It seems that every year, the Clark Montessori music program is doing something new. During the past four years the 5th Bell Clark Jazz Band (in which I play) has won awards, traveled to Louisville KY, played at venues such as Fountain Square, University of Cincinnati DAAP, Beavercreek High School, and the Hyatt Regency Hotel. But nothing has compared to the honor experienced by the 3rd Bell Clark Jazz Band and the Clark Drumline when they had the opportunity to play in the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day parade on April 3.
I can remember hearing a rumor going around about Clark bands playing in the parade, and I was really excited because I am a big fan of baseball. So being able to play in the parade would be a huge honor to me.
Then Josh let us know that it was the 3rd Bell Jazz Band that was going to play in the parade. At the end of class that day, I went up to Josh and told him that I was going to go with the 3rd Bell band whether he wanted me to or not. Luckily, he happily agreed to let me go with them.
As soon as we got into the lineup on the day of the parade, I could already feel the energy from all of the other musicians who were playing there. I could definitely tell that we were a Montessori school because not long after arriving, all of our students were intermingling with all of the other schools and musicians. Before that, none of the other schools had been talking with each other. And when musicians from the Clark bands started pulling people into a dance circle, it was one more example to me that Clark is a special school.
After being in line for what seemed like several hours, we finally started walking. I had the job of holding the sign, so I was out in front. Seeing the crowd was the weirdest feeling of my life. Everyone was clapping for us and cheering before we even started to play.
I have to say I was amazed at how disciplined all of our students were when it came to marching. Since Clark is such a small school and we don’t have an organized marching band, students had to learn about marching during class and during several after-school rehearsals. To my surprise, everyone was in unison for a large part of the parade.
One of the craziest parts about the experience was just how diverse the crowd was. I saw ages all the way from babies to older people using walkers. I saw people of several different races, as well. This diversity really made me smile because in today's world, there is a lot of tension between different age groups and races. I loved the idea that something as simple as a parade for our local baseball team was able to bring all of these people together.
This has definitely been one of the coolest things that I’ve done with the Clark music department. I’ll be very excited to see where Clark musicians play in the next few years.