By Nathan Okey, grade 12
Band at Arrowhead is a complicated endeavor. At times it seems as if the only positive things in a day are Mr. Polancich’s classic dad jokes. Even though each and every band member winces and cringes a little at them, deep down, they make all the difference in the world.
Walking into the jazz room every day, I will do one of three things: look for equipment to set up, music to hand out, or start practicing (I apologize for not using a practice room earlier). I try to help the ensemble before I even get my instrument out because I feel as if it is more important to Mr. P and the ensemble to move the handful of chairs than it is to practice for the five minutes spent. In my mind, class time spent moving chairs is class time wasted. I feel as if the five minutes of his comments, advice, critiques, or even jokes are worth every second.
I hear horror stories about the other ensembles, how unprepared the students think they are, how is Mr. P going to handle the concert, and then I think, He’s got this, because frankly, he has done this for so many years, conducted so many concerts, holding each ensemble to their own high standards.
They say patience is a virtue, but I think that he took that virtue and turned it into an entire mindset, a lifestyle even. It pays dividends in the ensembles, he understands that those who try their hardest but still struggle are on the path to success. Mr. P also understands that those who aren’t necessarily on that same path can be guided with some care and patient teaching.
How he has managed to keep track of all the ensembles this year, and not lose all of his hair is simply a feat of nature. Coordinating bands at both campuses, managing repertoire, extracurricular ensembles, concerts, his own musical career, taekwondo, and caring for a family, is a very powerful and inspiring endeavor.
Over the past four years, you have been a true role model. You have shown that someone can be truly happy and grateful to be at work. You radiate infectious positivity in your work, which makes each and every class more enjoyable.
The true product of your work is making band possible for each and every one of your students, the great music is merely a byproduct.