Daniel Pritchett, the Valparaiso High School band director and head of the music department, retired last month after nearly 40 years of service. He had guided most young men and women enrolled at the high school during the past four decades in some way. Indeed, Pam was one of his students, and when she was later honored for her 25 years of service as a teacher at a formal dinner, he spoke kindly to the attendees about his pleasant memories of her as a onetime student and presently a colleague.
In a tribute to him for his tenure and devotion to music, a couple hundred alumni of all ages from across the country returned this weekend with nearly 150 scheduled to play one more concert under his direction. Pam, Alex, and I attended the event on Sunday at Valparaiso’s Central Park, as did about a thousand friends and neighbors despite the hot and humid weather.
We enjoyed the music very much, but I was just as impressed by the loyalty and fondness expressed by so many for a teacher who had earned their admiration. Consequently, I felt the accompanying photograph—which displays Sunday’s audience offering a standing ovation and Pritchett bending over a music stand in the center of the image already in preparation for the next song—seemed an appropriate scene as representative of the day’s sentiments and the conductor’s dedication.