Tonight’s an important night in our household. It’s the last concert for the fifth grade band at Grafton Elementary School. The kids have come a long way since picking up their instruments for the first time last fall, and we can attribute this to the efforts of this lovely lady right here.
Meet Angie Crockwell. She’s the band director at Grafton Elementary School, and she’s made of sheer awesome.
Seriously. Look at the kids in this picture. No one talks back to Mrs. Crockwell. She doesn’t even have to raise her voice.
The kids chose their instruments last year. I believe I mentioned what my son had to do to learn drum, but it bears repeating: knowing that boys in particular may gravitate to drum because it seems to be an easier (and louder) instrument, she required anyone who wanted to take drum to write an essay explaining why. Then she chose only a few students. The kids who weren’t terribly serious about the instrument bailed on the essay and she picked the ones who were most enthusiastic.
My son, if I remember correctly, talked about the use of drums to keep the beat when armies marched into battle — she liked the historic reference — and his love of Green Day.
We were shocked at the kids’ first concert last year. We were expecting a lot of squeaks and off-notes. Midway through, my father turned to me with some surprise and said, “Wow, they’re really good.” Mrs. Crockwell credits the kids’ enthusiasm.
This year, the kids had the option of trying out for Symphonic Band, which performs for special school events and outside concerts. My son sweated bullets over his audition. He was almost guaranteed a spot, given the need for drums, but he didn’t want to give anything less than his best effort. He didn’t want to disappoint Mrs. Crockwell.
This year the fifth graders tried something new: they competed in the MICCA (Massachusetts Instrumental & Choral Conductors Association) Festival in Hopkinton in April. They earned a bronze medal against competition that, in some cases, was much older.
We’re expecting great things from the band tonight. But we’re going to miss Mrs. Crockwell… at least until my daughter decides she wants to take up band herself.
Coming attractions for the fifth graders: next year at the Middle School, they get to work with Mr. Singley.