So much about our lives over the past seven months has been turned upside down. It can be overwhelming.

I would like to publicly thank a teacher. And not just as a colleague, but as a parent.

As we began to emerge from our extended spring break, our coaching staff began meeting with the players to prepare for football season. They made every possible concession to the new normal, from wearing masks to sanitization, with plenty of social distancing.

I get distracted easily. I follow tangents such as looking up one fact on the internet, and then winding up clicking every Wikipedia link until I am a thousand steps away from my original intent. Sometimes I wish I’d been made to just put the ol’ nose to the grindstone and appreciate the work itself.

Having said that, our band director, Robby Glasscock, has a workmanlike approach I’ve always admired.

We’ve known each other for most of our lives, and spent the majority of the past two decades working in the same department. That’s a lot of Friday night bus rides, our fair share of long days and nights on competition and performance trips, and not to mention a whole lot of children being born to our two families during those years. And when I migrated over to choir, my office ended up being next door to his.

Mr. Glasscock dedicated himself to making this summer and fall as normal as possible for these band kids.

With every passing day, a new horror would emerge on the news — and I am not talking just about COVID-19.

Our culture has spent seven months being ripped completely apart, and everywhere you turn there are bad things happening.

Mr. G wanted to bring a little light into the darkness by giving our students something to work for, and something in which they could take pride — living up to the name of the band, the Pride of Tallassee.

We’ve been all over the country with this band over the years. We’ve taken them to Chicago, Orlando, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Antonio, just to name a few of the bigger trips.

We have performed on stages and football fields, in auditoriums and gymnasiums all over the


This year, Mr. G was not about to let the coronavirus disrupt making music.

The band began meeting in July as they usually do. The difference was, this time they were spread far apart outdoors and in the auditorium in small groups.

Ever the rule-follower, Mr. Glasscock ensured the health and safety of the students time and again. He ordered ‘gaiter’ masks with the Pride of Tallassee logo, and shields for the bells of the instruments. He reminded the students constantly to maintain social distancing and wear a mask unless they were blowing their instruments.

Again, while the rest of the world seems engulfed in confusion, Mr. Glasscock calmly approached the situation and handled it the way he always does: with quiet grace. And the kids were ready with a complete halftime show, in full uniform, for these first couple of football games. They truly are the “Pride of Tallassee.”

As the parent of two of the band members, I want to publicly thank Robby Glasscock for being a role model educator, with gratitude for giving these kids something that comes as close to normal as we can get in 2020.

Michael Bird is a music teacher for Tallassee City Schools and a longtime weekly columnist for

The Tribune.