Message to Decatur Bands

This has been and incredible, fantastic and bittersweet year.  The Decatur Bands are the best they’ve ever been, and continue to improve every time I hear them.  Their performances at Disney earned high respect and very complimentary remarks from audiences and Disney cast members alike.  The final Jazz Band performance after the graduation ceremonies promises to be a truly great celebration and a tribute to everyone’s hard work.

As this school year draws to a close and my youngest graduates, so too does my time as Decatur Band Boosters president (and there was much rejoicing).  It has been a fantastic experience, both challenging and rewarding.  I have had the pleasure of getting to know many great parents and band supporters, and even more outstanding students.  I have worked with four different directors and have seen our band at both the trough and the crest of the wave, and I truly believe Mr. Chang is the best fit and will continue to lead and inspire Decatur Bands to even higher levels in years to come.

As I exit my current roll, I would like to share a parting thought with all of you.  I lost my mother a few weeks ago.  Although not totally unexpected, it has caused me to pause on occasion and reflect on some of the gems of wisdom I received from my parents.  One that remains in the forefront of my mind is “Leave it better than you found it”.

I used to hear that a lot as a kid.  “Leave it better than you found it” my father would often say.  I used to think he was talking about my room, or when I borrow the car, or after making something in the kitchen.  And to be honest, that’s probably exactly what he was referring to.

But with time comes clarity.  Over the years this simple phrase has expanded for me way beyond just cleaning stuff up.  It has become an overarching concept and almost a life philosophy.  Leaving it better than you found it means helping someone who looks like they could use it without being asked.  It means giving your best effort every time.  It’s random acts of kindness.  It’s working with others for the benefit of all.  It’s drawing people in instead of shutting people out.  It means bringing joy and happiness to those around you.   I’ve seen all of these qualities in Decatur Band students over the years and especially during this year’s Disney tour.  This is what makes the Decatur Band so exceptional.

In closing, I hope that I am leaving the Decatur Band program better than I found it.  I KNOW that Decatur Band parents, teachers and especially students have left me a better person than they found me.

My sincere gratitude to all I have worked with and for over the years.  It has genuinely been an honor and a privilege.

Brad Johnson
President Emeritus
Decatur Band Boosters