November 21, 2007 What is the difference between a good high school band and an exceptionally good high school band? Would you believe 1,648 homemade apple pies?
Last Friday and Saturday the annual apple pie sale of the Imlay City High School Band Boosters was held, and what a fine event it was! The sequence of events started on Friday when the crates of raw apples were peeled, sliced, seasoned and then placed into large plastic tubs and treated to prevent the apples from changing colors overnight.
The apple pie assembly operation commenced in earnest at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday as the cacophony of sounds and the apparent mass disorder was stilled by Paula Gill and Michelle Campbell as they sounded orders reminiscent of my boot camp Marine Corp drill instructors at San Diego. Evidence of having prior experience was apparent as the various "assembly stations" were in place and the initially perceived mass chaos turned into order. The enthusiasm displayed by the parents and students while getting the operation started and throughout the whole ordeal was exceptional.
Someone pushed the 'start button' on the apple pie assembly line and here comes the apple pies in various stages of completion. The seasoned apple filling is poured into containers then hand scooped into preformed pie plates. A square of butter is placed on top and the "assembly" is further pushed down the line. A flat piece of dough (shaped somewhat like an oversized tortilla) is placed on the unfinished pie and pushed further down. The dough is crimped around the rounded edge of the pie and then pierced four times to allow the apples to breathe during baking. The assembled pie is then plastic wrapped and placed into its individual box, ready for its new owner.
Every pie made had been pre-sold, which reflects the sound planning, the orderliness and the seriousness of the purpose of the band booster event. While the dialogue among parents and students was light-hearted and flippant, no one lost sight of the job at hand. Cooperation was expected and received from all those participating, which was especially demonstrated in the cleaning up of the school's auditorium where the pies were made. Sticky, gooey apple pieces and equally gooey leftover dough littered the floor and tables soon to be used for parent-teacher conferences. With the school's custodian carefully watching and prepared to finish the job, the band boosters and students promptly cleaned up a mess that can only be made preparing 1,648 apple pies. Mission accomplished!
What is the difference between a good high school band and an exceptionally good high school band? Efforts such as these and other personal sacrifices by concerned parents and other members of a close-knit community should be considered a clue.
It's apparent that the parents and others dedicate whatever time and resources it takes to the young people that will someday take their place in the community or elsewhere in this great nation. The auditorium was occupied by take-charge people that were serious of intent and the intent was paramount: The firm and quality education of their children. These parents were not waiting for government handouts, but rather they were doing what has to be done, now, within the school system to assist in raising their child.
Some parents return here from far away urban areas seeking better opportunities for their children's education. Others simply take over their parent's farm when their parents can no longer maintain it. Is it the farmer's work ethic or the small town camaraderie that makes a parent do what I witnessed last weekend? How do you describe a weather-beaten face and leather-like calloused hands sitting next to a middle school aged girl with a clarinet in her hands about to go on stage? Let there be no mistake about it, the parents of the younger generation of the Imlay City community have one course of action in mind, and that is the love and nurturing care of their children. What a magnificent and noble role they play!