Light Up the Room

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average person holds 11 jobs between the ages of 18 to 42. Even removing the odd jobs that someone holds right after high school or during the college transition, an individual may have six to seven jobs by middle age.

That statistic may not be surprising given the ups and downs of the economy, the changing corporate culture of American business or just human nature’s desire for change and new challenges.

In the music education world, some have bucked this trend, staying at one place for their entire career. This issue of Halftime Magazine pays tribute to two such individuals: George N. Parks, who had spent 33 years as director of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band prior to his death in September 2010, and Jeffery “JR” Richardson, who has been with the Needham B. Broughton High School Band in Raleigh, N.C., also for 33 years.

Both men dedicated their lives to help thousands of students not only to perform better but also to lead better lives.

On a national scale, Music for All celebrates its 35th anniversary this season (page 16). Through its many programs— including Bands of America, Summer Symposium, the National Concert Band Festival and Orchestra America—it has provided “positively life-changing experiences” for 1.25 million students. And these students—many now adults— have given back. In 2008 during a time of financial crisis, the organization raised $250,000 in 81 days from its alumni, enabling Music for All to reach this milestone anniversary.

As these three have experienced, such longevity can only be achieved with community support and a winning philosophy.

On the flip side, starting something from scratch (page 20) can be just as worthwhile and challenging. Halftime Magazine profiles new bands at three schools—Georgia State University, Marian University and Yorba Linda High School—and the directors who were willing to take a leap of faith.

So, to borrow the thoughts of George N. Parks, “Do something spectacular, so your spirit lights up the room when you leave”—no matter if you’re starting something new or fulfilling a legacy.

Musically Yours,
Christine Ngeo Katzman
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Photo by Al Graff

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