Volunteer Spotlight: Dan Hecht

The success of the Music City Drum Corps depends upon a team of volunteers who fill many key roles, including feeding hungry corps members and staff during weekend camps. New volunteer Dan Hecht of Gulf Breeze, Fla. talks about his experience helping during the February camp and why you should consider volunteering, too. Hecht’s son Josh, a high school junior, is a first-year drum major with the corps for 2019.

Q: Why did you decide to volunteer for Music City’s weekend camp?

Dan Hecht: In my mind, these teenage years are precious and fleeting. If our children have a passion and we are able to play any small role in supporting it and seeing it blossom… well, how could I miss that opportunity?!

Q: What sort of tasks did you do as a volunteer?

DH: I helped out preparing and serving food. We certainly have a good time in there and the kids are so appreciative. Laura Shepherd is the boss of the kitchen and has been doing this for years. So, my job was to simply listen, help out where needed, and have fun along the way! I was also available to help with a variety of other tasks where there was a need. When someone needed a ride to the airport, I could help out; when we needed to do food inventory in the truck, I could help out; setting up souvenirs, etc. It is fun to simply be there and help out in a variety of ways. I met so many wonderful people in the process!

Q: What special talents or skills were needed for your volunteer role?

DH: My background is as a corporate leader. I worked at Procter & Gamble for 20+ years as an executive and was the CEO of a healthcare company based in Southern Florida. Those skills were put to perfect use in the kitchen as I chopped vegetables, made the largest batches of oatmeal, spaghetti, and chicken potpie I have ever seen, and had a great time with everyone in the kitchen.

Q: Was your experience volunteering at a weekend camp what you expected?

DH: It was that and more! The kids are great and the parents are even more fun. We worked hard but would usually find a bit of time to sneak into the gym and watch the corps practice. It is inspiring to see their hard work, hear and feel the music, and know that somehow we are all a part of this family.

Q: What was your favorite part of your weekend working to support the corps?

DH: Every part of it! I loved the fun we had while working in the kitchen; the calm before the storm as we set up the food and drinks; the appreciation expressed by every one of the kids; the way everyone helped clean up; and, again, sneaking into the gym to watch a bit of practice was magical. I have to admit, watching your son or daughter as they realize they are part of something much bigger than themselves is a wonderful thing to see. They make connections and so do we. Maybe that is my favorite thing – the personal connections!

Q: What was the hardest part of your volunteer experience?

DH: Laughing through my tears as we cut onions and made jokes at the same time!

Q: What would you say to other Music City parents, family members and fans who are considering serving as a volunteer in the future?

DH: If you have a chance to be part of your child’s life as they pursue their passion, how can you not take that opportunity?! The truth is, we have at least as much fun as the kids! The people are wonderful, the corps is amazing, and we are building a real family. Come be a part of it; these years are fleeting!

To learn more about volunteering or to sign up for a couple of hours or a couple of days, contact Music City’s volunteer coordinator Paulette Watson at volunteer@musiccityyouth.org. The next on-site opportunity to help is the March 15-17 rehearsal camp at Freedom Middle School in Franklin, Tenn. Watch the corps’ website and Facebook page for future volunteer needs.