News Column

Band students say 'Goodbye' to director

May 16, 2014

By Ryan D. Wilson, Clay Center Dispatch, Kan.



May 16--CCCHS band students ended Thursday's spring concert on a good note performing their best for outgoing CCCHS band instructor Devin Burr.

The evening was emotional as the students said goodbye to the band director who was not asked to come back next year after serving two years as band director.

"I cannot tell you how unbelievably blessed I have been to teach your children the last two years," Burr said through words choked by tears. "Thank you friends, family and the community for your support, for allowing them to be a part of something so creative and bigger than themselves."

While it was hard to say which senior class was his favorite, Burr said he pushed this year's senior harder.

"They really picked things up (and stepped up) to be leaders by example, to do whatever they need to do to get the job done," Burr said. "I love you guys."

The senior band students presented Burr a class picture that all had signed.

To band students in middle school Burr said, "You have some great stuff to look forward to, give it everything you've got and you can do amazing things."

To the rest of the band students, Burr advised them to remember two things.

"First, be passionate -- whatever you do, be passionate," Burr said. "I hope the last few months I've been a good example for these students. After Spring Break, I broke the news to these students that I would not be invited back next year, but I would give 100 percent until the last day.

"To quote Jim Valvano, 'Don't give up, don't ever give up."

The high school students played their favorite compositions for the final band concert, which included The Dark Knight played at Stardusters a couple of years ago, The Avengers, "The White Seal Lullaby" by Eric Whitaker, and the theme to the Halo video game.

Burr said he allowed the students to chose the compositions to be played and they went through many that had played over the course of their time in band before agreeing on the six that were played Thursday night.

"I really enjoyed conducting these tunes," Burr said.

The concert also featured a few songs played in a jazz improvisation class under the direction of assistant director Dennis Brooks, with senior solos performed by Doug Simpson on the tuba and Troy Nodine on the trombone. The class played "River City Blues" and "Buffalo Head," and a few others.

Brooks said the class included some students who played instruments you don't traditionally play jazz music with, but they "found some music that worked."

Middle school students in sixth through eighth grade also played a few songs for the concert.

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(c)2014 the Clay Center Dispatch (Clay Center, Kan.)

Visit the Clay Center Dispatch (Clay Center, Kan.) at www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?brd=1160

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Source: Clay Center Dispatch (KS)


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