Michael Urbaszewski

Mike Lawson • Letters to the Editor • October 6, 2016

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Dear Mike,

I just read your article this morning in the August issue of SB&O magazine. Good article. When I graduated from high school in Chicago back in 1969, I went to college for two weeks and then I realized I needed a change. So, I joined the Marine Corps intending to go to Viet Nam. My father wouldn’t speak to me for two weeks.

While in Marine Corps boot camp I realized I had made a big mistake. During one of our classes, a Marine walked in and asked if anyone knew how to play an instrument. I auditioned with 15 other Marines and I was the only one chosen to play in the Marine field band. I did my four years in the band and attended college in Illinois and received my Bachelors and Masters degrees. After that, I taught for four years in Missouri and got anxious/bored, I don’t know. I joined the Navy band and stayed in for twenty years. I realized I would not be able to support a family on a teacher’s salary. The Navy experience was very good for me. It was amazing what you think you may know about music after college. My Navy experience made me a better teacher because of their belief in education.

I retired in 2004 and began teaching at Holy Cross school and I am still here and I love my job my job. It would not have been possible without the education that I received in the Navy Band. They closed down the Navy Band in New Orleans about two years ago. The musicians were the best. We used them in church services and I would bring them occasionally to my school for concerts and clinics. The most important part about this is, if it weren’t for the military services employing musicians, what would the situation be in our schools. I know of two other Navy musicians that teach in the New Orleans area on a full time basis.

I’m sure their Navy experience made them better teachers.

Michael Urbaszewski,

Retired Navy Chief Musician/Director of Bands, Holy Cross School, New Orleans

The United States Armed Forces music programs provide an invaluable service to our country. Some politicians, particularly those who seem to sit on the right side of the isle, can’t comprehend this and seek to limit and defund the programs. At SBO, we are strong believers in supporting our military music programs. We will continue to pursue comments from the politicians, including Rep. McSally (R) AZ who seek to undermine our great military band tradition. — ML


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