2021 Reflections

“Everything you want is on the other side of hard”.  – Monty Williams

The Academy family, (Photo Credit: Tony McCrackin/FloMarching)

I’m sitting in the airport after dropping the last group of members off and waiting for my flight that departs this evening.  While I sit I figured I would share with you this message below that was sent to me last week from a long-time volunteer and parent of a former member.  Her message is a reminder that the impact of this activity reaches so much further than just the performing members on the field.  While we have worked so diligently to keep our member experience at the heart of our decision making throughout this year, it is worthwhile, too, to reflect upon the impact that our taking the field again has had on so many others.  

Think about the parents who got to see their child doing what they love, witnessing their growth as human beings right in front of their eyes.  And then there are the audiences, who got to witness the passionate performances, inspired by the human potential on display.  Then there are the adult staff and volunteers, who enjoyed the exhilaration of contributing a part of themselves to make this all happen, rekindling their love for servitude on behalf of the students.  Then there’s the alumni, who through the eyes of the performers could recall their past experiences, remembering what it means to walk as a member of The Academy.  We saw flight attendants and passengers on our flights who were inspired by a group of students that carried themselves in a decent and respectful manner –  for a brief moment, perhaps, instilling some faith in the future generation.  The list goes on… and on… and on. 

On Monday we will most certainly fall back into what might feel normal – immediately getting to work on what is next.  That, after all, is what we do.  The work never stops.  How do we make things better?  Where are we going to get all the points?  Where is the money going to come from?  What new things are possible?  What obstacles are in the way?    But for now, for just a brief moment, let us pause to recognize what just happened.  In truth, all of this was almost gone.  This almost didn’t happen.  Yet here we are – on the other side of hard – home again.  

Thank you, Academy, for reminding this person of the value and importance of excellence, service, humility, acceptance, and for bringing light to so many who may be needing just that.  Today we celebrate.  Tomorrow we get back to work.  (OK maybe Tuesday)

The effort is the prize.


(Mark – the following is meant to be shared with the corps, but I’ll leave that up to you. Even if you’re the only one who sees this, its enough. I just thought a note of encouragement and thanks was warranted.)

Yesterday was a very long day – as home shows always are. By the end of the performance I was in tears. I wanted to thank you and everyone involved for persevering and making sure that The Academy lives on. You never know who will be at any given performance that really, really needed to be there and share in the joy of the music. Yesterday I was that one.

As you know, Mark, 4 years ago we all woke on the home show morning to the horrific news of the Regiment bus crash. Jeffrey and I spent the rest of that day helping out in the aftermath and both of us missed most the show because we were needed elsewhere. (Too bad because we had been given amazing seats. 😉 ) That was okay, because it was a day when The Academy lived out the fact that at the heart of it all, drum corps IS family.

Fast forward to yesterday. I was awakened much too early by Jeffrey with the news that my sister had passed away earlier in the morning. It was not unexpected, but still. I wasn’t sure I would be able to make the show after that, but in the afternoon, we decided to go ahead with our plans for me to come to the performance and to let Jeffrey stay home and sleep to best prepare for the drive to Indy.

At the end of the arc, when the horn line moved forward and reformed, I knew what was coming and struggled to hold it together. O Magnum has a special place in every alum’s, and every alum’s parent’s heart. It reminds us of those who have gone before, and the hopes and dreams of those who will follow in the future. And listening to my Academy play it, you allowed THIS member of the Academy family to grieve with a lighter heart. Never stop playing that song, even it it is only for the ears of the corps only.

So keep doing what you’re doing, share your love of music and the marching arts, and keep bringing the joy and the passion of it to us all.

With heartfelt thanks,
Linnea Smith

Parent of a 2010 Trumpet Trainee and 2011 Hornline Member
And a 2017 Academy Volunteer of the Year Recipient 

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