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This Midland middle school band instructor does more than teach. He empowers.

Wildcat Marching Band performs at Disney World

The University of Kentucky Wildcat Marching Band performed as part of the Magic Kingdom Parade at Disney World.
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The University of Kentucky Wildcat Marching Band performed as part of the Magic Kingdom Parade at Disney World.

Some of the best moments of my high school years were spent on the marching field. The Heritage High School marching band was known for being ... well ... pretty darn good. If I could go back and experience the thrill of marching a half time show at a football game, I certainly would.

It’s the same sort of thrill I felt on the soccer field, too, especially in my college stadium, when the crowd was a bit rowdy at the expense of a good play. There is a magnificent feeling that occurs on the playing field.

I think the thrill is rooted in why we get so hyped for our favorite SEC team or the American athletes during the Olympics. We love to see the impossible made possible.

Just think about it. Eleven guys from literally all across the country find their way to one field in a college town to make literally thousands of people go berserk. Two hundred separate instruments and 200 pairs of feet harmonize and synch together to wow an audience with musical splendor. People do that. People from all walks of life put aside their cultural and social differences in order to intertwine their individual talents into one well-oiled machine.

The power of teamwork is phenomenal and unstoppable, and no group of people recognize that more than coaches and teachers. One in the same, they are actually. Both take disharmony and create harmony in their own arenas.

Ask Jeremy Pownall at Aaron Cohn Middle School. He’ll give you quite a few examples. Besides teaching band and orchestra to middle schoolers, which alone would be an unbelievable marvel, Mr. Pownall uses his influence as a teacher/coach/band director to create better human beings. He believes in and adheres to the belief that alone he can do minimal; together, we can do mighty.

So, when an little bit of a challenged young lad came barreling into his band class, he didn’t hand him the triangle and say, “You go sit over there and only ding this thing when I point to you.” Nope. He integrated him into the fold – the fold of humanity. He did that, and he elicited the help of his teammates – the school’s football coach, the young boy’s classroom teachers and the little guy’s momma.

They triple-teamed him. They rallied around him and high-fived him to become a better person. They marched beside him and encouraged him to toot his own horn and toot it well. And they masterfully created a team of support that eventually and slowly crafted a young man of stature.

Mr. Pownall is like a lot of teachers. They just see something in a kid, but more importantly, they create a way to hold up a mirror to the child and present that something to him. And that makes all the difference.

So, the next time I hear a middle school band perform or watch the Ohio State Buckeyes march or coach a bunch of misfits from the sideline, I think I will take a second to think about Mr. Pownall and how he makes beautiful music in the world. I encourage you to do the same thing.

Sheryl Green is a secondary educator in Columbus. Email her at sherylgreen14@yahoo.com.

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