A Bandtastic Visit with Friend #169: Kevin (Lindy, Connor, and Emma)

Update: If you want to read Rashad‘s article, mentioned in the previous post, click here.

Friend #169: Kevin (and Lindy, Connor, and Emma)
Date and Location of Visit: October 7-9, 2011, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Known from: High school marching band, a friend of my brother’s
Last seen: Summer of 1993 (?)

 Click here for memories of Melissa and more about our visit.

Memories of Kevin:  Kevin and my older brother were good friends in high school and were always getting into one kind of shenanigan or another.  I don’t as much have memories of Kevin as I remember stories about Kevin, several of which we laughed out loud about during our visit.  Kevin was also an excellent French horn player who I sought to emulate, and I do remember him playing the Mozart horn concerto with the high school orchestra when he was a senior.

About our visit: Kevin is now a high school band director himself, and when I learned that my visit to Stillwater would take place on a Friday, I asked if I could tag along for the requisite fall marching band weekend schedule–a Friday night football game and a Saturday competition.  So much of the weekend was a walk down memory lane–the band room, the rehearsals, the pre-performance routines and traditions, the romances and flirtations.  And some of the weekend was new.  I haven’t seen Kevin since he was 18, so I got to meet Kevin’s wife, Lindy, a compassionate and no-nonsense counselor at the same high school, and their two children: newly 8-year-old Connor and 6 1/2-year-old Emma.  Behold their cuteness:

Though I haven’t been in touch with Kevin, I saw his older brother Dave, who was my band director, last summer and just visited with his mom Laura in July, so I’ve had some updates.  And I saw that the band did well at last weekend’s competition via Kevin’s status update on Facebook. But I was excited to see him in action as director and leader and hear and see the band.  The facilities where he works are incredible–there’s an entire performing arts center at the high school, and their football stadium is taller than the nearby Oklahoma State University stadium.

He has a talented staff that he works with.  I think my favorite moment of the weekend was at the end of Saturday’s competition after the results had been tallied and the judges had given their feedback.  The 3 directors along with the percussion and color guard instructors sat around a table and Kevin asked them what they should prioritize for the upcoming rehearsals.  First off, he asked for their input.  And then every single person around the table gave her two cents.  And I could tell by the way that they shared freely that Kevin valued their feedback and heeded their insights and they knew it.  Kevin has always been a natural leader.  But I knew in that moment, and all the moments and conversations that must have preceded it, that Kevin is a good leader.

And as Kevin leads the team, the team leads the students.  The program has been growing and improving in recent years, and I caught them as they are riding a wave of success.  They placed 4th out of the 12 bands that made finals, many of whom were much larger than the Stillwater band.  Stillwater scored especially high in the visual category, which is usually where larger bands excel because there are more people to make the pictures.

Here is the opening sequence of their show, which has some awesome French horn parts (both of these are from the Friday night football game):

And the closing sequence:

In addition to seeing the band in action, I got to see Kevin as a fun dad (and Lindy as a great mom) of two bright and verbose kids.  It was especially poignant to see Kevin as a dad because Kevin lost his own dad a few years ago.  I actually found out via a status update Kevin posted on Facebook.  I have mixed feelings about sharing such big life events on Facebook, but in this case, I was so grateful to know, so grateful that he’d shared such a difficult thing. And as Kevin expressed while I was there, so many people knew his dad that it was a simple way to communicate the information to a wide number of people at one time.  As a result, I reconnected with Kevin’s mom.  So we were able to share about the trials and insights of losing parents during our visit.

I’m grateful to Kevin and the family and to the band and directors and parents for hosting me for a beautiful fall weekend bandtastic visit!

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One Response

  1. Beautiful piece, Ann! Thank you, too, for the band video, which I haven’t seen in person. I’ll be in OK for the state championships on the 29th.

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