At every summer Boulder Concert Band concert in Boulder parks, we invite kids to come up and help conduct one of our popular marches. How did this tradition begin?

In the summer of 2003, the Boulder Concert Band was playing a Monday-evening concert at Salberg Park in north Boulder. For our final piece of the concert, we played "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

When the music began, a curly-haired two-year-old boy confidently marched up to the band, stood next to director Brian Hopwood, and started to conduct. We all thought he was adorable, and it was such fun to watch him.

The little boy's name was Joey, and he joined Dr. Hopwood in conducting "Stars and Stripes" at every single concert for the rest of that summer. Joey started to bring a bucket along to stand on as his podium. (This photo, used by permission, was taken at the Boulder Band Shell in City Park.)

The next summer, and the summer after that, Joey again joined our conductor each week to lead "The Stars and Stripes Forever." When Randy Coleman became director, he suggested we invite all the kids up to conduct, and a tradition began. BCB commemorative "batons" were eventually added (which, conveniently, could double as pencils when school started), and conductor Will Kinne even led the kids in a little march as the band played.

Now so many kids of all ages join us to conduct that they must take turns at the podium. At the end of the march, all our little directors join the band in a big bow, to the thunderous applause of our appreciative audience.