Band. Marching band, concert band. Percussion. Those things were so important to Gabe. He started out on the clarinet in 8th grade, but thankfully was allowed to switch to percussion. He just didn’t enjoy clarinet. He LOVED percussion.
When he started high school he joined the Marching Knights, and did percussion in the pit. I remember the first home football game I went to, and when the band started walking down to the field the person behind me said “Oh great, it’s the band”. He was very exasperated and it was really quite sad to hear. There was so much I wanted to say to him, but I realized that he probably wouldn’t listen anyway. So I’m going to say it now.
Band is important. Band was one of the most important parts of Gabe’s life. School was difficult for him, I know he was picked on some, and he lived with the burden of a life threatening heart defect. Those things are huge hurdles for a teenager. Band gave Gabe something that he loved. Because of his heart defect he could not do contact sports. That ruled out several high school sports, as many sports are contact. Band gave him a team that he could participate in. It gave him an activity at school that he could do. He could put his all into something and be a part of something wonderful. I know there are others who were in similar shoes- health conditions limited certain things, so they found themselves in the band. Even within the band Gabe had to work with his limitations, so he was in the pit which was less strenuous but just as important as everything else.
So to that man sitting behind me (who will probably never read this), or to anyone who gets irritated at the football games when the band comes out- please respect those students. Respect that sports are not their thing and that is ok. Respect that some do sports AND band. Respect that some of them would love to do sports but can’t. Respect that they put so much work into their performances. Weeks during the summer, rehearsals just about every day after school, and they sacrifice Saturdays for all day long competitions. To you the band may not be important, but to some of those kids band is their life.
The video above is an original piece written by Rob Nash, Gabe’s beloved band director. It is a mix of things important to Gabe, which Mr. Nash explains at the beginning. It begins with Me Without You, by TobyMac. Thanks for reading and listeni