Got interviewed by an FBI agent today. Basically he wanted to know about the life and times of my dear friend Ashley, who needs a certain level of security clearance within the Navy to become a linguist.
Yeah, she's just that awesome.
Signed up for my juries and piano proficiency examination today. I both dread and welcome the end of this school year.
The people who inspired my musicality are retiring at the close of this school year. After 30 years they are done. It's strange thinking of Saint Clair bands without Paul and Elaine Swofford...they always have seemed so timeless.
The following is taken from an article in the the Saint Clair Missourian, Wednesday, March 21st:
The Swoffords, now both age 52, came to St. Clair at the start of the 1982-1983 school year after meeting at and graduating from Central Methodist College in Fayette. They ended up being hired together as a pair to take over the instrumental music program in the district.
“We got married on Saturday and started teaching the following Thursday,” Elaine Swofford said. “We’ve been partners in every sense of the word since.”
Paul said he and his wife were interviewed separately for the high school and junior high school band positions. “and we got them.”
“They brought us in one at a time,” he said. “It was interesting back then. They asked us what we had in mind as far as the instrumental program. At the time, I just wanted a job. ...
“But over the years, we’ve been rewarded with everything we need, and we’re happy. You can’t put a price tag on that.”
The accomplishments of the Swoffords and the SCHS bands have been numerous during their 30-year tenure. In 29 of those years, the high school band has earned a “1” rating, the highest score possible, in the annual state concert music competition. The junior high band has earned 28 consecutive “1” ratings at the music festival.
The high school band has received more than 200 marching and jazz band trophies during that time, or an average of about seven per year. It also has been a three-time sweepstakes award winner at the Six Flags Music Festival, a two-time winner in the Pride Classic at Missouri State University and six times has been selected to perform at the Missouri Music Educator Conference at Lake of the Ozarks.
In addition, the SCHS band has won the Honor Band Award at the National Adjudicators Music Festival, was a sweepstakes winner at the Gateway Music Festival and earned top honors at the World of Fun Music Festival. Over the years, the band also has performed in Hawaii, Walt Disney World, Busch Stadium, the Kiwanis International Convention and at Powell Symphony Hall.
The junior high band is a two-time sweepstakes winner at the Six Flags Music Festival.
The Swoffords themselves have been named educators of the year by the St. Clair R-XIII district as well as by the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce more than once. Paul and/or Elaine also have earned several other music-related awards in the state and region.
“Their legacy of discipline and love for music and life will live in the over 3,000 students who are still a part of their extended band family,” R-XIII School District Band Boosters President Mike Drewel said. “They began in St. Clair from Ground Zero with a shell of a band program that was weak in the knees at best. I can say that because I was one of their early students from 1983 to 1990.
“In their first years, you could tell good things were about to happen. ... When assembled as a band, whether behind closed doors in the band room or at a state competition, simple things began to matter. They went out of their way to support each and every student emotionally, musically and, yes, sometimes financially in a quiet manner. This endless discipline and personal dedication has gained them the hearts of every senior who has ever graduated as part of their band family.”
I count myself as very lucky to have been one of their students...one of their last students. I know I would not be the person I am today without them. They didn't just give me music. They gave me responsibility and confidence in my ability. They never told me that I was incapable of something. Impossible was never a word that came from their mouths. They had faith in me when I had no faith in myself. That means so much. I can never express to them how much their guidance and wisdom has meant to me. I can only type in futility, stand in awe, and pray that my endeavors in the musical field make them proud.
I'm so lucky.
|With Heart and Voice|