Tag Archives: yoemen

Honor band

I was in the band in high school. I played flute. (Go ahead. Throw out your best American Pie joke. I’ve heard them all.) I was a member of the colorguard. I loved every single second of it. Most of my favorite memories of those years are tied to one band event or another, and I took pride in being a member of the band. I learned so much in my years in band. There are many, many elements of my personality and point of view that were molded through the discipline and leadership band demanded of me.

But I’m going to be brutally honest here. The band was the afterthought when I was in school. My years were spent battling for attention from the community, the rest of the school, and even the state as no matter what we did it wasn’t good enough. Membership dwindled. Those of us that cared surely had our moments of wondering why we even tried at times. But then there were those moments when it was magic. And it was those moments that kept you going.

Fast forward to today. My nephew is a member of the high school band, and its a whole different world for him than it was for me. Membership is swelling. There is a pride that you can FEEL when you are in the band’s presence. It is NOTHING like it was when I was there. It’s a bazillion times better, stronger and respected.

The Texas House of Representatives Resolution honoring the Yoe High School Band.
The Texas House of Representatives Resolution honoring the Yoe High School Band.

When I was a member of the Yoe High Band, we couldn’t have even dreamed of being acknowledged by the Texas House of Representatives!

They’ve won at the state marching contest. And, as the resolution reads, they were named the State 2A Honor Band.

These kids… they have talent beyond what I could have dreamed of having cultivated when I was in band. Their band director, Steven Moss, clearly is an amazing leader. He works them hard. But he also treats them with respect and rewards their efforts and successes. From the top-down this band is, in a word, amazing.

Last Friday, I traveled with my parents down to San Antonio, TX, to see the band perform for the Texas Music Educators Association conference. I sat in the front row and was moved time and time again by the performance.

TMEA State 2A Honor Band
TMEA State 2A Honor Band

One of the pieces they performed was commissioned by the band to be written specifically for them. How many bands can really say that has happened for them!? Sure as heck wasn’t going to happen when I was there!

During the performance, they took a moment to honor the band, band director and to thank certain guests in attendance in the audience.

TMEA State 2A Honor Band
Drum Majors accepting the state honor for the band.

They asked all Yoe High alumni in attendance to stand and be recognized for setting the foundation on which these kids have built upon. I’ll be honest, I was a little amazed by this, even as I stood up. I joked later that we set the bar low, so they had no where to go but up. But that was purely my being funny. In reality, I think part of the band being where it is today IS due to our fight in our years to be acknowledged and recognized. We had to go through those years to, today, stand up and go, “HEY! PAY ATTENTION! The band is amazing and deserves all the support and recognition and honors it gets.”

I’m going to piss people off with this. And I don’t care. Texas is a football state. Generally, we Texans will eat, breathe, sleep, drink and live the game. Even if its just armchair quarterbacks.  Its in my blood, and I won’t deny that. But it also makes me downright ANGRY to see the band programs in so many schools get brushed aside to make more money available for the football programs. To hear people suggest a band director should be payed less than a football coach gets me seething mad.

Studies upon studies have been done that prove music helps learning. I know when I was in school, very, very few band students failed out of being able to participate. Show me a band student in college today who didn’t get there through sweat, tears and hard work both with their instruments as well as in the classroom. Whereas just recently CNN did a report about college athletes who read at a 5th grade level.  Think about that for awhile.

I’m not here to point fingers. I’m just here to point out that these students in this band work their fingers off and deserve every bit of attention and respect they’ve gotten… and then some.

Me with my niece and nephew after the concert
Me with my niece and nephew after the concert


I’m so proud of the Yoe High School Band. I’d be proud of them even if my nephew weren’t a member, but its safe to say he’s my favorite member and makes my pride in the band more personal.

Congratulations, band! You have done Cameron, Texas proud. You’ve done yourself proud. You have surpassed everything I could have ever dreamed of doing when I was a member of the band… you amaze me every day and remind me all is NOT lost and there is still a lot of amazing and positive youth in this world. You don’t get to hear about them much, and I’m sorry that is the case. But keep it up, and all the positive accolades will continue to come your way. You deserve it all.

Sending love from your fan and alumni member living in Music City…

Proud to be a Cameron Yoeman

My alma mater competed in the state football championship tonight. Thanks to Fox Sports Southwest, I was able to watch the game online. Thanks to Facebook and Twitter I was able to watch it with fellow alumni, as we all screamed at our computer screens. Jumped up and down. And scared our children (literal for most of them, my cat just stayed far far away).

My Cameron Yoemen lost by 6 points in the last 30 seconds of a game that Hollywood could not have scripted. This game was what Texas High School football is all about. My friend told me via text that this game would be better than any collegiate or NFL game I’d watched all year…

…she was right.

I have always been proud of my alma mater. A school with family history. A school whose traditions so mirrored my college’s that the transition from one to another was seamless. But over time, I’d forgotten. I’d forgotten the adrenaline of a great high school football game. I’d forgotten the pride my school has. I’d forgotten how I am forever a Cameron Yoemen, with a loyalty that I find is hard to find in schools here in Tennessee. (Oh there’s a school pride, so no Nashvillians hang me for saying that. There’s just an almost rabid quality to it back home. There is a reason all the football movies made are set in Texas.)

I found myself glued to the computer screen, literally yelling and cheering for my team. I could hear the band play and found myself chanting old cheers along with the cheerleaders. I was 18 again for awhile.

To any Cameron Yoemen who might stumble upon this blog: HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH. What I watched tonight was the most incredible high school football game I’d ever witnessed. You’ll be back next year, fighting for that state title again. You played an incredible game, an incredible season. I wish I could have been in that high school parking lot in front of the athletic building, right along side dozens of other Yoe fans and alumni, welcoming you back home after a long ride back. You probably spent the ride going over the, “Coulda, woulda, shouldas” but they do no good now. No, now you need to bask in the glow of the best season this school has had in thirty years.

Congratulations, Yoemen. You did the whole Yoe Nation proud… you played an amazing game. Amazing. And when I come home at Christmas, I WILL be getting myself Yoemen swag to wear proudly around Music City… Because you have reminded me of a part of my roots I’d “forgotten” about, a part that I am ready to tell anyone who asks about.