I grow when he grows, and I love when he loves

Hello friends, I love my brother a whole lot.

When he told me he was going to join the front ensemble of marching band earlier this year, I was beyond skeptical. I questioned his motives (does he just want to be one of the cool kids?), his ability to learn new things (does he have the attention span for it?), his musical aptitude (why has he become interested in music now?), and above all his capacity to commit to any given activity for more than a few months (was this just going to be another fleeting interest for him?).

Suffice to say, Shawn has shattered all of my preconceptions.

A few weeks ago I was able to make it to Homestead’s annual home show. As soon as I took my seat I received a text from my brother: “Can you see me?” “I’m sitting dead center, yes.”

The entire band and colorguard’s performance was exceptional as always, but what struck me most was the expression of my brother’s face as the music began to swell into its grandiose conclusion. Never before had I seen such passion move throughout him from his elbows to his fingers, and never before had I seen him so happy.

In high school I remember how marching band was frequently compared to a virus, because it takes over you completely. It seems to have done the same for Shawn.

It’s rare to be able to witness people make that transformation from curious wanderer, interested in either everything or nothing at all, to someone who’s grounded, settled into their niche and are ┬áso passionate about it. I, too, have been able to observe my brother in his growth. I remember the first few months of him practicing incessantly anytime and anyplace where there were sticks and hard surfaces, telling me how good everyone else was and how he needed to get better. I compare that to very recently with the major band competitions (the nearly incomprehensible 11pm phone call, “WE WON FIRST PLACE! WE WON FIRST PLACE!”) and that night at the home show when even his bandmates commented later to me that his enthusiasm was infectious.

An activity as immersing and multifaceted as marching band as well as winter percussion itself of course has a hefty pricetag. Even when I was at Homestead. I found it hard to participate in everything I wanted to because of financial limitations. The difference here is that Shawn doesn’t seem like he’s going to let that stop him.

I ask that my friends consider what they loved to do, and continue loving to do. Consider that thing that makes you feel most invigorated, most clear-eyed, and most purposeful.

It would genuinely mean so much to me, Shawn, and my family if you could support my brother in his pursuit of his newfound passion for band in his goal to raise just a third of his total fees. Even a single dollar or a simple Facebook share of his story would be indicative of your support. I’m prepared to match however much he is able to raise by Christmas Eve in order to double his fundraising before the end of the year. This fundraising link can be found right here.

Days when I catch up with my brother are dominated by his excited recounting of the last practice, the upcoming shows, the new piece he’s learned. When I visit campus he takes me by the hand to the band room to show me what he’s been practicing, asking after he’s finished, “Isn’t that beautiful?”

It’s beautiful.

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