Sunday, October 6, 2013

Lady Band it all started

If you are a band director in the state of California then you may already know a little bit about this because you might have even been there when it all started.

If you are friends with me on Facebook you have LOL'ed one too many times about the many memes that have been posted on my wall since lady band director all started.

This is my best attempt at the story that is "Lady Band Director"

It was an early morning at the California All State Music Education conference or as we like to call it "CASMEC" and it was time for our annual California Band Directors meeting. While its a crazy early morning session and typically not well attended we knew (as someone who is on the conference "special projects" committee) that this year in particular our general session would be well attended because we were going to have our official membership vote to move the conference to San Jose.

The room was packed. There was a long table elevated at the front of the room that our very large board of directors sat on.

I will say this in defense of how and where this story goes....there were more women in the room than one might expect in a room full of band directors and band directing can be a bit of a boys club.  Every one knows this is a male dominated profession but every one also knows that there are a lot more female band directors these days.....or at least I sure feel that way. And I will say that at the beginning of this meeting it felt that way too.

We have a few ladies (not near as many as I think we should have) on the CBDA board. We have a wonderful lady administrative assistant for our organization. Our meeting started out with introductions and some reports as well as introducing our new members and our college band directors in the room....and I will point out that there was presence of ladies being introduced during this time....

And then...then it got real. One of our more veteran band directors got up to give his report. Now I'm going to same this as a disclaimer...this blog is not a rant on what he said. In fact, I honestly am not offended really at what took place next but it did change the course of history a bit and for that I am thankful. The fun, humor, and awareness that these next statements brought to Lady Band Directors everywhere is appreciated so here goes.

He looked out among us all and said "Before I get started I would like to take this opportunity to thank the lady band directors. You all have been doing such good job teaching..." I'm not sure how it ended because that's all I needed to hear.

It got quiet as I remember and we each kind of started looking at each other. Its those kind of moment where everyone is silent but mouthing things like "can you believe he just said that?" And it wasn't just the LBD's scouting out the reactions of the other LBD's in the room. In conversing with other folks it was many people leaning over and saying things like "he might be right but you just can't say that anymore." It was awkward because no one knew what to say or do.

One woman was enraged. She came up to me after the meeting because, yes, I am a lady band director, I'm on the conference committee, and I spoke at the session.  I told her that I too couldn't believe that he said that but I wasn't going to take offense to it because I was not sure exactly what he meant by it. I tried my best to help her see that it probably was an innocent statement by a gentleman who thought he was making a positive and supportive statement. A man who is from a different era and just didn't actually know what would be the proper or appropriate venue to share his enthusiasm and support for the evolution of the profession. Or maybe not. Maybe he meant it a different way.

Or maybe he meant it exactly how he said it. Who knows....and honestly who cares.....because.....what came out of it actually has been worth it. I think what he was trying to say....and if it wasn't then I'm going to take it this that there are MORE lady band directors than there have been before and you know what we ARE doing really great things in music education.

Now most of the folks who read this blog I assume are band directors. We are an odd bunch and when we are together we are like a bunch of caddy school girls so let me tell you it wasn't within 15 minutes that "Lady Band Director" was ALL we could talk about.

Before I could make it downstairs from the first floor to the second floor we had jokes about composing music for "Pieces of Ladies." I had to rush down and have a good laugh with our Lady Administrative Assistant about how we should start having "binders full of women" at our registration area so that when people are voting for things or need assistance they know where to find all the ladies.

And then we had our first meme. These memes and the dialogue for the remainder of the conference was really about how we needed "a lady band director" to do something. This was NEVER implied in the original statement....but that's where we took it because "lady band director" took on a life of its own.

It started with this meme:

Then we returned home. I couldn't help but tell my jazz band. My students have an amazing ability to use lady band director comments at just the right moments. When leaving the stage at the jazz festival "Ms. Bounds that was pretty good for a lady band director. Your band swings pretty hard." I can be heard when I have to put on my heels for a concert "its hard to be a lady band director." And you know what it is but what's not hard is receiving all of these memes posted on my Facebook! Its taken on a life of its own and somehow I end up on the receiving end of a lot of the commentary via text message and the posting of many memes on my Facebook.  A big shout to fellow band director and friend Todd Summers (who didn't even experience the first LBD moment) for never missing an opportunity to create a meme for me. In case we aren't Facebook friends here's a montage of the memes.

They started with:

Then I had some drama with my car so I was gifted with these:

Then I took my Jazz Bands & Combos to Santa Barbara:

Then I celebrated 10 years at my school:
(I believe this meme was brought to us by a fellow LBD)

Most recently we got new marching band uniforms. Naturally Ryan had to share in his enthusiasm for our new uniforms with us:
What has this brought about? A little celebration about being a lady band director, celebrating the differences between our male and female counterparts. We are different. Its not a good thing or a bad thing. Its different. I guess you could say its celebrating diversity. It gives us a platform to enjoy it, something to have a little fun with (and boy do we ever). It gives us lady band directors a little something to talk about. In fact here's a little shout out to me and one of my fellow LBD's who is an avid fan of the memes.
Lady Band Directors are different. We wear dresses and heals. We love making music with kids and we like having a good time doing! So here's to all the LBD's out there and their fan clubs! Celebrate our diversity, enjoy band directing, and most importantly KEEP MAKING MEMES!
Here's the Thrifty Band Director with some of her fabulous students! 


  1. I just found your blog! I, too, am a LBD, and a young one at that. I lol'd at this post because I am about to be the only LBD in my county, and I know those feels. Can't wait to read the rest of your blog. :)

  2. Love this My bestie is an LBD in KY and the misogyny is so real and she slays it daily