Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mr. Lingwall

From the time I was 10 until I was 21, I played the trumpet. The clarinet was my first choice, but we were poor and we had a trumpet, so the trumpet is what I played. But that is a different story. In the small Arizona town where I grew up, I had a handful of band teachers. Mr. Lingwall was my high school band teacher.

I found out today that he passed away on Monday.

Next to my parents, I probably spent more time with him than with any other adult during those four years. There was marching band, symphonic band, jazz and pep bands; road trips, ensembles, contests and band camp. You get the idea.

Because of my huge involvement with band, Mr. Lingwall had a huge impact on my life, as well as on the lives of every other student he taught. From him I learned about discipline and teamwork, as well as accountability. He had high expectations from us and we wanted to deliver. We marched when it was 110 degrees outside. We marched in the rain. We marched during Christmas break to rehearse for the Fiesta Bowl.

As I mentioned, the town where I grew up was small. Drugs, alcohol, and teen pregnancy were very real issues at our high school. The drop-out rate was staggering -- I believe my class had over 700 entering freshman, and we graduated 327. But there was Mr. Lingwall, stallwart and steady, providing opportunities to a bunch of know-it-all teenagers that we might not have otherwise had. We marched at Disneyland. We competed at UNLV. He once awarded me a solo at a Cardinals/Eagles game. He put us in little ensembles to play around the town at Christmastime. I remember playing in an ensemble for Palm Sunday at his church. He sent us to leadership seminars and encouraged us to always strive for that "superior" rating.

Mr. Lingwall taught me to be my best.

I learned it by example.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the elegant words you said about Richard. I have known him all my life. I was also a color guard. I hope you dont mind but I sent this on to the family. Thanks for helping in sharing your thoughts of a wonderful man.

    Regan Beem