LETTERS TO THE LETTER — November 18, 2010

Reader thanks Rockford Community for support

Dear Editor,

I want to express my sincere gratitude to all of those in the Rockford community for their continued support of my family during my wife’s four-year battle with Melanoma Cancer, who passed away on Saturday, October 30, 2010. I especially want to thank ALL of the families, teachers and staff at Roguewood Elementary, Roguewood PTO, the Rockford Spanish Immersion Program, as well as White Pines Montessori for their selfless acts of kindness while their mother fought this courageous battle. I am honored to live in such a wonderful and caring community as Rockford.

Joe Anderson

Thanks to Brian Phillips—Rockford’s unsung hero

Dear Editor,

In these times of economic stress, jobs lost and larger class sizes in our school district, I would like to take the opportunity to shine the spotlight on one of the district’s unsung heroes: Brian Phillips.

Mr. Phillips is the Director of Bands for Rockford Public Schools. He doesn’t make a lot of money. His budget is not of a grand magnitude. And he does not receive a fraction of the recognition he deserves.

Mr. Phillips is a teacher who, every day, single-handedly guides, shapes and ultimately transforms students in grades nine through twelve. Yes, he has instructors who join him on the practice field on Monday nights. The instructors serve as support staff to Brian’s daily teachings. The instructors are responsible for guiding particular groups in the band, be it flutes, clarinets, drum line or low brass. But it is Mr. Phillips who teaches all of these students, all 224 of them, on a daily basis, with no assistance. He teaches them leadership, respect, integrity, honor, pride, responsibility and that not-so-small task of playing an instrument flawlessly while moving about on a football field with exact precision. All of these things are imparted to the students through Brian’s use of humor, clarity, kindness and ultimate expertise. He is modest, humble and always turns the spotlight back on the students. Without Mr. Phillips, however, we would not have achieved the ranking of “best marchers” in the entire state of Michigan, along with placing third amongst marching bands from all over the state Saturday, Nov. 6, at Ford Field in Detroit. This was our second year in a row of taking third place and that is a school record.

Other bands rehearse countless hours, use elaborate props and have enormous budgets. None of them compare to the Rockford High School Marching Band and the reason is singular: Brian Phillips.

Amelia Bean, Band parent since 2006
Rockford resident

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