Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Not Just Any Plain Ol' Band Director

As most of the high schools in the area are in the thick of marching band (much to the chagrin of most of my students, who have had to become reacquainted with early-morning hours again), I was saddened to note the passing of a local icon in the profession:
During his nearly 40 years as a high school band director – including a dozen years at Plano Senior High School – Charles Eugene Forque won the respect and affection of students, colleagues and his fellow professional musicians.

He took 36 bands to University Interscholastic League competitions and brought home 34 sweepstakes awards. Former Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen performed 43 concerts with Mr. Forque's high school bands, whose public concerts included one at the first baseball game in Houston's Astrodome.

Mr. Forque, 75, died Saturday of complications of Alzheimer's disease at his McKinney home.
The whole article may be found here.

I first met Mr. Forque in high school, when he was a guest clinician at a camp I attended. One of his former assistants was one of my high school band directors, so we crossed paths again when our school played Plano in the playoffs. Later on, I auditioned to teach lessons at his school when I was in college (I didn't get the job, but benefited from the experience, as it was the only time I've had to do such an audition for a private teaching job). And more recently, I would see him at my old music-store job when he, by then the director of the Plano Community Band, would come in to purchase band music. I only reminded him once that we'd first met when I was in high school, but it was cool to have bridged the gap from calling him "Mr. Forque" to "Charles" by that time.

Forque always struck me as one of those gruff-but-caring individuals who got results. According to former student Jim Carter, who succeeded him as director of the community band,
"[w]hile he was a disciplinarian – when it came to wanting things done a certain way and making sure it was done that way – everybody saw the reasons why," Mr. Carter said. "In the end, when you finished that particular performance or that show at contest, you realized you'd done an incredible job and you felt basically fulfilled."
He will definitely be missed in our profession, but his contribution will live on through the many alumni and supporters of his programs.

What a miracle: ...that everyone survived this plane crash today.

A new form of 'roid rage: There's quite a spirited discussion of the Raffy situation in the comments to yesterday's post.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: In a continuing series taken from a set of notebook sketches made during an Amsterdam trip in 1993, Ann Althouse describes the European electrical socket as "a space-baby looking out a porthole." I have a couple of friends who used to refer to Chipotle burritos as space babies, so I got an extra big laugh out of that.

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