Here at Music for All, we recognize that our programming would not be possible without the support of our hard-working and dedicated volunteers. "Spotlight on Volunteering" is an on-going blog post series that highlights one of these superstar volunteers each month.
This month's superstar is.... Nicole Presley!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself. What's your background with Music for All?
In high school, I played mellophone in and was drum major of the Milford (OH) High School Marching Band. We participated in a few BOA Regional and Grand Nationals events each year. I was also a camper at the Summer Symposium in 2008 and a member of the 2009 BOA Honor Band in the Tournament of Roses parade. Up until my senior year, Music for All was just the organization that organized all of the big competitions that my band went to, but after attending the drum major track at the Summer Symposium and marching in the honor band, I began to see that MFA was so much more than that. Both experiences taught me more about leadership and teamwork than I ever imagined that they would.
Q: When was the first time you volunteered with Music for All? Why did you decide to volunteer?
My first experience volunteering for Music for All was as a SWAG at the Summer Symposium in 2010. I wanted to be a SWAG because I wanted to give back to the wonderful experience that I had as a camper in 2008, and to be honest, I wanted to be back in that environment again. There aren't many places where so much focus is placed on the importance of being your best self, treating others with care and respect, and putting others' needs before your own. The importance of those values makes the Symposium a very safe and positive place. I think that's something that makes the Symposium a place that people want to return to.
Q: You've been a SWAG and a Regional Key Volunteer- which was your favorite volunteer experience and why?
Although I've enjoyed each of those volunteer experiences, being a SWAG is definitely my favorite. I love meeting the campers at the beginning of camp and watching them grow throughout the week. At floor meetings every night, I always ask the girls if they want to share something they learned that day. It's so cool to be able to see their learning experiences deepen as camp draws to a close. After a week of working with incredible instructors and students that share their passion for music and the marching arts, those high schoolers say some pretty profound things. I've been fortunate enough to be a SWAG for a few years now, so I've also be able to see campers grow up from summer to summer, which is just as neat.
I think being a SWAG has also been one of the biggest contributors to my personal growth. I know that I've learned more about leadership and service as a SWAG than I did as a camper. It's always interesting to come back to camp each year and see how I've grown since the last summer, and what growth is still is store for me.
Q: Our Indianapolis Super Regional is a huge event and you got to be right down in the action at Pit/Prop Entrance this past year. What was the coolest thing you got to see while volunteering down in the tunnel at Lucas Oil Stadium?
Working at the Pit/Prop Entrance was definitely an exciting experience! I think the coolest thing about it was to see the dedication of the parents in the pit and prop crews for each of the bands. Although there were some pretty cool and impressive props, they wouldn't have come into being without the help of those parents. Every school had parents that knew exactly what they had to do, and wanted to do it to the best of their abilities so that their kids' could have a great experience on the field. Marching band as we know it couldn't function without the support of parents, and it's so cool to see that in action.
Q: Many of our volunteers are recent alumni of our programming, like you. What was the best part of your band experience with Milford High School?
That is a hard question to answer! I have so many wonderful memories of my experience with the Milford Bands that it's hard to choose the best part! One thing I will never forget from my experience with marching band is the feeling of standing on the field right after finishing a performance, exhausted and fighting for breath, but feeling so excited and proud for my band. You don't often get to experience accomplishing something so beautiful with over a hundred other people who have all been working towards the same goal for months like you can with marching band.
Q: Would you recommend volunteering with us to other Bands of America/Music for All alumni?
Of course! Volunteering at Music for All events has allowed me to give back and stay connected to something that was such an important part of my time in high school. Not only that, but each time I volunteer is a such a positive learning experience. You get to work with great people for a great purpose. MFA really does provide postively life-changing experiences, and as a volunteer you get to help create them and have a positively life-changing experience of your own.