A Tribute to the High School Band Director

The Mr. Hollands in our lives deserve an opus

With your music stand a pulpit,
your baton a shepherd’s staff,
you led your students daily
with stern words and belly laughs.

Yes, you modeled truth through music
by the way you loved the kids
as they looked to you for answers
lest they end up on the skids.

With marching band your metaphor
you helped each section see
just how to work together
and to be a family.

Like Richard Dreyfus’ Holland
you invested in the young
and the dividends you’re earning
is success’s highest rung.

Mr. A, you’re most successful
for the music you have made
echoes far beyond the band room.
It’s an ongoing parade.

Marking time or earning millions,
those you taught (now fully grown)
march through life most confidently
making “music” of their own.

* This tribute was written for Steve Accatino. I first met “Mr. A” exactly 30 years ago when our family moved to the Bay Area. Last week Steve retired from Ygnacio Valley High School where he has been the band director for thirty-three years. High school band directors are a much-loved breed. I kept in touch with mine for thirty years until Mr. Huber prematurely died of a brain tumor. (If you never play in a high school band, you need to watch “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” That inspirational movie will clue you in!)