PPHS band surprises serviceman
By Abigail Allen
When the Pilot Point bands took to the field at Massey Stadium on Tuesday night, more than just a holiday concert was about to unfold.
The band, band boosters and athletic boosters worked together to incorporate a special moment for Brad Nesbitt and his sons, band member Garrett Nesbitt and football player Ryan Stewart, who missed out on having him with them during the senior night in September.
“It was amazing,” Brad said. “I was crying in the end zone because I didn’t expect it at all.”
Brad said he did not expect the recreation, which caused him to get emotional as he stood on the field. His absence in September was because he was deployed overseas at the time.
“I watched senior night on the YouTube video that they had live for the football game, and so I was able to watch them,” Brad said. “But my heart broke, because, you know, you wait 12 years to get there and you don’t get to walk with your child. [Tonight] was pretty special.”
Doing that for the seniors and their dad was one benefit to having to find a creative solution for holding a band concert this year.
“I’m extremely excited for them,” Balkema said. “Like we said in the script, it was a collaboration between the athletic boosters and the band boosters program. Mr. Nesbitt has been a huge asset for the last four years to both programs. … Being able to do that for him and the family is just awesome.”
Balkema was grateful for the opportunity the students had to showcase the work they’ve put into preparing for the concert.
“The fact that everything has gone the way it has this year, we’re lucky to be able to provide something like this and do it correctly,” Balkema said.
The bands performing were the PPHS jazz band, the sixth, seventh and eighth grade bands, and the complete high school band.
Although the environment was different than normal, the overall experience was a positive one, Balkema said, and it helped some of his students get to have an opportunity to kind of make up for something they missed.
“My eighth graders didn’t get to do a Friday night football game with our high school band like they normally do,” he said.
The younger kids getting to play with the older students helps the eighth graders want to stay in band.
Band Booster President Jason Pool agreed the concert at Massey was a good idea well executed.
“It makes me happy when we can find ways for the kids to perform,” Pool said.