Vaught's Views: Festival requires teamwork

June 10, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

If sports consistently teaches one thing, it has to be teamwork. No matter what level, the successful sports teams most often are the ones where players put the team first.

Perhaps that's why a veteran sports editor like myself enjoys this weekend's Great American Brass Band Festival so much.

Never, ever confuse me with a music connoisseur. I know a lot more about a football or a basketball than a saxophone or a snare drum.

But this weekend is one where the music takes center stage and helps put the spotlight on Title Town for more than just the championship football teams we have.

This year we've even gotten an early festival preview because Franconian Harmonics Estenfeld, a band from Estenfeld, Germany, has been here since Saturday night. If you have a chance to hear them play this weekend, you won't be disappointed.


Conductor Joseph Stengel - already known as Sepp to the locals - certainly could relate to any coach who has an inexperienced team because about half of his band members are under 18 years of age. Yet my new German friends are begabt (talented), freundlich (friendly) and hoflich (polite), especially for such a verschieden (diverse) group.

They play "Happy Birthday" in a way that lets you imagine being in various countries around the world - and you might even think actor Clint Eastwood is going to show up during one of the numbers.

The band is also loving life in our community and having a chance to experience our culture.

"I love being here," Stengel said. "Everyone makes us feel so welcomed."

That's all part of the Brass Band Festival teamwork.

Several former or current athletes are helping

Of course, there is a sports angle for me this weekend, too. Much of the behind the scenes work is done by a group of student workers - and they are all former or current athletes.

Ian Loughry (football, track), Justin Atkins (football), Patrick Barsotti (soccer, baseball, football), Chris Walker (football, wrestling), Daniel Potts (basketball, track), Frankie Gooch (football), George Williams (football), Jeremy Vaught (football, basketball, baseball), Adam Hoover (soccer), Stephen Dexter (football, tennis), Alex Wagner (soccer, track) and Mario Berry (football, basketball) all are part of this year's work force.

Loughry, Williams and Berry are all playing in tonight's Mid-State Football Coaches All-Star Game at Centre College, but they'll be at work at 8 a.m. Friday putting up the stage for this weekend's Brass Band Festival.

Most of the athletes have put in long hours of practice for demanding coaches in their various sports. However, when they put 125 picnic tables and 1,000 chairs into trucks at midnight Saturday, they get to experience a whole new meaning of a long day.

Then there is the coaching connection. Centre College football assistant David Robertson is a Brass Band Festival mainstay. The former Danville and Florida State football player can do a little bit of everything - a must for a successful coach - and helps solve more problems than most will ever know during our festival weekend.

Combine all these factors and it makes for a music festival even a sports enthusiast can enjoy.

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