Steve Aylward wrote this post as part of our Glassmen alumni blog series. He was a member of the brass section from 1998 to 2002. Below, Steve describes how being a member helped him become a music educator.
Everyone has their own experiences of what the Glassmen meant to them and how the organization impacted their life. I am sure that eventually in this space I will have the chance to talk at some length about it, but as I started to think through this first blog, I made a realization…
I owe my professional life and career to the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps.
This is not meant to diminish anything else in which I have been involved, but I can say with absolute certainty that I would not be where I am today if I had not made the initial trek to Oakshade in November 1997.
For those that may not know me, my name is Steve Aylward, and I marched contrabass/tuba with the corps from 1998 to 2002 and served on the visual staff from 2005 to 2007. Currently, I serve as the band director at Miamisburg HS just south of Dayton, OH.
I was fortunate enough to march and teach with the corps through some very successful years and was influenced by some amazing teachers. To get to work under brass teachers such as Frank Williams, Larry Markiewicz, the late Bill Kellerman, Chris Allen, Chad Miller, and visual instructors such as Reggie Adams, Joey Wever, Jon Bay, Lee Engle, Eugene Tuttle, and Mark Palise (among countless others) was truly special. Beyond that, getting to see such brilliant designers and instructors such as Sal Salas, Michael Cesario, Lee Beddis, and Colin McNutt has done more for me than I ever thought possible. But it was an encounter with one high brass instructor that changed my life forever.
In 1999, I was approached by the soprano tech Ryan Borger to come work with his high school marching band at Kettering Fairmont High School near Dayton. I had not worked directly with Ryan a great deal in the summers of 1998 and 1999, but I enjoyed having him as an instructor. Still, I wasn’t sure what he saw in me or what drew his attention to me, other than that I was a guy who marched, live in the general area, and knew how to play tuba a little bit. It was only then that I realized the doors that the Glassmen would open for me.
I joined the Fairmont staff in the fall of 2000, teaching visual and low brass, and had a great time. In the summer of 2001, Ryan was no longer teaching corps, but he called to tell me that he had accepted the position as band director at Miamisburg HS, and again, asked me if I would join his staff. I did not hesitate, and spent the 2001 and 2002 seasons teaching the Miamisburg band as a low brass and visual instructor.
Then, in the spring of 2003, Ryan called me again, this time to inform that there was a band directing position opening in Miamisburg, conveniently coinciding with the completion of my degree. In a market where most music educators struggle to find opportunities, I actually had someone calling me to ask me to interview for a job! I interviewed and accepted the position as assistant band director. Four years later, Ryan moved on to a new opportunity in Georgia, and I am currently in my 8th year as the band director here at Miamisburg.
While teaching, I did have the opportunity to go back onto staff with the Glassmen, serving on the visual staff. Again, I had the opportunity to learn more than I ever thought possible from an amazing group of teachers, such as Pat Miller, Shane Denu, Todd Clevenger, Justin Presley, and Tim Newburn (again, plus countless others). I use their techniques EVERY DAY in my classroom.
I have known since the seventh grade I wanted to be a band director. I never knew how it would happen. Because of the Glassmen, a kid from a small school you’ve never heard of outside of Cincinnati got to travel the world, perform for hundreds of thousands, and make friends for a lifetime. But most of all, the organization opened doors for me that I would have never seen and put me in the place where I am today. I can never express my gratitude enough.
I am very excited to enter this space and plan to update frequently. If there is anything that you would like to discuss (or just want to say hello!) please do not hesitate to contact me at SteveA222@yahoo.com
We sing now as family, to you…
This post is part of our alumni blog series. If you’re interested in contributing, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.