If I Contact You in November, It’s Not Spam and I’m Not Selling Anything! Reply ASAP!

Mike Lawson • Perspective • November 1, 2019

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I can basically recycle this November editorial every year now, with a few modifications. The message is the same. So, allow me a little self-plagiarizing, if you will.

In our December issue of SBO, we will feature our 50 Directors Who Make a Difference issue for the 22nd time. That’s 1100 band directors nominated for this recognition from every state in the union. Personally contacting 50 band directors during the busiest time of year as they prepare for marching in parades, holiday concerts, football game performances, and more is a chore. You’re all exceptionally busy, and we appreciate that. We are also trying to bestow a great honor and make you a member of an exclusive club, as one of The 50 Directors Who Make a Difference.

We have to make this happen in the span of about three weeks. First, our editorial team has to review all of the submissions, and there are hundreds of them. Then we have to make our final selections based on the submissions. Then we have to vet the submissions by searching Google and making sure that the director is in good standing in the community, or is still teaching in the state where they were submitted. And once that list is compiled, we then have to contact them, the school administrators, superintendents, school secretaries, the person nominating, and get out an email (and a Priority Mail letter) to each director notifying them of the selection.

We ask for a photo and three questions to be answered. We keep a running, color-coded spreadsheet of who was mailed, who replied, who sent their questions and photo back, and do a very hands-on process, all within a couple of weeks to try to get the info returned, compiled, and edited, all before travel to the new season of MEA shows start. So please, if you are notified of your selection in the 22nd Annual 50 Directors Who Make a Difference issue, have mercy on me! Reply, send me the answers to the questions and a headshot, and then sit back and bask in the warm glow of a job well done!

This honor is coming from your students, your students’ parents, your administrators, your colleagues, your boss, your assistant director, your school superintendent, and others who think you are awesome.

Excuses I get each year:

• I thought it was SPAM, so I deleted it.

• I thought you were trying to sell me something.

• I was just getting to that

There are typically one or two directors who tell me “No, I don’t want to promote myself.” You’re not. The person(s) who took the time to do so the thorough nomination is promoting you. Let them. They like you. They really like you. I will be calling you, your school, your school secretary, your principal and vice-principal, your school board, and superintendent’s office, if I don’t hear back right away. You are going to be honored by SBO in this very special anniversary issue, and by those who submitted your name with their heartfelt letters, whether you like it or not! So again, please, if you hear from me this month, open the email, or letter, and reply right away so I can put this massive issue to bed on time, and maybe even put myself to bed on time. It’s kind of a big deal.

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