Give A Note board member Renier Fee sat down with Dr. Tim Allshouse for a chat about his programs, goals, and how the community can be involved. We’re grateful for music educators like Dr. Allhouse who provide incredible opportunities for their students through music.
Hi Tim! Welcome to the Give A Note Foundation blog. For those that don’t know you, please give us a brief recap of your musical career.
Thanks Renier. My name is Dr. Tim Allshouse. I received my bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in both instrumental and vocal music education. My masters is from the University of Missouri and my doctorate from the University of Kansas. I serve on the national Advisory Committee for Music for All and I’m active as an adjudicator, clinician, honor band conductor and drill designer.
I’m currently the Director of Bands at Blue Springs High School. The Blue Springs Marching Band has been a Bands of America Super Regional Finalist collectively 24 times in St. Louis, Indianapolis, Atlanta and San Antonio as well as a 3-time Grand National Finalist. The Blue Springs Concert and Jazz Bands have performed at the state music conference seven times in the last fourteen years. The jazz ensemble was the featured entertainment at the prestigious Tournament of Roses Presidential Breakfast, as well as the National School Board Association and the SYTA Convention on two occasions. And the Blue Springs Band Department is a recipient of the prestigious Sousa Foundation Award: The Sudler Shield and is recognized as a national Grammy Signature Music program. Best of all, I get to experience music side-by-side with my daughters in my band program.
This is a great segue to talk about your marching band, The Blue Springs High School Golden Regiment band, who was invited to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade three times, in 2005, 2010, and 2019. That’s an incredible feat. I’m sure you are asked this a lot but what’s the secret to your success?
We have been very fortunate to have had some very special performance opportunities. The cornerstone of our organization is the culture that we hope to develop. Our motto is: “A Culture of Unstoppable Commitment.” Unstoppable commitment at the root means you are “all in—all of the time. Not just when you feel like it. It is a way of life….it is in your blood. Especially when you do not feel like it, it is even more important.” We believe the little things become big things. Removing your hat when you come into the band hall. Being a nice human. Using thank you, please, yes sir/no sir and respecting every individual for who they are and understanding that all of our unique talents come together to make our group. The importance of being teachable is also stressed.
We believe if you take care of the so called “little things” [and we don’t believe they are little] that the big things take care of themselves, and then if you are really lucky, some cool opportunities may occasionally come along. We believe in the process and being the best version of ourselves each day. We want to be able to end the day, the week, the year being able to look each other in the eye: our brothers and sisters in the band, knowing we did everything we could for our family [both on the field/stage and off] because they deserve the best of us.
I don’t think we have ever had the goal of “we must win this” or “we must get invited to that.” It is really special when it happens but that is never the end goal.
It’s clear to me that you have the experience and perspective on motivating kids to give their best. What are the best ways parents can support music programs like yours?
Financial support is important but even more important is the investment of time. Volunteering and being involved. It not only helps with the many projects but when the students see that their parents are invested and believe in the organization then the members buy-in also increases.
One of the many areas the Blue Springs parents are great with is they allow us to teach their kids. Having a teachable spirit as a student and the parents getting out of the way and allowing their child to be taught is critical. Knowing that we can correct a student and have high expectations for them paired with parents that support that method is critical.
How do you see corporations participating?
Corporations can certainly assist financially. Donating items such as water, materials for props, offering to cover the cost of gas, supplying a meal [today’s meal on the road is being donated by HyVee foods], etc. is all important. Having corporations that will set up funds to help students in financially challenging situations or providing private lesson scholarships are all great ways to assist. We love it when our corporate sponsors are visible. Again…the financial support is great but the membership seeing the company fully invested makes the kids know that they are worth it. When HyVee shows up with their trucks and workers and they serve the kids food [for free!] makes a really deep connection and the kids know they matter enough for them to do that!
2020 is around the corner. Can you share your goals for your marching band?
Our goals are always the same: Be the best version of “us” that we can possibly be. Be inventors in the activity. Be the band that people want to come and watch and not leave to get popcorn. One of our goals as a staff is to create something so significant that if we did not exist that it would leave a gaping hole in our community. For example: imagine a World without Disney World! Most importantly: help create an environment where we can develop better humans to send off into the world. We want people to be changed for the better because they were with our organization.
Tim, sincere thanks for chatting with me today. Happy New Years to you and the Golden Regiment!
Same to you!
Renier Fee is a marketing veteran, web-strategist-for-hire, and proud board member of the Give A Note Foundation.