Don't Feed The Plants

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We all know the plotline of the musical Little Shop of Horrors; a man named Seymour finds a plant from outer space that likes to eat meat. At first the plant is small and young and eats a small amount of meat, however when Seymour feeds the plant a large amount of meat, the plant craves so much meat that it gets bigger and nastier than the plant it was before. Now imagine that the plant is a band director of a small or large school, the meat is a large amount of money that is given to the band director by sponsors and Band Boosters. How would you feel if you were a student of this band director and you want money to buy private lessons, a new instrument, or money to even repair your instrument? Then the next day, the director does not use the money to buy things for not the students, but for him. You see the director place a very expensive coffee maker in his room, either that he buys himself a new car, a costly grill for his porch, or even worse a house on the beach or a boat. You might feel worthless and all because a group of Band Boosters gave the director a huge amount of money thinking that he will use the money to give students what they need.

You might ask yourself, who are these Band-Boosters and why are they so gullible to know about the band director not using the money to benefit his own students? Reason why is because most Band-Boosters are the parents of students the band director plays favorites with; the students he thinks will be successful and the ones that in his or her opinion. In addition, they are the wealthiest parents of the band program, sometimes joining a group like this cost up to one-hundred dollars or even more. A common trait of these Band-Boosters is that they are so demanding to their children, and they play a game of Follow-The-Leader with the directors whom are even more difficult to deal with than the child’s parents are. Another way the band director controls these people is like how Dr.Terwilliker controls Bart’s mother Heloise in the 5000 Fingers of Dr.T. They are pompous about where the money is going and like their most successful students they claim that the parents that are Band-Boosters are there most likeable and favorite people. If you are not a Band-Booster, the director will offer you a deal to join the Boosters, if you do not you go down into the unworthy basement dungeon where you are left in the dark while the other parents and students get the most fun out of band.

Another factor in this musical production of Little Shop of Horrors is the money band directors get for going to competitions, and for a band director, winning a competion equals more money from the people who provide the competitions in various states. In addition, the Band Boosters play a role here too; because they support the band director, they fiercely demand that his or her child win a solo ensemble or competition. If the child does not win, then all blame goes to the child or the band director blames the parent. We see a constant cycle like this in shows like Toddlers in Tiaras or Dance Moms only this time it is in the band room, where children should learn about music, and feel that though playing and practicing a very difficult piece that they accomplished something. Instead of making their parents and director happy, should they be happy about playing in band and accomplishing something that they always wanted to achieve?

When I was in my High School band in Davison, I have seen this production play out horrifically, much so that I am not pleased with the attitude of the Davison Band’s director. On every wall, he had trophies that were won at competitions; he treated the concert band as if we were second-class citizens and gave our symphonic band the highest acclaim. So much that he acted as if the students in the symphonic band were his own children or friends. When he was directing the concert band he would make sexist jokes about the female players, yell at people who made a mistake or had a bad playing habit that they had a problem with, but he would tell us to play with joy. Whenever I heard him say that, I felt that he was saying it in a manner that seemed pompous and arrogant, as if he did not care about us. Now that I think about it, I feel very sympathetic for the members of the Davison concert band, and utterly irritated at the people at Davison who tell me that there is nothing wrong with him, and that he is a great man. Right now when I hear about or see the arrogant man, I feel like Beethoven when he first heard that Napoleon, who wanted Beethoven to write a symphony for him, crowned himself King of France. He was so angry that he erased his name, called his third symphony Erotica, and sarcastically labeled it, “a symphony for a great man” when in the end, Napoleon was not a great man, but a very pompous and avarice person who wanted absolute power.

In the end, the Erotica Symphony is considered a great work of symphonic music and a very revolutionary work as well. Therefore, the great man was not Napoleon, a man who gained power for himself, but the real great man in the symphony is Beethoven himself. Beethoven as a child used his music as a way to combat his fears and abuse he experienced, and with his musical talents he persevered amongst all the problems he faced, even as an adult. Some people also saw the symphony as a form of silent rebellion against Napoleon’s control over the French monarchy. We need a form of silent rebellion to concur the greed and misconduct that goes on in school bands; in the end of this production of Little Shop of Horrors, Seymour should stop feeding the man-eating plant. Parents and former band students, I have a message for you; don’t feed the plants, instead, give the money to the students who need it most. That is how you stop the man-eating plant, and save the town, school, or city from being a tasty snack of money the plant will have no control over.





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