Eyes With Pride

gnp_jump.jpgIt’s been three years, but I remember the morning I found out about your passing like it was yesterday.  My first reaction was “What?!  Are you sure?”  To me, and to many others, you were invincible and a superhero… you couldn’t die, you were going to be GNP forever and you would just keep molding the future great peoples of our world.

Then, as more people commented online, it was clear that this was no ruse and reality set in.  It’s hard to put emotions into words, but it was an extremely tough day for us all.  We helped each other cope with memories of pranks, laughs, and amazing performances.  We found solace in the music and camaraderie that we had; as a fellow bando said those three years ago: “Some of us met each other for the first time that night, separated by decades but united in our shared experience. It’s funny how the UMMB tends to blur social boundaries. After all these years, I tend to forget who I marched with and who I didn’t. They are all my friends.”  Thanks Amanda
I never went to DMA, and was only a Field Staff member.  I don’t know many of the “Starred Thoughts,” but I can’t deny the affect you had on my life.  Being a member of the UMMB family gave me so much more than just a group of people that play music together.  It truly is a second family; I met my wife through the band.  I learned that you can always do better (“put your hand as high above your head as you can… now put it higher”).  You were aggressive in your pushing us, and we grumbled, but we did it… can we put our finger on why?  Maybe not, but I don’t really care because we all achieved our individual greatness because of it.
Hers’s a “short” list of what I remember:
  • BOA Grand Nationals
  • Inaugural 2001
  • I was there the last year we wore the old red uniforms
  • I was there the first year with the new uniforms
  • Jillian’s Baltimore after the Inaugural
  • “61”
  • Sleeping on a gymnasium floor “with 300 of your closest friends”
  • The Grey Cup – Canada on Senior Day
  • UDMB Band Day post 9/11 – video
  • Topsfield Fair
  • Allentowns
  • MICCAs
  • Faneuil Hall
  • BUS!
  • The Big E
  • GNP and the drum majors serving breakfast before the Grey Cup
  • Mr. Parks buying everyone a hotdog after the Grey Cup game
  • “AGAIN!”
  • “I’m sorry, I can’t… I have a 4:40 class”
  • Irish car bombs at The Hangar
  • The old University Apartments
  • The Gold Camry
  • I was convinced that he was going to fall out of those darn scissor lifts or off the scaffolding the way he jumped up and down and sometimes climbed up on the railings!
Through all our trials, he was the continued font of direction and even when we had what we thought was a bad show he made us feel good about it and strive towards the next great show to be better.
I will cherish the years I spent with you, and I am heartened by the knowledge that what you started/created carries on through me and all UMMB family members past/present/future.

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