Band director becomes officer

By Ann Margret Montemayor
312th Army Band

News story photo
PHS and PMS band director Nick Proctor (left) stands with his roommate Miguel Puente after graduating Warrant Officer Candidate Course.
Although band director Nick Proctor usually takes his place on the podium, for the last six weeks he took his place in formation with fellow Army Reserve soldiers.

Proctor attended Warrant Officer Candidate Course at Fort Rucker, Ala., to become a technical officer in his field, which is band. The course is also used for soldiers who want to become leaders in fields such as engineering or flying helicopters, Proctor said.

After more than 16 years in the reserve, Proctor said, he was ready to take on a leadership role in the 312th Army Band stationed in Lawrence.

Although he will become a leader in a musical field, Proctor’s trumpet didn’t come to training with him. The course was similar to basic training, but placed more emphasis on leadership, which included college-level courses and exams while he was there.

“You’re a soldier first, a musician second,” he said.

Proctor added that his training will carry over into his classrooms at Paola High School and Paola Middle School. His leaders at the course were strict, but they also advised and encouraged him.

“Things that I’ve learned there have helped me become a better teacher,” he said.

While attending hours of difficult classes on limited sleep, he also had the chance to step into his students’ shoes.

“It gave me a new appreciation for what my students go through,” he added.

Proctor said the training was a difficult challenge, but he’s happy to do it for music.

“I like being able to perform in a professional music organization,” he said, adding that the Army is actually one of the biggest employers of musicians in the world.

Proctor plans to become commander, or conductor, of the 312th Army Band in about five years, when the current commander’s service ends, but he still has another 10-week training to complete this summer.

Throughout his years with the band, Proctor has had the opportunity to travel around the country and to El Salvador and Nicaragua to perform. One of the highlights was playing a joint concert with the El Salvador military band, he added.

“I’ve gotten to go places I never would have otherwise,” he said.

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