It's starting to set in. "It" being the idea that I won't get to come to this wonderful place every day and interact with a community that I've come to call my own. I'm nostalgic. I'm sad. I'm excited. But most of all, I'm grateful. I have some thank yous to give so I'll get right down to it.
Thank you, students
It all starts with you, the students. It always does. It has to. You're the heartbeat of this place.
I want to thank you for allowing me to play a small part in your musical journey. Witnessing your musical and personal development from the crowd has been a privilege and an honor. Thank you for sharing your nerves and your successes, and trusting me with that honesty.
Thank you for keeping me laughing daily with your jokes, for (rarely) laughing at mine, and for including me in your (genuinely) riveting conversations. I imagine that I won't find myself so regularly discussing what my pets do at night, my favorite color, or what happened at recess anytime soon.
Most of all, thank you for inspiring me. In the past two years of operation, there is not a day that went by that didn't leave me in awe of your determination, creativity, and authenticity.
I can't wait to see what y'all do next and I will be there to cheer you on and dance like a fool, that's a promise.
thank you, parents and families
To the people who make it all happen: thank you. Without your love and support (moral and financial), none of this would be possible. Thank you for signing up your musician for a demo lesson and for your willingness to navigate our maze of a parking lot on that first day.
Thank you for trusting us on so many levels: trusting us to provide a safe and nurturing environment for your kiddos, trusting us to take music education and flip it on its head, trusting us as we try new things to try and figure out the best approach.
Just as I've enjoyed my countless conversations with your loved ones, I've enjoyed our talks in the parent lounge just as much. I love hearing about our students' success outside of School of Rock.
Thank you for allowing me to grow in this role and for being patient when you fell victim to my "learning opportunities." I promise to show that kindness to others as they learn.
Thank you, instructors
To my team: thank you.
Thank you for trusting a non-musician to run a music studio, and thank you for patiently teaching me about music; from equipment, to theory, and everything in between. I now know how to properly wrap a cable (shout out to MDJ). I know that thingy that makes the guitar sound like "waaa-waa" is in fact called a Wah Pedal. I know how to set up and break down a stage (for the most part). I know how to build a guitar (and even almost finish it!).
Thank you for all the non-music things you've taught me as well, like how to truly be yourself, pursue your dreams, and share your talents and passions.
Thank you for knowing when to take me seriously and when to roast me for having to send a string of multiple emails correcting myself.
I still have a long list of music documentaries to watch and read, and a long list of albums to check out. I promise to let you know when I do.
thank you, corporate team
I owe a lot to the men and women behind the curtain. They took a very green (but eager!) duo from Chapel Hill and guided us through the trials of opening a new business. Thank you is due for sharing with us our successes and helping us through our setbacks.
Special shouts out to Tyler, Sam, and Jill for not (openly) resenting me for sending countless emails, and for always being so helpful.
I promise to take these lessons with me.
thank you, chapel hill
There are numerous people I've met throughout this journey that have helped make our dreams a reality. It'd be impossible to name you all, but please know how very grateful I am for all the love, support, and kindness you've shown us over the past 2.5 years.
I promise to thank you in person next time I see you around town.
thank you, dave and sally
Just as Dave said, I've known Dave and Sally my whole life. To me, though, Dave's always been "Cuz" (This was a hard adjustment at first. David, who?). They've been there at family events over the years, and made sure to keep me well-fed with lasagna and pound cake when I was in college at UNC (I'm not blaming the "Freshmen 15" weight gain on them, but I'm not not blaming it on them). I've had a lot to thank them for over the years, but nothing will compare to the gratitude I have for this opportunity.
Thank you both for trusting me with something as important to you as School of Rock. I've learned hard skills and soft skills, and I'm still learning. I imagine some lessons won't set in for another year or ten, so thank you in advance for those as well.
Thank you, Cuz and Sally, for all the obvious things, like the trips to Chicago for training and to Philadelphia and New Orleans for convention, and all the School of Rock swag. But thank you even more for the intangible things, like allowing me to make this role my own, giving me room to be creative, and forgiving me when I misstepped.
My promise to you is to pay it forward. And to always come calling when there's Sally's lasagna to be had.
As I've told everyone since my departure was announced, it's all very bittersweet.
I'm excited for my new adventure, nervous about my new role (And new dress code! Concert tees aren't business attire?), and I'm sad to be leaving. I keep reminding myself of that promise I've made to the kiddos to continue to cheer them on at their shows, and am comforted by knowing I'll still be a part of this community. Who knows, maybe I'll even finish building my guitar and join my Cuz in the adult band. Maybe.
I know things won't be the same, but I know School of Rock Chapel Hill will continue to grow, thrive, and positively impact lives of Chapelboro (and beyond) residents. I'm so stinkin' excited to watch and cheer and dance alongside you as it does.
About 4 months into this adventure, Cuz gave me a card that read, "We will proceed as if success is inevitable." And we did. And it was. But it was due to (thankfully, only a little bit of) blood, (lots of) sweat, and (our fair share of) tears along the way.
So, Rockers and Rollers, I will leave you with a similar sentiment as you continue at School of Rock and beyond: proceed as if success is inevitable and then work your tail off until it is.
I promise it will be worth it.