Happy New Year!

Mike Lawson • January 2022Perspective • January 19, 2022

Mike Lawson

This begins my eighth year at the helm of SBO Magazine, and soon we will make some more announcements about some exciting changes coming your way. As I ease into the role of publisher, that is, running the business of five magazines and all that entails each month, I have been seeking wise counsel and will be making more necessary changes to elevate this magazine’s stature and reach. That means a shift in editors, and I’ve got some great news in that regard that I will make public soon. Over the past near-decade, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know so many more music educators across this great country, and trying to shape SBO into a well-rounded publication that can serve all disciplines, genres, teachers, and makers of instrumental music. It is a big world out there and I’ve learned a lot about it at my time in the helm as editor. My perspective has been from the other side of the podium: that is, the student’s side. OK, former student. It has been from the band parent side. It is also my perspective as a former student who early in life decided that music was a lifelong vocation to pursue. It was never a hobby or arts credit, a club to join, or an activity while in school that would go away after school was over, much like those who excel at sports all through school then never play again. 

I’ve tried to look at the content of SBO from that side of the lens, and hopefully have done a good job conveying that over the years. I’ll be flipping that when I announce the new editor coming on board for SBO, with somebody whose credentials are impeccable from “your side” of the podium, but who has also lived on “my side” of it. 

This month, we have a great contribution as a feature story, written and submitted by a student. She very well could be any of your students, really. Lockport Township High School’s Ryann Dykstra, 17, has played the flute since fifth grade. In the wind symphony, she is principal piccolo. The wind symphony attended the 2021 Midwest Concert Clinic. She has participated in marching band since she was a freshman and finished her senior year as section leader and soloist. Her submitted essay, “The First Real Thing in 18 Months,” details a year and half in the life of a band student dealing with quarantines, the COVID-19 pandemic fallout on her band, her peers, herself, and her experiences in the “post-COVID” (sort of), and most importantly, her discovery of DCI as events began to happen again and the “new normal” was peeking out of lockdown. 

Not only is it an insightful essay, it was unsolicited, and we love that. Some of the best stories we get for the magazine are submitted from readers, through the form on our website. However, it is extremely rare from one to come from a student, let alone a student who writes far and above her grade level. So, Ms. Dykstra, thanks for making our day with the submission, and keep making music. At the end of it all, you’re why we do what we do at SBO Magazine. 

All the best,

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