Area students won’t be the only ones completing their time in high school this weekend, as three long-serving instrumental music teachers are retiring at the end of the school year.
When graduation ceremonies are held Friday at Laurens and Franklin, it will be the last time Dan Martin and Carol Barker, respectively, lead their bands. On Saturday, it will be the final ceremony for Stamford band director Dave Numbers.
At Laurens, where the graduation is 7 p.m., “I’ve really enjoyed working with the students,” Martin said. He will turn 55 in July, and said it’s time to step down.
“I’ve had a good career. We’ve made a lot of great music here,” he said.
The band has also been a perennial winner at the Sherburne Pageant of Bands under his leadership. The success in all aspects was possible because of great support from administration, staff and parents, he said. Everybody here is dedicated to that, and works really hard because they like doing well, he said.
Martin grew up in Laurens, and said it’s been a wonderful experience to spend 24 of his 25 years in teaching at the school where he graduated.
“I like to think I brought a little extra pride,” he said. He thanked his band director Joe Mone for inspiring him, adding “I’d like to think I did the same for others over the years.”
He plans on staying involved with music playing professionally with the Glimmerglass Festival, Orpheus Theatre, Catskill Symphony and others and exploring a number of other possibilities.
Superintendent Romona Wenck said Martin is an exceptionally talented musician — and he can teach.
“The two don’t usually go hand-in-hand. That is a tall order to fill,” she said. Interviews for a new music teacher are underway.