The Little Band that Could

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The Little Band that Could Powered By Docstoc
					ould
  Carol Agler & Dan Kelley
  of the Ohio State School for the Blind



                   T      he 2010 Tournament of Roses Pa-
                          rade in Pasadena, California was
                          one for the ages. The Rose Parade is
                          one of the world’s most prestigious
                   marching band venues, with incredible
                   performances being almost common-
                   place. Yet, this year, the music provided
                   by one of the smallest marching bands in
                   the Parade’s over-120-year history cre-
                   ated a buzz that rippled across the coun-
                   try. Sure, the fact that the marching band
                   from a small school in Ohio had only 32
                   members was significant, but that’s not
                   what people were talking about. For one,
                   the students in this marching band are
                   blind. And, two, these kids could play.




                          School Band and Orchestra, March 2010 25
     The story behind the Ohio State       didn’t even know about! Once I found        perintendent, returned to school, he
School for the Blind’s unlikely par-       those, I asked if I could revive the band   told me about the meeting and said,
ticipation in that great event goes back   program.” It turns out that there had       ‘Wouldn’t that be cool?’ And I said,
about a dozen years, when Carol Agler      been a band director who had retired        ‘Yes! That’d be cool! I can’t think of
began her tenure as the school’s music     13 years prior and was never replaced,      anything more cool than that!’ And
director. Agler initially studied music    leaving a choral director to maintain       he said, ‘Wait, you mean you’d do
education at Ohio State University and     the music department until Agler’s ar-      it?’ And I said, ‘Sure. I always wanted
had taught at a regular high school for    rival.                                      these kids to have what a typical high
several years before leaving to start a       When Carol discovered those in-          school would have. Of course I’ll do
family, during which time she contin-      struments, she started a pep band and a     it.’ Meanwhile, the secretary at the
ued performing, teaching private les-      jazz ensemble to augment the school’s       time was going, ‘Carol, Carol, just
sons, and working with an area choir.      existing choir and general music pro-       think about that for a minute. Look,
She ventured back into schools in the      gram. The next dramatic step for the        you already do all of this stuff – Carol,
                                                                                                          learn to say no!’”
                                                                                                              Later that same

“Music for the blind is like color for the sighted world.”                                                night, some logisti-
                                                                                                          cal     complications
                                                                                                          gave Agler pause. “I
                                                                                                          was thinking about
1990s, this time around focusing on        music department took place seven           it,” she says. “I had nine kids in my
teaching music to students with dis-       years later. “In the spring of 2005,        high school band at the time, and five
abilities. “When I joined [the Ohio        the superintendents of the deaf school      of them played keyboard. How was I
State School for the Blind] in 1998,       [The Ohio State School for the Deaf]        going to pull this off? I didn’t have any
we were doing a show that involved a       and the blind school [The Ohio State        marching drums. So I went to Lou the
mariachi scene for a holiday concert,”     School for the Blind] were meeting          next day and asked how it was going
Carol recalls. “Someone suggested,         and going over their next year’s plans.     to work because we didn’t have any
‘Why don’t you use real trumpets in        The deaf school superintendent said         equipment. He told me that he could
that scene? We’ve got them.’ And I         that they were going to revive their        get me some drums, no problem, and
said, ‘What? We have instruments here 
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Agler initially studied music education at Ohio State University and had taught at a regular high school for several years before leaving to start a family, during which time she continued performing, teaching private lessons, and working with an area choir. In the spring of 2005, the superintendents of the deaf school [The Ohio State School for the Deaf] and the blind school [The Ohio State School for the Blind] were meeting and going over their next year's plans. [...] both of them thought out loud, 'Boy, it would be kind of cool if the blind school provided the marching band for the deaf football team, wouldn't it?' So when Louis Mazzoli, the blind school's superintendent, returned to school, he told me about the meeting and said, 'Wouldn't that be cool?' And I said, 'Yes!
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