Percussion ensembles have long offered a safe haven for the quirky, odd, and eccentric people among us. We are losing one of these places. Please read and support the restoration of one of these places.
In the wake of another horrific event of hate and intolerance, I want to write about a place where the opposite is true. Many of you have read about the recent demise of the Upper Darby High School Indoor Percussion Ensemble. (If you haven’t, please take a minute to follow this link for a quick overview. It will help you understand what the rest of this post is talking about. Parents, students push on to keep indoor drumline in Upper Darby). What I want to share is how this organization and many others like it, offer a place where being different is not only tolerated but accepted and encouraged.
I am a geek. In fact, I am a geek among geeks. I am a misfit, an off-brand shoe, a strange individual, and an oddity. This is a fact and one that I revel in. But I am 49 and it has taken me 45 of those years to learn to love this about myself. For a high school kid, being something different is not okay. It is a time and place where you are supposed to be figuring out who and what you are, but if that person is too far removed from the acceptable norm…forget it. You are probably going to learn to hate high school. But in an indoor percussion ensemble, being odd is not only accepted, it is often celebrated.
I have been involved in a lot of percussion ensembles over the years – both in my own right as a costumer, and as the wife of a celebrated instructor/writer/director. I have seen what these groups offer to the misfits of society – to the “me” of this world. Now don’t get me wrong – it’s not an anything goes kind of place. You have to contribute and want to make the ensemble better. But if you do, you will become part of something that will be there for you when you most need it. Please continue to read this at