And the Music Plays On

New director takes on big responsibilities

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And the Music Plays On

Patti Scheurich

Patti Scheurich

Patti Scheurich

Emily Hines, Sr. Reporter

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Music drifts through the open doors of the band hall and spills into the hallways as musicians of all instrumentations practice and participate in the ensemble. A series of instructions comes from the man standing front-and-center on a podium at the front of the band, encouraging them to put forth their best efforts as they run through various pieces of literature.

The band program’s new head director, Gavin Smith, has been working with the students since this past summer to achieve a high level of excellence in both marching band season and concert band season while also creating a sense of family.

“In my family growing up, there were three siblings with different personalities, with the same background but different approaches to things,” Smith said. “In the band, we have to do the same thing; all 150 kids in the program are unique and different, but we all learn together.”

The timeline for hiring a new director posed a quick decision-making process for Smith, but his education and experience with teaching all varieties of students prepared him to take on the position at Reedy.

“First, there is the excitement of something new and there being a need for tradition,” Smith said. “But then also, there is a daunting task of getting to know the established culture and to understand the history of it. Granted, coming here, the history is much shorter. There are still the same challenges, just more on the newer side. ”

As the band was mainly founded on the basis of two different high schools from within the district, Wakeland and Frisco, there were some traditions that had already been established. Along the same lines, the diverse origin of the program posed challenges for the new director.

“I was not worried about the music establishment,” Smith said. “But in my research, or investigations, I started to learn about the culture in the Reedy Band program. Because of all of these different backgrounds and philosophies, I wanted to be very open in my communication.”

However, Smith’s big picture when it comes to teaching and expectations for students brings forward a different philosophy and mindset from the previous years at Reedy.

“There’s a more positive atmosphere and everyone is working harder towards a common goal, now that Mr. Smith is our director,” sophomore band member Alex Hines said. “There is more of a sense of community between everyone and it’s more lighthearted, but I feel like we get even more done.”

As the members of the band have grown closer as a family through the course of this year, many students are truthfully able to attest to the positive impact that the new director’s personality has had on the band program.

“He treats us like adults and gives us more responsibility for ourselves so that we aren’t spoonfed,” senior band president Lauren Scoville said. “Everyone is more willing to be here and work together. His bright, happy, and positive attitude paired with the smile he always has on his face helps to create a good learning environment.”

Looking into the years to come, Smith says that he wishes for the success story of the band to be changed slightly. To accomplish this, he wants the program to be successful through gaining feedback in higher-level competitions.

“We push our students that it’s not important to win, but it’s important to grow,” Smith said. “To grow is to jump in a bigger pool. Right now, this year, we were a big fish in a small pond. In the years to come, I want to jump into the ocean and move into a new area where we can struggle and grow really quickly.”

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