Editor’s Note: Katie Snyder, a Bari-Saxophone player in the PSC Wind Ensemble, was the recipient of a PSC Performing Arts Scholarship. Here, she pens a heartfelt thank you, as well as a tribute to a favorite instructor, Don Snowden, who is retiring this month as head of the PSC Performing Arts Department.
Dear Mr. Snowden,
The two years I was able to be in your band, I saw how much you love what you do. You are an empathetic and caring instructor. Your love for music is as strong as your love for your students. I truly appreciate the time I was able to spend under your direction. You taught us to be ourselves, to be creative, and to slow down and listen. You led a band with so much wisdom, not just about music, but about life. The lessons we learned from you will take us much further in life.
All the things we experienced in the past two years are unbelievable, from the devastating loss of one of our own classmates, to not being able to be on campus. I hate that I was unable to be there for the last semester of you being the band director of PSC (I would have loved to have been able to) and I know this is not how you wanted your last semester to go. I loved every minute of being in your band. You encouraged me to play loudly and you told me how good I sounded.
Believe it or not, I was pretty shy about playing in front of people. The more I played alone in class really built my confidence. Knowing how you encouraged me to play and forget what everyone else thinks has really helped me in life. I know now that it is okay to make a mistake because I will learn from it, and once I make that mistake, I will remember it.
Here’s a confession, I never marked my music as a player, because getting called out was just the right amount of embarrassment to make sure I remembered that mistake, but in a good way! I have taken these skills into nursing school as well. I know to be confident in my answers, learn from my mistakes, and always remember the mistakes I have made. Mistakes in nursing are huge and are not taken lightly, but we are human. We will make mistakes, but we must learn from them.
Being part of the Wind Ensemble at PSC was the best decision I’ve made in my academic career. Your teaching has impacted me in more ways than you know. You built confidence, character, and compassion in your students, all from being a great band director. I know this was supposed to be a thank you letter for the scholarship award I received from you, but I wanted to thank you for so much more. I truly do appreciate what you have done for me academically and all the inspiration you have given me, and all your previous students. PSC has been more than lucky to have someone as genuine as you as part of their staff. I know you will be terribly missed. Thank you for being you. All of your hard work is about to pay off. I wish you the “bari” best retirement (see what I did there?). Stay safe and stay healthy. Thank you for always giving me a cue.
With Love, Katie S.
PHOTO AT TOP: Katie Snyder poses with her boyfriend and fellow musician, Kyle Lowell, before their last PSC band performance under the direction of Don Snowden.