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Everything Old is New Again?

Mike Lawson • June 2021Perspective • June 12, 2021

Mike Lawson

So, can it be true? We are going back to some kind of post-COVID possibility? That’s sure what’s on the table right now and wishing it into existence has to be equally met with actions to make it so. It seems a lot of the same people screaming about kids going back to school are the same ones spreading nonsense about vaccines, ranging from they contain a microchip to track you, to they make you impotent, or some nonsense connection to 5G technology, Bill Gates, and other boogiemen they read about in a meme, heard a talking head repeat consistently in the media, ad nauseum. We even had an absolute moron hat shop owner here in Nashville selling peel and stick yellow Star of David emblems with “not vaccinated” written on them recently and touting their soon appearance on trucker caps. If we want to get back to “normal,” these people are not helping, to put it very kindly.

Over 100 million vaccines have been given in the USA so far, alone. Very, very few bad things have come from it. Many good things are coming from it. Infection rates are down dramatically. If we are very lucky, people continue to get vaccinated, including students as it becomes announced that it is safe for them (as young as 12 years old are now approved), we might get this under control.

Sadly, anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, none of them are new under the sun. They’ve been around since masking was discovered to be effective a century ago during a two-year flu epidemic. They’ve been around since vaccines were invented. And you can’t reason with them, typically.

So what can you do? Make sure you get your own vaccinations, that your district has clear policies for those who do not get vaccinated that don’t further the spread and follow the science. Ready or not, school is starting back in a few months. I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic that the variant strains of COVID will be few and swiftly dealt with, that enough decent people with good sense will practice proper procedures to ensure their fellow humans are safe, and we really can get back to business.

Part of this is planning for a “new normal.” Not only does that mean classroom participation for music programs, marching, concert, jazz, modern and all other forms of band, but it means fundraising for your program. It means planning student travel for performances and festivals. That is such a massive part of the health and future of your programs, critical for retention and recruitment. From this issue, in which we spotlight some fundraising companies that responded to my questions about their thoughts on selling to support your programs (these are not paid placements), to each issue going forward, I am going to work diligently to focus on getting student travel back on your radar for whatever the new normal looks like in your district. I am eager to get out of the house myself, go see the performances, sit in and listen to the adjudications, watch the workshops, the parades, and more. On top of that, I’m starting to plan for a lot of travel again to go to state conferences like NYSSMA, OMEA, TMEA, and the MidWest Clinic. I’m looking forward to hearing your groups again, seeing you back in action, helping your students become lifelong music makers, and doing what you love. Stay safe, have a great summer, and get ready to buckle up for a new adventure in your new normal future this fall.

—Mike Lawson, mlawson@timelesscom.com

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