This weekend I discovered I had several text messages I had not checked. I have a cell phone but I am not as dependent on it as the rest of the world is. The text messages were from one of the neatest former students, Marlyn Strickland, a 2009 graduate of Beavercreek High School.

Marlyn, ready to enter his sophomore year at The Ohio State University, majoring in music education, sent this text on July 17th:

“Hey Darin! I was just curious how busy you would be on August 2nd. The corps I’m marching in is coming to Centerville’s show. It’d be awesome if you could come.”

July 30th, he sent a second text asking if I could come see him at Soaring Sounds in Centerville.

Sunday, I found his message and responded that I would make it out there to see him, and by golly I did.

Marlyn Strickland - a sweaty Scout

Maryln is marching with The Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps this summer. During the fall he is one of those marching buckeyes at OSU – and since Fairmont’s marching band will be heading to OSU this fall for a competition, I will get to see Marlyn perform with OSU.

When the Madison Scouts finished performing – to a rousing burst of excitement from the audience – I found Marlyn’s family by the Elk bell tower. It was great getting to see Linda and Mark, his parents, and to meet his grandparents, sisters, and other family members. As the Scouts passed by from their post show meeting, Marlyn approached, and as a former teacher, it is always great when your kids get those big excited smiles when they see me.

Marlyn came to me his junior year to study voice, piano, and music theory. We also covered conducting, arranging, and basic teaching concepts. Within a few months, Marlyn was quite skilled at arranging and had several pieces performed. In fact, one arrangement was performed by a college band! Marlyn’s one hour lesson was seldom under ninety minutes each week. We were always absorbed in the material being covered, and always had a great time working together.

August 2009, Marlyn was one of 24 students to leave the studio. 23 of the students were heading off to college to major in music education or performance, or musical theatre. Although there were 24 students, there 41 lessons leaving as many had doubled on piano/theory to prepare for college. I love all my students but Marlyn was that one exceptional young man that was already on the wave length as most college sophomores.

I am confident he will be a sensation in music education, arranging, and anything else he pursues in music.

Marlyn, I am so proud of you!

Marlyn with his parents and sister

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