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Much news lately has been depressing and anxiety-provoking, and it is sometimes hard to find a reason for hope. I found one this past Saturday as I had the privilege of attending a band competition in Plainfield, Illinois, where the local schools of Geneseo and Rock Island competed. I witnessed hundreds of high school students displaying discipline, precision, musicianship, and cooperation in artistic and impressive ways. Many of these young people had been learning and practicing from home for over a year and finally were able to come together this summer to rehearse and to polish their shows for competition and performance at their high schools’ football games. And what a show they put on for spectators! Both Geneseo and Rock Island’s bands were musically inspiring and visually stunning. Their shows, as well as the shows from schools in the suburban area, told meaningful and moving stories. Both Geneseo and Rock Island took home well-deserved awards for their performances. Credit goes to the staff who guide the high-schoolers, the administration who support their efforts, as well as the parents and other volunteers who help the shows come together. The ones who really make it happen, however, are the students who work so hard to practice on and off the field. It gives us reason to celebrate, to rejoice, and to hope.

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