A person can only be in one place at one time no matter how hard they try.  To that end, Mr. Parks has juggled 16-22 separate workshops over each summer—there are just so many days in the summer so what do we do if we want to reach more students across the country but can’t get Mr. Parks to EVERY location?  We expand using our most proven and accomplished staff members!

Over the years we have found that there is no question what so ever regarding the success of the DMA philosophy and program.  To put it simply, it works.  As early as 1992 a DMA was held without Mr. Parks—well, virtually without him: he was there for all of 4 hours.  I, being a young college band director, was given the honor of not only being lead clinician that week, but running the entire program without him. End result:  complete success!  Student evaluations were all positive.  We learned something that year:  DMA could and would eventually begin an expansion to include locations that did not include Mr. Parks.  And so began our development of the staff!

Last summer our first expansion program occurred at Weber State University in Utah.  While a complete success–according to all the students, directors and parents–we were unable to return to Utah due to inability to secure a location.  We do hope to return to the great state of Utah again in the near future however.  But with the success of Weber State on the books, we chose to add Liberty Christian Academy in Virginia to our location list this summer.

Parker Denson (former dm at UA/Tuscaloosa and UArk/Fayetteville, former band director in Alabama and who is now finishing his Master’s in Music degree at UA/Tuscaloosa) was our lead clinician.  He was assisted by Lauren Heller (former dm at U/Delaware, former high school band director in MD, currently a PhD candidate in Wind Band Conducting at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music) and Daniel Lantz (former dm at U/Delaware).  A phenomenally powerful and highly educated staff for our first expansion @ LCA.  Our hope is always to have a starting class of 25-30 but LCA saw over 50 students!  This was simply fantastic, and we certainly hope it grows/doubles in 2010!

Every new location has it’s challenges, in this case the dorms were not located next to the classrooms or field, but considering it has been perhaps the mildest summer the East has seen in decades, the walk was simply rolled into the schedule and everyone adapted within the first evening.  It became a lesson, one of the lessons that we teach at each and every location, one of the life lessons that we remind ourselves of each day:  there are things we can change and things we merely have to accept because we cannot change them.  Complaining about the things we cannot change does not do anyone any good and only results in unrest.  So, deep breath, walk for 15 minutes instead of 5 and enjoy the weather and company of friends along the way.

For some reason this summer, almost every location has seen one or two students rise to the top of the group during the daily march offs.  These mini-competitions used to assist with the development of each student’s marching skills and most importantly, their listening/reaction skills are not the focus of DMA by any stretch of the imagination.  They are, however, greatly looked forward to by the students.  LCA did not, however see a couple of students rise to the top–there was only ONE!

5 March Offs over the span of 4 days and 1 winner each and every time!  Congratulations to:

Eric Humphries, Turner Ashby HS in VA

I’m not sure there is anything else to say–the odds of this happening are so remote.  We’ve seen a few students come very close to this type of dynasty this summer only to have their efforts thwarted by another student along the way.  But here at LCA, Eric was never de-throned.  Quite an accomplishment!

So we bid adieu to Liberty Christian Academy and we hope to return again in 2010!

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