In Memory

Stephen Walters

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09/30/09 05:25 PM #1    

Greg Mangiapane

I am saddened to learn of Steve's passing. Here's a story about him.

Stephen Walters was the drum major for the Northwood High School marching band. He got to wear the fancy uniform, strut with the baton, and lead the band in the drills at football games, he led the Northwood band in the Thanksgiving Day parade in downtown Silver Spring. But he didn't get that title without a fight !

There was an open competition for drum major, anyone in the band could try out, and I wanted so badly to be the drum major - I could just see myself in that uniform, leading the band down the field. I played trombone in the band. Steve played drums. Our competition consisted of performing precision drills - forward march, right turn, left turn, etc. We had to shout out the commands and perform our drills in front of a panel of judges, using batons we made ourselves.

I remember that I cut off a broom handle, painted it, and I practiced and practiced my drills - I was CERTAIN that I would be chosen drum major !

Eventually the day of the competition came, and four or five guys competed, executing the precision drills for the judges. I was so sure I was the best, I was certain to be chosen. The winner was going to be announced over the school PA system at the end of the day !

Finally, around five minutes to 3:00, there was a PA announcement. The new drum major for the Northwood High School marching band had been chosen - Stephen Walters !

I was crushed. I couldn't believe it, I had worked so hard, I wanted it so badly, and I bore Steve some pretty hard feelings. But, as the year went on, Steve did a really good job as drum major. I came to admire Steve, and I learned a major lesson.

R.I.P. Stephen Walters.

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