Tell us about you: 33-year-old Antoine Miller is a self-taught saxophonist and founding band director of South Florida’s Sounds of Success Community Marching Band (SOS). Antoine had participated in marching bands since 1999 when he joined the John F. Kennedy Middle School’s drumline in Riviera Beach. Initially playing the tenor drum, he advanced to the snare drum in seventh grade and was later chosen as the drumline section leader. In eighth grade, Antoine became the head drum major for his middle marching band. After teaching himself how to play the saxophonist, he was promoted to drum major during his sophomore year at the local high school. Before attending Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida, where he played the saxophonist in the Marching 100 marching band, Antoine volunteered at John F. Kennedy Middle School for five years. He was a public school teacher in Palm Beach County, Florida, before recently devoting his full-time career to the SOS band.
KISH: What is your dream and how will accomplishing your dream benefit you and others?
ANTOINE : I dream of having the most successful community music program in different cities and states nationwide that will sponsor community marching bands and music programs not traditionally offered in local school districts. I also want to expand the current SOS band through performances in other countries, especially in Africa. Being a part of the band will help kids obtain collegiate scholarships and give them an outreach program where they can escape from the realities of their world. The expanded community music program will be a vital community asset similar to our current band program that consistently does many positive things in our city of Riviera Beach, Florida.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to pursue this dream?
ANTOINE : My love and passion for music and marching bands, especially Florida A&M University’s Marching 100, have inspired me. Being a part of a marching band has always kept me steady and focused and has always been my escape.
KISH: What challenges have you encountered while pursuing your dream?
ANTOINE : Many challenges are associated with leading a community program, including instances when people do not perceive your organization as a school-affiliated program even though children in the local district are a part of your program. However, in 12 years of directing music programs, this is the first year that I have started to grow gray hairs (laughter). SOS is preparing to travel to London to perform at London Band Week; raising money for the campaign and ensuring 100 kids visit London and perform at this global event is stressful.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to keep pushing regardless of challens you’ve encountered?A
NTOINE : My faith and beliefs because I am confident I have been set forth on a mission, so when I get weak and weary, I pray often. After I pray, I feel uplifted and better inside. I always remind myself of the stories of different people, such as Jesus Christ, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X, that I am familiar. Everyone has a story about how they got to where they are. Their paths were challenging too.
KISH: Please provide final thoughts/advice for others by finishing this sentence…dream.
ANTOINE :Dream as big as you can and always aim for the biggest prize possible because even though you may not get exactly what you want, the higher and bigger your dreams are, the more effort you will put into them. Therefore, the outcome will never be 100% of what you think it will be, but it will be as close to it as possible.