I am a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due, and I would like to acknowledge the Blanco Panther High School Band and their Band Directors, David Shirk and Brandon Aly.
For the last two years, I have attended all the football games only to see that Mr. Shirk and Mr. Aly have surprised me with a new and exciting half-time show. I have attended the concerts to hear band students from fifth grade on up play the most amazing music that I have ever heard. I am not talking about the simple little tunes that we were taught either. I am talking about music from other countries, classical music, to even Led Zeppelin; a range of music that is not usually taught to young performers. I have attended marching contests only to see the shining faces of the band students after they march off of the field because each child is so proud because the whole band as one mastered one of the hardest shows that they ever had to perform. These kids had a look of accomplishment and pride mixed into one.
These children not only learned about music and what it takes to be great in music, but these are the same lessons that they apply to life. I know that there is no doubt that everything Mr. Shirk and Mr. Aly has taught them in the band hall will also be applied to their future adventures in life. They have learned that to be great you must practice, that you must try your best, and they have learned how to take constructive criticism. To me that shows us all what a blessing it is to not only have the band program but two amazing instructors who care about all their students.
I have never seen a High School Band Show that gives every section their own solo. Every single child in the band will have at least one solo by the time they graduate from High School. They will have their chance to shine and show our community what greatness lies within them.
The wonderful thing is I am not the only one that has seen this. Almost three weeks ago, the Blanco Panther High School Band traveled to San Marcos, Texas, to film an episode of Friday Night Lights that will be aired next month on NBC. When they arrived, the band marched up to the wardrobe trailers playing loud and proud. As the music filled the air, the filming crew started dancing and cheering us on. When it was time for them to film their scene, it took only one take and everybody, including the stars of the show, were dancing on the football field and cheering them on. Even after they filmed their scene, the kids were receiving so many compliments that all of them were floating on cloud nine. It is so amazing that these children get a chance to shine in front of the entire United States of America!
To some of the children in band, this is their touchdown, homerun, or their winning basket of a basketball or winning point of a volleyball game. To them, this is why they get up every morning to come to school and stay late to practice. These kids cheer on the football players, basketball players, volleyball players, baseball players, track team, and the cheerleaders. They get the football fans dancing in their seats and pumped up for a wonderful time at the football games.
The only thing that really bothers me is who is cheering on these kids of the band? Who is thanking Mr. Shirk and Mr. Aly for their hard work and dedication? What would our football games, pep rallies, and parades be like without our Panther Band? Where would some of these kids be if it were not for the band program? I really would hate to think what the answers to the last two questions could be.
All I know is that here in Blanco we should be proud of our High School Band and the accomplishments they achieve at all the marching contests and every two years when they go to State Competition. We should also be very proud of them for getting recognized by a top-rated television series.
I know I am, and the wonderful thing is, I know even if my son was not in a band, I would still be just as proud of this group of kids and amazed by Mr. Shirk and Mr. Aly.
So, thank you Mr. Shirk and Mr. Aly for all that you do and the many lessons that you teach through the love of music. Thank you to the Panther High School Band for all that you do. I am proud of each and every one of you and all that you have accomplished! You are amazing young adults who will go far in life and show the world what greatness is all about.
Proud Band Parent