July 26, 2008 - I walked across the stage and was officially awarded my Masters of Music Education degree from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago at Orchestra Hall, home of The Chicago Symphony.
After 3 intense summers of study and time secluded away from family, the moment & feeling of finally being finished and receiving the diploma was literally indescribable. The only thing that could have made the day any better would have been to have my father there.
Unfortunately that was not to be, due to his passing April 11 - 15 weeks prior. I know he was there in spirit. Dad left a huge footprint in the field of instrumental music education. He achieved his masters degree at a much earlier point in his life than I. His success and impact upon others as a music educator now serves as a burning inspiration for me to strive for more excellence in my efforts. I can honestly say I haven't always been able to offer such a perspective. He set a great example.
Thankfully, I was honored to have the 4 most important people in my life present on that day. My mother, wife and daughters were all there to celebrate that day with me.
I have learned that they don't just give these things away. The saying goes, "If they did give them away, everyone would have one." As much as I cursed the process nearly every step of the way, I truly feel like something got accomplished here in the end. Now, I guess I need to see if I can put it to any use. lol!
Meanwhile, July 26, 2008 was truly a day I will never forget!!!