Students say ‘bye’ to bandleader

Chris Raybould on the stage with seventh and eighth graders for a performance of “Danny Boy.” Courtesy photo

Chris Raybould, director of Grand County middle and high school band programs, conducted his final performance on Monday, May 13 in the Grand County High School auditorium.

“It’s been an emotional few days,” Raybould said, as he slowly addressed the attentive crowd. “I promised myself I wasn’t going to cry. I’ve accepted a position in St. George … let’s go out with a bang here tonight.”

The theme of the night was band standards, and the middle school and high school wished Raybould farewell, as he requested, with a bang. The seventh graders kicked off the performance with “Clash of the Warriors,” “Midnight Mission,” and “Nottingham Castle.”

The middle school bands took the stage for “Danny Boy.”

“The stage may look a little crowded,” Raybould told the audience with a chuckle, and it was, but the seventh and eight graders pulled it off. The pipes were calling.

The eighth grade band continued the traditional theme with versions of “Comet Ride,” “The Red River Valley” and “Moscow, 1941.”

The middle school and high school percussion ensembles made an appearance. The middle school performed “Panthera Pardus.” When the high school percussion ensemble took the stage, Raybould shot the audience a quick glance and mumbled: “I can’t resist.” He walked off his platform, picked up xylophone mallets, and jammed with the high schoolers to “Avalanche Lake.”

The high school concert band rounded out the evening with “Northern Skies,” “Salvation is Created,” “Silverbrook,” “Kingsland Spring” and “Aventura.”

The students thanked Raybould. Seventh graders presented him with a giant card. The eight graders gave Raybould two large mystery packages, and saxophone player Willow Nichols remarked: “Mr. Raybould taught us a lot, we’ll be okay.”

The emotional highlight of the evening came in a speech by senior Isabel Becerra.

Becerra was Raybold’s guest conductor for the evening. In the fall, she will pursue a degree in music education at Southern Utah University. She presented Raybould with bundle of dark red roses and spoke for the high school band. Holding back tears and catching her breath, Becerra said, “We’d like to thank Mr. Raybould for all the joy he’s brought to our band in a short year. The band has grown so much because Mr. Raybould, because of his positivity, we really appreciate all he’s done and we’re really going to miss him a lot.”

A standing ovation was the bandleader’s parting gift.