14 February 2012

Hall of Famer

I mentioned yesterday that I’m a little ambivalent about celebrating Valentine’s Day. As with all holidays besides Christmas, I don’t really do special decorating or crafts. And regarding Valentine’s Day in particular, it feels a bit silly to make a big deal of it, because I’m married to an amazing man worthy of more than all the love and praise I could possibly lavish upon him any day of the year.

Which is why setting apart a single day to talk about how great he is feels a little weird. He is great every day, you guys. And he deserves to be treated like it’s Valentine’s Day every day, so that’s what I try to do.

So that’s why I’m going to tell you today about another man who had my heart for a very long time before Mr. P nabbed it: my dad.

My dad was the Director of Bands at the university in the small college town I grew up in. And a few weekends ago, he was given a lifetime achievement award for his work in music education and inducted into the local band directors’ association Hall of Fame. Very cool, right? Here’s a snippet from the program:

I know! And the award was to be presented at the big clinic band concert at the end of a big conference weekend, all held at the convention center in Memphis. Not quite the level of a Nobel Prize, but a big deal and a great honor nonetheless.

But see, my father died when I was a senior in high school (I am the redheaded step-child, after all) so unfortunately he wasn’t around to accept this great honor in person. Instead, the former student who nominated him got in touch with my mother, so that we could be there and I could accept the award on his behalf.

And you guys, it was so nice. The association put my mother and I up in the downtown Memphis hotel where the convention was taking place so that we could attend a reception on Friday night in addition to the award presentation at the Saturday afternoon concert. So, after my class on Friday, I drove four hours to Memphis for the reception, met my mom, and headed to the reception. It was held in a suite on the top floor of the Marriott, and was very fancy with hors d’oeuvres and wine that which made up for the fact that we couldn’t get there by elevator because it was on the penthouse level and instead we had to climb a bunch of stairs with my mom’s formerly busted ankle.

None of that, though, was as nice as getting to see old family friends (with thanks to my mom, for this photo and the next two):

As a university band director, my dad not only became professional friends with the local high school directors – they were often his former students, who became family friends. So there were lots of familiar faces to see and talk with, including some of the younger generation of band directors that I went to college with.

On Saturday morning, my mom and I went to the concert hall:

Which, by the way, was a rather large and fantastic hall, as concert halls go:

Before the last honor band played its set, my mom and I went backstage for the presentation (so all the following photos are thanks to this generous man, who took photos for the award recipients). When it was time, I went out on stage and listened to some very lovely things being said about my dad:

And I said a few (very few) things too (not very well):

Then I got the honor of receiving my father’s lifetime achievement award, and then stood not at all awkwardly (totally awkwardly) to the side while the other recipients received their awards:

After all the recipients (or on-behalf-of-recipients, like me) received the award, the speaker asked for one final round of applause... which became a standing ovation, from an audience composed mostly of band students, band parents, and band directors in the region. Many of those students probably have performed, or will perform, in one of the events that my father created. It was very moving. I tried to take it all in on behalf of my dad as well, because he really, really deserved it.

The lovely weekend was then topped off with a late lunch with my in-laws, who live nearby. That’s right, they met my mom and me for lunch without Mr. P. Because I’m not only the daughter of a great man married to a great man... the rest of my family is pretty great too.

So on this Valentine’s Day, I’m reflecting on how much love I’ve received – and how I’m fortunate to give so much love in return! Much love to you, dear readers. Hugs and kisses.


Christal said...

what an amazing thing! You come from very talented stock...which is no surprise based on your own many talents!

Tina said...

Thank you, my Dearheart! I'm sharing on Facebook, ok? OK. ;-)

SLee said...

Thank you so much for sharing this Sarah! Your father was truly a talented man who was very deserving of this great honor. My years as his Drum Major are some of my fondest college memories. Thank you for sharing some great pictures and as always, you and your mom looked beautiful.
Sharon Paschall Lee

Shanna said...

I think that's pretty fabulous!!! Congrats to your whole family! :)

michaelt said...

Nice. What a great honor for DA, as we used to call him in High School. Also a nice memory for you. Thanks for posting, I wouldn't have known otherwise.

All the Best