Perspectives: Performance Counts

My 17-year-old daughter participates in the Pride of Broken Arrow band program at the Broken Arrow, Okla., high school. She has been a member of the color guard portion of this national-award-winning band for three years.

While the color guard practices about nine months out of the year, this time of year … autumn … which is performance season, things really kick into gear. She and her teammates practice up to 25 hours a week. And they perform. At high school football games. In hometown parades. At Oklahoma competitive band events. At the nationally televised Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. And, at regional competitions held in some of the biggest performance arenas in the U.S.

In fact, I wrote this editorial from a hotel room in Atlanta, Ga., waiting to watch the Broken Arrow Pride perform in the Georgia Dome. My daughter has performed all over the country, stepping onto and (literally) running all over the fields of the Edward D. Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo., and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. (fun fact: the color guard used the Colts’ locker room as their dressing room!).

And they win. Year after year, the Broken Arrow Pride delivers breath-taking, goose-bump-creating performances. Every element of their ten-minute shows … the story, the music, the visuals, the movement … is performed to perfection. The Pride reigns as one of the top high school band programs in the U.S.

Every time I watch my daughter and the approximately 300 other Broken Arrow high school students perform at this elite level, I am amazed at their consistency, no matter the stakes. When it is time for them to perform, they do. Without hesitation. With quiet self-confidence. For these students, every performance counts. And, the results speak for themselves.

In my opinion, hydropower is this kind of performer. Day after day, month after month, year after year, hydroelectric power stations are counted on to perform at a moment’s notice when electricity production or transmission system stability is needed most. These stations … and the men and women who maintain them and keep them running … do this without hesitation and with a quiet self-confidence.

While the industry knows this about hydropower, that hasn’t always been the case outside the industry. So, it was especially gratifying to see two hydro-related pieces of legislation enacted into law in the U.S. earlier in 2013 recognizing the value of hydropower and putting into place some concrete actions to aid in additional hydro development.* The legislation – which the New York Times called “the first significant pieces of energy legislation” in four years – was broadly supported by both Democrats and Republicans, as well as a host of non-governmental organizations.

To me, the overwhelming support seen for these hydro bills in 2013 acknowledges the value of hydro – when performance counts, hydro has the answer.

Marla J. Barnes
Publisher and Chief Editor

*In August 2013, President Barack Obama signed into law the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act and the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act.

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