Retiring HS Band Director Gets “Mr. Holland’s Opus” Treatment During Final Concert
There's something to be said for a teacher who can stick out a full 40 years these days. The profession continues to become even more difficult by the year with more students, less time to prepare, and less help. But there are still some legends who know it's more than just a career and a paycheck, it's a purpose.
I got the fortunate opportunity to see that moment through with my dad recently (which is why I was gone for a week), and we surprised him for his final high school concert ever in Kansas.
As a backstory, my dad has been a band director for 40 years, and through the entirety of his career, he taught middle school and high school, and only ever at three schools. His most recent - my alma mater of Conway Springs High School, in Conway Springs, KS - he stayed at for nearly 24 years.
He's been through countless administrators, co-teachers and assistants. For more than a decade, he and my mom got to live their dream of being co-teachers of the music department together. He taught thousands... possibly tens-of-thousands of students in his career, and nearly all of them has a memorable experience with Mr. Kerr.
From his trips every 4 years to Orlando, FL for Disney and Universal trips, to consistent Excellent ratings at contesting from year to year. When he started at Conway Springs, the band had only 18 members, and within two, it ballooned to nearly a quarter of the entire high school.
SO, Tuesday, May 10th was his final concert after 40 years, and we wanted to send him off with something special. Former students from all three of his schools came to surprise him. While he conducted his final performance, we all gathered outside the auditorium, and when the time came, as the entire crowd in attendance stood, we walked in. My brother and I leading the way, as we'd just driven 13 hours non-stop to get there... he had no idea.
As you'll see in my tik tok below, my dad could still tell you nearly every former student's name, who they're married to, and how many kids they have today. He was a special guy, and he will be greatly missed in the schools and in the music education world.
Happy Retirement dad... now go get a drink on a beach somewhere!
@meatballontheradio Dad’s retiring after 40 years. Band will never be the same again without you. #thankYou#HappyRetirement#musiclife#bandlife♬ Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell