2000 – 2003 growth

My time at The King’s Academy (TKA) from 2000 – 2003 saw great growth, but most of that growth was unseen. We were establishing strong roots for the years to come.

I believe that the key to success is developing a plan and then working that plan. If you don’t like your results then you either have the wrong plan, haven’t worked the plan, or you haven’t given the plan enough time. I knew how to rehearse a band and felt confident I could build a positive culture. We just needed time and a lot of hard work.


Our first two seasons together were tough. In 2000 the marching show had to be thrown together at the last minute. Usually I pick a show by March or April and then design all summer. Now I was picking a show in late July and writing in a few weeks for a group of kids that I didn’t know.

And, the kids in the band were rebounding from some negative experiences from the years before I arrived. The previous director had difficulty with the kids. They were in open rebellion. I heard disturbing stories. We were going to have a long journey ahead of us.


2001 marked the first year of buying music that made a complete show. Up to this point I put together shows from separate pieces of music. We didn’t have a theme. A friend used to joke with me and say that my show theme was always, “Three songs I like”.

We bought the rights to perform “Way of the Warrior” by Stephen Melillo. The theme didn’t go any further than the music itself. We didn’t do anything with the performance to make you think about the theme or title of the music.

We were making progress with the group. The students were beginning to understand expectations and were taking pride in their performances.


In 2002 I could feel things starting to come together. I returned to my habit of picking diverse music for the show, and our assistant director suggested a title for the show. “Jazz and Jubilation”.

Our first performance of that show had energy we hadn’t yet experienced at TKA. After coming off the field we pulled the students together. They were hot, sweaty, exhausted and PUMPED! I told them they did well, but I was rewriting the opening sequence of the show. They looked at me like I was crazy, but they had begun to trust me and I had confidence in their ability to do the necessary work.

2002 also marked the first year that TKA competed at the state level. We finished the year in 10th place.


In 2003 the band got a little bit bigger, but was still under 40 members. That didn’t matter. What mattered was we were learning how to practice and perform well. 2003 also marked the first year that the band went to state championships and not to a Bands of America Regional. I felt that we needed to focus on one major performance goal and that would be State Championships.

We ended the season in 9th place. Up one position from the previous year. I was a bit discouraged. But, we were dropping our roots deep and setting up a system and culture that we could rely on for the next 12 years.


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