History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Let's elevate music rather than sports

Last spring we attended two major instrumental music concerts at Morris Area High. The cavernous Morris Area concert hall is of course a wonderful backdrop for this. I couldn't have dreamt of such a facility when I was a kid.
I actually performed at what we have come to call "the old elementary auditorium." That of course has been closed for several years. The old art deco auditorium is set to be razed with the rest of that mess, probably for a cost that will go beyond whatever was estimated.
I put "old elementary auditorium" in quotes because for most of its history, it served all public school grads. If you peruse an old "Iwakta" at the dentist's waiting room, you see that "the old school" was once proudly put forward as "Morris High School."
I remember as a kid attending track meets at the football field area.
The music concerts we attended this past spring got me realizing just how beneficial and healthy these programs are. It would be nice to see less drop-off in participation in band through the years (i.e. as a given grade gets older).
We hear so much about sports. There is a "sports section" in the newspaper, suggesting sports is worthy of such great focus. We see parents wearing those pins on their shirts with photos of kids wearing their sports uniforms. It's nice for parents to be proud of their kids participating in whatever activity. The problem with sports is that it rewards the biggest, strongest, fastest and best-coordinated kids, with these attributes in many instances (at least) being God-given, not so much nurtured through learning and commitment.
A kid can find his place in band without being big, strong or fast.
I think the media defer to sports largely because they ape what they see at the macro level. So many of us follow the Twins and Vikings. If the Star Tribune has a sports section, such a section must be apt for our local paper. We might not stop to think that big-time sports, even Division I college sports, exists in a world apart. It can be brutal and unforgiving for the participants, with much of that pain out of view. Youth sports in our communities are on a totally different plane. Is it healthy? Football definitely isn't.
All the empirical evidence suggests football should simply be pushed aside. Would it be hard? Let's just substitute soccer. Soccer would attract a lot of boys are aren't capable, or who aren't interested, in knocking the teeth out of an opponent. Football has tremendous legacy momentum behind it. That's the biggest problem now. The general population loves consuming football. The answer might come when lawyers and insurance companies eventually do their thing. I think they can be counted on to do that. Don't leave it for the "fans" to show wisdom.
Parents of junior high-age boys will eventually show the wisdom. Parental instincts of love and protection will overcome that legacy power of football. If we don't see signs of this starting this fall, then my faith in humanity will have been reduced.
Attending band concerts is so enlightening. It's such a gentle and obviously enriching activity. It deserves more attention and promotion relative to sports.
We see more and more communities developing artificial turf football facilities. The reason a game was shifted from Sauk Centre to Morris last fall, was Sauk Centre's process of installing their artificial turf field. Can these fields be easily converted to soccer? And even if they could be, is there any reason soccer can't just be played on glorious green grass? Will these communities, once the artificial turf fields are in place, exert pressure to ensure enough boys keep coming out for football to ensure viability of the sport? They will have a vested interest in the sport.
Alert: There will be pushback from the lawyers and insurance companies. What an unnecessary conflict to see unfolding. Can football really be changed to make it sufficiently safe? The pundit George Will is skeptical. Are referees really prepared to throw penalty flags for tackling too low or making helmet-to-helmet contact? Don't a lot of these calls require tremendous subjective judgment? Don't football players make moves that are lightning-fast and impulsive? Can a player hold back on making a play a certain way, when they know that "way" makes a difference in terms of preventing or scoring a touchdown? At the pro level, can we count on refs throwing the flag when Adrian Peterson puts his head down at the end of a 30-yard run?
Hasn't there been resistance in hockey to efforts to try to make the game safer? Wasn't there a tussle about rules adjustments in the wake of that kid in the Twin cities who got paralyzed? Paralyzed! Really, should we as a society court any risk at all, of this kind of tragedy happening in an organized activity for kids, an activity having the community's imprimatur?
We hear about all the controversy at Morris Area High over a ban on hats. Maybe something else should be banned.
Let's see the humanities accented instead of sports. In the past this suggestion would be pie in the sky - nice in theory but not attainable, because we get such obvious thrills from sports. I say, the spectators be damned. We as a society have to move forward. I think it's happening, albeit slowly.
In the meantime let's celebrated band and pack the Morris Area concert hall! We're looking forward to the fall concerts.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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