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DMA/EKU had a crazy start this year–technology decided it would vex me. To put it simply:

You know when things are not going all that well but no one else seems to notice even though you’re convinced everything is a mess? Well, this wouldn’t be one of those times.

Yeah…the opening outside session began with 1 of the rangers going “belly up,” and the inside conducting session began as if it were 1984….don’t ask.  But after a quick trip to the store and the acquisition of the proper cables we were finally back on track.

Which brings me to dinner.

I received a text from the staff manager that a group of young boys and their counsellors wanted to observe us while we were outside after dinner. I gave it a moment of thought and decided sure. We’re outside in public spaces, the students are supervised, if we can provide another group with a demonstration of something that resonates with what they are learning it’s a win-win.

When I arrived to the session our gang was getting all set up to begin the marching basics block. I went over to the other group and introduced myself to the lead counsellor and inquired about their group–hoping to learn more about what they were after so I could address it in some manner within the structure of our own evening lessons.

It turned out that the boys, ranging in age from 9 to 16, were all football players and were learning about leadership styles and approaches. The counsellor’s main goal was for them to watch how drum majors of a band were also members; how a large group of young students can all respond with precision to commands so that the group can function in a more orderly manner. He did not want me to do anything FOR them but to merely do what we planned to do and he would mold it to fit his needs with his group.

Needless to say I was intrigued!

So off we went teaching the usual DMA Marching Basics Block and these young men and their counsellors were watching from a  short distance away in order not to be a distraction (Talk about brilliant leadership on behalf of their counsellors!) After getting through all the turns and flanks I shifted gears and did a little more of the teaching module…and this was when it got interesting.

The counsellors of the football leaders modeled what we had done! They broke their students up into groups of 6 (squads) and they taught them how to call commands exactly how I was calling them! No instruction on how to do so–simple imitation. And then the football leaders started marching around the parking lot with one boy in charge (Squad Leader).  They were in control; they were having fun; they were learning to work together to achieve a sense of cohesiveness.

They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery.  I’m humbled this evening. What a special and unexpected treat!