Volunteer Spotlight: Ben Regalado

Each week, Volunteer Coordinator Ashley Pittman will be contacting past and present USBands volunteers to be in the spotlight. First on deck is Ben Regalado of Severna Park, MD.

In a fast-paced world of economics, volunteering is a strange phenomenon. USBands, The Cadets and thousands of other non-profits worldwide rely heavily on volunteers, and somehow new people continue to come out of the woodwork to help each year -- some for one event, others for many years.

The interesting thing is, deciding to volunteer one time can change a person's life. It can graft you into a world you were merely cognizant of before.

Volunteer loyalty tends to be surprisingly high, but that's because once people realize their help is needed, they want to continue to give it. Programs seem to run themselves until you turn them inside out, but once you join the team, friendships form between people of common interests, and it's just flat-out fun to work together to make great things happen for other people.

BenRegalado_USSBA_crop.jpgFor band dad Ben Regalado, it all started with a phone call from a friend just after he moved to Annapolis, MD.

Sean was already working for the US Scholastic Band Association (now USBands), and they needed an announcer for the 2006 Marine Corps Invitational. "Alright, but I can't do it for free," Ben said.

Sean told him to name his price.

"I charge steep fee of unlimited Dr Pepper and nachos," Ben said.

Done deal.

“I'm still waiting for him to live up to his end of the bargain, though," Ben joked, thinking back. "That's why I keep coming back, so I can finally get the payoff."

So the Marine Corps Invitational came and went, and Ben kept coming back. He now says he's been blessed to be able to announce all three of his children who have been in a high school program.

But once on the production side of USBands' events, Ben began to notice other opportunities to help out. “I saw how much fun the tabulators, assistant coordinators and coordinators were having in the action while I was sitting up in the booth, and I decided to branch out a bit!" he said.

So last season, he helped coordinate student and parent volunteers at the 2012 USBands Marine Corps Invitational, and he also got to slide into the announcer seat for one band -- Severna Park High School, where his son was drum major. Now, that son is in the Marine Corps.

And, no matter what he ends up doing, Ben is looking forward to announcing kid number four (who is currently a is a top-notch USBands judge runner)!

Ben (right) and his four sons in uniform. (The boys, left to right: Michael, a second-year Cadet and member of Cadets2; Daniel, a mellophone player at Severna Park HS; Jordan, a USBands volunteer and future band member; and Ryan, former Severna Park HS drum major and now Marine) Here is a photo of all four boys in their uniforms with their father... a Cadet, a drum major, a performing member and a judge runner!

And whether he's announcing or not, Ben said his favorite part about band shows is being around the students before and after their performances. “They put in so much work; they deserve encouragement from the stands and the sidelines! Sometimes they just need a friendly connection to settle their nerves so they can perform like the magnificent human beings they are," he said.

And when asked why volunteering at a band show is a good way to spend a Saturday, Ben said, “C'mon now - fresh air in the fall?  Seriously, what else is there to do? Watch professional... er... college football? Let's watch all the halftime shows instead!”

Team USBands is currently in need of more volunteers for the Marine Corps Invitational this Saturday, September 28 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, as well as the Yamaha Cup on October 5 at MetLife Stadium. You can find out more about the perks of volunteering and additional dates here, or by contacting our volunteer coordinator, Ashley Pittman at 610-821-0345 ext. 139 or by e-mailing ashley@yea.org.


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