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A staple of the public school system.

No one really knows why schools always hire psychopaths to direct their music programs. They are generally concentrated in the band, as opposed to orchestra teachers (usually soft hippies) or choir directors (tend towards fruits and flakes).

The psychotic tendencies are usually observable through insane, unpredictable rages, a propensity towards callous insult, and the common occurence of befriending the oddest individuals in the band.

The rages of a band director are numerous and unpredictable in the extreme. His profession encourages him to carry a stick (baton) at all times, especially when directing the band (which is when he is most likely to fly off the handle). This arrangement is just begging for trouble. I have personally witnessed hundreds of baton hurlings, dozens of scores tossed in the air, several stands thrown over the heads of the entire band, and one empty tuba case that must have sailed almost 20 feet. He was in good form that day.

The rage of a band director is also voiced through... ah.... well, his voice. Yelling and screaming is common, but the worst abuse of student psyche is through prolonged, calm, and painstakingly detailed insults. These insults are the real craft of the band director. They are all the worse for being delivered in an even, dispassionate voice. "Did you actually have to practice to play you instrument that poorly? I've had 4th grade deaf kids do better than that. If you actually didn't pick up the instrument and just sat there quietly, you'd improve ten fold. I'm ashamed to be of the same species as you. And you have a small penis." Note: this was a general, all-purpose rant used when the director was not worked up. It was used with both males and females and was quite effective for both.

There is also the absurdly preposterous persons the director chooses to associate with in the band. They are almost always of high musical skill, though not necessarily the best. A sick, pathetic, twisted sense of humor seems to be the real determining factor here. The director's friendship is both a blessing and a burden. He will take you to McDonald's during school. He will invite you to barbeques and pool parties. On the other hand, he will always know if you miss practice, and will always insist on asking you about it later. He will play practical jokes on you in accordance with his sick humor. He will know your parents on a first name basis, but mostly be on your side. He will take an 'interest' in your life and your plans. If you plan on pursuing music in college, he will make suggestions and inquiries. If you don't, he will incesently urge you to do so. The friendship of a psychotic band director will, if nothing else, keep high school interesting.

Strangely enough, the victims (students) tend to almost universally love and revere this madman. He drags them into the cold and rain to force march them through routines that exactly 17 people will watch at the football game. He creates 'voluntary' mandatory practices in the evenings and on weekend mornings. He becomes a sort of personal specter that haunts you through high school, the only teacher you have through all four years. He insults you, yells at you, and makes you cry. Only incidentally does he teach you to play music.

And yet he is loved. Respected, revered, adored. It is a testament to the oddness of the musician that this is so.

RIP Ted Lilly
He was loved; as a father, as a husband, and as a teacher. I'm proud to have known him.

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