community engagement. After attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Larry served as the Assistant Marching Percussion Instructor to the UNC Athletic Bands program in addition to serving as a visual instructor and drill writer for a variety of other area programs. Larry has spent a significant amount of time in service to organizations such as Winter Guard International and Music for All as well as having coordinated events in partnership with Drum Corps International.