Waxahachie High School Band Director Rich Armstrong visited the Rotary Club to explain the bands’ excellence and how they became winning organizations. Developing the desire to be the best you can be and working toward the goals are very important.

There are about 700 students in the band programs in grades six through 12. Next year, Armstrong expects the number to be 800. They are not expected to pay for their classes and experience as they would be in some school districts. This means that anyone with the desire to succeed can be part of the program.

During the past 10 seasons, the marching or concert bands have been to the state finals nine times. To help with this process, there are two music teachers at each school beginning in the sixth grade and a percussion director who visits each school. These teachers get complete support from the district and school staffs to help reach their goals. The students are expected to play at the professional level by high school.

Armstrong returned again and again to the importance of work ethic. To paraphrase a Biblical passage, “And these three remain: talent, intelligence and work ethic. But the greatest of these is work ethic.” Not exactly his words, but they clearly illustrate his thinking. He says a talented person can fail. An intelligent person can fail but the person with work ethic will figure out a way to succeed. He will work hard for a result that may take a long time to come.

He said the band works longer than the sports teams in the hot summer sun in the parking lots. The state regulates how long a sports team can practice and under what conditions but there are no such regulations for bands. If the sports teams were allowed to practice longer they would also increase performance. Work ethic equals success.

Characteristics of a great band member? Talent, intelligence, repetition, accountability and work ethic – and the greatest of these is work ethic.

For more information about the Rotary Club of Waxahachie, where we believe in Service Above Self and doing things as a club we cannot do alone, visit the club website at www.waxahachierotary.org. You can find American flag subscription forms there. Cow Creek Country Classic bike ride information will be there soon. The bike ride will be June 25.