HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (3/12/13) – After 12 years of mental power, commitment, and a huge heart for music, North Hopkins High School will be saying good-bye to Band Director Robert Bryant at the end of the semester.
After moving around most of his childhood, Mr. Bryant’s family finally settled in Hopkinsville Kentucky. Before he graduated from high school, his Band Director suggested that he should audition for music scholarships and, with doing so, he received three school scholarships. Bryant made his way through college and started playing. The next thing he knew, he was teaching at band camps and found out he really enjoyed working with students.
Bryant attended Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green and received a Bachelor in Music Education. He then went on to get his Master’s in Music Education at Austin Peay State University.
Emma King, one of Bryant’s students stated, “Mr. Bryant puts a lot of work in his teachings. He really cares about how a kid can grow in music. He’s more than just a teacher; he likes to see how kids will grow as people.”
Bryant received many accomplishments such as; Certificate of Merit for Marching Excellence by the National Band Association, the 2008 KMEA District Two – Music Teacher of the Year, the 1998 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, overall Grand Champion for the Music City Invitational of 2012, and performed for President Bill Clinton by special invitation. He was also recognized for Excellence in Teaching by the Commonwealth of Kentucky House of Representatives and Senate six times by Resolutions drafted by Senator Jerry Rhodes, Representative Eddie Ballard, and Representative Ben Waide.
Hunter Carter, a senior at North Hopkins, also stated, “Mr. Bryant is very passionate about his work, he has been a great leader overall for the band program. He’s led us to eight state championships consecutively. He also led us to perform at Carnegie Hall.”
In February of 2012, the Madisonville North Hopkins High Schools Symphonic and Concert Bands were invited to perform in the New York Wind Band Festival held in the Historic Carnegie Hall. The Symphonic Band world premiered “Pasadoble Para Sante Cecilia los Heros de Espana” by Stephen Melillo. The Concert Band world premiered “Here We Rest” by Anthony Barfield. The Symphonic Band was designated as a Featured Showcase Ensemble and performed in the evening concert along with California State University Long Beach Wind Symphony.
The Concert Band was one of only two ensembles to achieve the Gold Award (the highest possible rating). The Symphonic Band was also invited by composer Stephen Melillo to professionally record “Sieban Gluckliche Fabre” and appeared as “Cameo Guest Artists” on his Chapter 21: Won Way album which was released on January 1st of this year. “You can tell Mr. Bryant really cares about music. He puts everything in him towards his students. There really aren’t any words that can describe how appreciative I am for what he has done for the band,” expressed Kelsey Lake, another band student at North Hopkins.
Bryant has been involved in many community activities that include; member of the Madisonville Community Men’s Chorus and performs with the Madisonville Community Band, he conducted and performed “The Music Man,” and performed in the orchestra for the Pennyrile Players Production of Sound of Music.
Alan Emerson, a fellow director expressed, “Mr. Bryant is the second longest Band Director (except for Dean Dowdy), who has brought local, state and national awareness to the school and school system with his hard work and dedication.”
But don’t worry; even though he is retiring this year, Bryant has many projects that will keep him busy. He is currently applying for college level jobs and working on his outdoor writing for Kentucky Outdoors and Bass Angler Magazine and maintaining a bass fishing website.
SurfKY would like to wish Mr. Bryant a wonderful rest of the school and the best of luck with starting a new chapter in his life.
Photos Provided by Amber Mena
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