In 1990, my future in music education hinged upon one very important day.
The day that I went for my audition at Ohio Northern University.
Yes, I had already been accepted into the school, but I had to go before the dean and play a prepared piece for him. Thankfully, my years attending band camp there had prepared me for meeting Mr. Williams, the dean of music, and the song I was going to play was one of my favorites, a piece I had worked on for probably the past year or more.
The audition went well, I had the support of a good friend who had accompanied that day, and when all was said and done, the school offered me a scholarship.
This was to be my final step in a very long walk toward a future in music. A journey that began in 5th grade with the decision to play the flute, followed by a decision to begin private lessons which continued on through my senior year. Mrs. Gallehue was a very patient woman for having to put up with me in school as a student and also as her private student for all of those years. Years of teenage attitude, refusal to practice despite needing to, shamefully pretending I had practiced when it was obvious that I hadn't, playing just to get through a piece and hoping to move on to something new and exciting.
Her husband, Mr. Gallehue, reaffirmed my music education within school as well. As my high school band director, he pushed just hard enough, put me in my place when I got too big for my own good, and made everything about the music program at Edon High School rewarding for everyone. Between the two of them working together for years covering every aspect of the music department, those of us who were looking forward to a future in music had opportunities opened to us.
Even though the scholarship I was granted was a generous one, there was no way I would be able to afford to go to school at Ohio Northern without going into a major amount of debt, and I opted to give up on that dream. So I did the next best thing, I found a job at the local "educational music" store - the store that sold music and instruments to all of the school districts in the area. Not my favorite job of all time, and it still makes its way into my dreams that I may have to one day go back to work there, but it kept me in touch and close with what I loved. Music in schools.
(And there will be no discussion of a certain band director coming in posing as a doctor wanting to buy a drum set and a guitar, just to make me squirm in my sales abilities. Well there may have been another reason...as in I was being SET UP...but that story is and will remain tucked away in my childhood diary from 20 years ago.)