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A Year in Reflection


Dr. Michael Nickens reflects on the past year and what it has meant to the Green Machine Ensembles

In early March of 2020, we put our equipment away and went home. Uncertainty permeated everything. We made hard choices and we got them right: people stayed safe. We figured out how to meet using our computers. We followed guidelines of small gatherings. We continued to explore, design, develop, and create. We continued to be a band any kind of way we could figure out. We continued to celebrate the composite of our collected uniquenesses, the intersections that comprise each individual, and the chemistry that makes the magic. We continued to learn, and support each other with both nostalgia and dreams of what will come.

We missed each other. We missed the rehearsals, the games, the ceremonies, the trips, the meals, the performing.

The way we have worked together all along helped us through the changes. We already know so much about who we are, how strong we are, and how to recognize that strength in ourselves, and each other, because of how we work together. The loss of our normal patterns demanded we dig deep. Through so much isolation, we found each other, and ourselves, again and again.

As it is said, “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” we have found ways that is true for us: The Green Machine Ensembles have relied on our dreams, our optimism, our tenacity, our flexibility, our curiosity, our creativity, our passion, our vision, to continuously surpass expectations and reveal that more is possible, and worth pursuing. This is nothing new. And as our reality continues to shift, it becomes evermore obvious that we have always successfully navigated uncertainty, and thrived despite so many of our circumstances.

We will continue to do so, and continue to punch well above our weight. Because the Green Machine transcends our mandate to be a band that performs at basketball games.  We fully embrace that mandate but deliver so much more because of our undeniable truth.

The Green Machine has always been more than just a band: We are an idea, and a movement. We are here to have fun working hard, and to work hard having fun. The fact that you are reading this means you have some sense of our true power: the courage, the playfulness, the laughter, the joy, the love, the movement, the music.

The time will soon be just right, and it will all come rushing back to life.  We will be there at the front, breathing life back into the campus, the community, and all of Mason Nation.  When I interviewed for the position of “Pep Band Director” all those years ago, I said to the committee “If I’m doing my job right, the band will become part of the team. And if I’m really doing my job right, the whole stadium will become part of the band.”  The stakes now are much higher than any single basketball game.

Sing, dance, and cheer with us! Help us bravely and boldly show the world our pride, our honor  and our might.  Join us in the fight to get our hearts beating at full strength, and join our march onward to victory!

See you out there soon!

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