"If nothing's ever said, then nothing's ever heard."

Wise words from one of my greatest teachers and life-influencers. Its a mantra Ive worked to live by, with the goal of always striving to create better experiences and better performances. After all, its why we do what we do, right?

As we dive into what I plan to be an ongoing feature on this site, I thought the best place to start might be to answer the most likely question -- Who is this guy?

First and foremost, I am a fully-fledged, self-avowed, unashamed, dyed in the wool band geek to the bone and proud of it. How so? Permit me some examples (I swear I am not making any of these up):

  • As a high school drum major, I once confronted the captain of the football team regarding why he had missed a critical band rehearsal. (Side note: do you know how to tell a well-constructed band uniform? The lapels dont stretch when youre lifted by them.)

  • My reception cake at my senior clarinet recital was decorated like a marching band drill chart. I actually fashioned flags and sideline pit equipment decorations made of paper and toothpicks. (Side note: yes, I should have been practicing more.)

  • My wife and I met at band camp.

  • We got engaged at Midwest. Then went to the Marine Band concert.

  • A brass quintet played Elsas Procession to the Cathedral at our wedding.

  • I wanted to name our sons John and Philip. (Side note: that got vetoed, as you can well imagine.)

A note of explanation and apology to choir and orchestra directors: I will write about wind band a lot. It's just my frame of reference, and not a slight to your endeavors in any way. My intent is that the meaning behind the conversations will be universal. Music is music is music. I know just enough about your areas to be dangerous, but adore and have performed in both genres. In the process of our conversations, I look forward to learning much more.


Aside from this, I do have a unique perspective in regards to the music education and festival performance travel areas in that Ive seen both from multiple angleshigh school band student, undergrad music ed major, graduate teaching assistant, ten years as a band director, twelve years as a performance travel planner, the past three years in concert festival recruitment and planning and now as a festival coordinator. This means Ive been a participant, a client, a consultant and a planner.thus experiencing the world of festivals and performance travel from both sides of the aisle. My goal is to share what Ive learned over collectively 25+ years in the field.


Does this mean I think I have all the answers? Not remotely! My goal for this forum is to be part how to, part advice column”, occasional “points to ponder”, but most importantly all dialogue. I want to hear your challenges and your successes. Weve included a comments sectiondont be shy. Odds are someone out there has a solution to a challenge you might be experiencing. If this forum can be a collaborative conduit for creative solutions—then weve made a difference together.


That said then, lets apply some ground rules:


  1. I will tell it like it is. Refer to the opening line of this post. But I do this from a position of honest observation, not inflammatory opinion. Frankly, none of us need that stress. We get enough of that from Facebook, and let's face it...there's an election year coming up too. There are incredible things happening in the areas of music festivals, music performance travel, and music education. I want to shine a spotlight to share those special opportunities. But like any field, there are things that can likely be improved upon and well pose questions about those. Lets work together to make things better.

  2. I expect you to do the same. Because I dont have all the answers, and my opinion shouldnt be the only one that counts. I'm also hoping to have some guests along the way.

  3. I am not here to sell you anything. Yes, I work for a festival planning organization. Yes, Id love to have your student musicians experience our events. But no, Im not going to promote it here. If you want to ask me about it, Im happy to discuss offline. Thats why I have an office phone and email address that you'll find here on the sitefeel free to call anytime. The only agenda here is helping you with your goals and sharing ideas.

  4. Play nice. No name calling, personal attacks, etc. Do unto others.

  5. Tell me what you want to know. Youre in the thick of it, every day, day after day. What would help you be more effective for your musicians? What would you most want your musicians to experience? Again, refer to the opening statement.

Finally, if you really want to better grasp my mindset and know what to expect, heres some recommended reading that has influenced me over the years:

  • Almost anything by business blogger Seth Godin. He has a daily blogId recommend subscribing to it. Very short and inspiring reads, and you don't have to be "business oriented" to gain something from it.

  • Lee Cockerell has written several books on leadership and client care (a term I prefer to customer service). Lee has held executive positions at Hilton, Marriott and most notably the Walt Disney World Resort. So, yeahhe knows a thing or two.

  • Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, President of Pixar. Nuff said.

  • How Full Is Your Bucket?" by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton.

  • "The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader" by John C. Maxwell.

  • Anything written by Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, one of the great mentors in my life....and yes, the opening quote of this post I attribute to him.


There will be more, but thats a start for you. Next weekwell start with what has become a core belief of mine over the years regarding the performance travel experience, and one that sadly often falls to the wayside in the planning process. Stay tuned!


Comments (1) -

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