Happy to lose both bets: A Ranger band story

Published 3:49 pm Thursday, May 18, 2017

The band director from Cassopolis made a miscalculation.
He was certain the students from seventh- eighth-grade and high school band would attend MSBOA Concert Band Festival. He was positive they would perform with professionalism. He was sure they would try their absolute best.
However, Sean Keck did not anticipate that all three ensembles would walk away with adjudicated Division II (Excellent) and Division I (Superior) ratings.
Back in December, when he made a bet with all three ensembles, he assumed he would win. No way all three groups would put on some of the finest performances in program history. Not possible that the eighth-grade band would earn a Division I rating overall. Heck, he was so certain he promised to wear a leprechaun costume to school if every band received high ratings.
“I’ve never been so happy to be wrong,” Keck said. “The band students of Ross Beatty Junior/Senior High School excelled in practice and performance during the 2017 MSBOA Festival season. The seventh-grade band scored a Division II rating, and nearly edged out a Division I overall. The high school band did the same, with its evaluation coming as close to a Division I as they could get while still earning a Division II.
The eighth-grade band made recent program history, winning a decisive Division I rating. Beyond improving on the success of 2016, the Ranger band members have set the program up for perpetual excellence. Being a man of his word, Keck had the pleasure of coming to school dressed as everyone’s favorite mythical creature.
Here’s to hoping for straight ones and even more leprechaun gear next year.

The latter bet lost
Keck had not miscalculated.
After taking inventory and doing the math, he realized buying new music stands would be incredibly expensive … at least $2,000. It was time to buy new ones, as it seemed every other day a new maintenance issue popped up.
Where would the Cassopolis Band Boosters get the help? While the temptation of buying lots of duct tape for repairs lingered, Keck eventually discovered the Midwest Energy Cooperative along with the Strengthening Schools education grant.
Days before sending in the pertinent documents, he discussed the grant with his students, stating rather publicly; “I’ll be surprised if we get it, in fact, I’d bet dollars to donuts that we won’t,” he said.
Fingers crossed, he submitted an application and waited.
The Midwest Energy Cooperative came through a couple of months later with approval for the grant request in the amount of $2,000.
With this money the Cassopolis Band Boosters purchased 50 brand new music stands and stand transport carts. The heavy hardware was implemented mid-March and is still in use. “On behalf of all Cassopolis band students, the Cassopolis Band Boosters, and the Cassopolis Public Schools system, I would like to thank Midwest for providing the means to deploy high-quality equipment for use in our daily rehearsals, performances, and beyond,” Keck said. “As for the bet, I’ll just say this time I’m relieved there were no hard stakes involved. No silly apparel and no actual loss of dollars or donuts.”