|WHS Bandmates honor Gardner|
Seldom do we get the chance to honor a former teacher and let them know how much their instruction changed our lives, while at the same time, relive some of our "glory days" of high school.
Saturday, June 5, presented a group of former Winnsboro High School band members and one former Ferriday High School band member the opportunity to celebrate Glynn Gardner's 80th birthday and to take a trip down memory lane to the days when we were members of his award winning bands.
Mr. Gardner came to Winnsboro as the band director in the fall of 1957. During his tenure at WHS, the Wildcat Band earned several sweepstakes honors, as well as twice being featured in the annual publication of "First Chair of America." Only five percent of high school and college bands meet the qualifications to be included in that exclusive yearbook.
At the end of the 1966 school year, Mr. Gardner and his family left Winnsboro to return to his hometown of Ferriday. He led the Bulldog Band there until mid 1970, when he left public education to become a full-time minister of music at First Baptist Church of Niceville, Fla. He continued in church music ministry until his retirement from First Baptist Church of Swartz in the mid 1990's.
Former WHS band members traveled from Savannah, Ga.; Austin and Houston, Texas; Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, Shreveport, Winnfield, Ruston, Monroe and West Monroe to attend a reception given in Mr. Gardner's honor at North Monroe Baptist Church.
Two of Glynn and Pat Gardner's four children joined in the festivities of the day: Dr. Terry Gardner and his wife, Kim, of Ruston and Sharon Groves and her husband, Scott, of Monroe. The honoree and guests were treated to a DVD created by Aaron Scott, comprised of photographs of his bands from 1958 through 1970, plus newspaper articles about their awards and accomplishments, set to the familiar strains of marches we performed under his direction.
The highlight of the reception was the presentation to Mr. Gardner of the 1959 Sweepstakes trophy, recovered in mint condition from the former Winnsboro High School (now Franklin Parish High School). The trophy had been given to Edward and Betty Robinson Davis by the current principal of FPHS, Pat Moore Sartin, who was also a former band student of "Mr. G's."
Time was given for personal reflection of humorous, as well as serious, stories of the lasting impression their years of music instruction under Mr. Gardner left with them. Kay Freeman Scott said it best in the closing frame of the DVD: "The teacher of music lives forever in the youth whose minds and hearts and souls he has awakened to a life-long joy': Thank you, Mr. Gardner, for the music, marching and many fond memories!"
Top row, Left to Right: Aaron Scott, "Lefty" Hassell, Bill Griffing, Scott Davis, Edward Davis, Larry Ellerman, Jimmy Brownell; 2nd Row, L to R: Sherry Sullivan Martin, Linda Duplissey Walsh, Faith Robinson Cheatham, Jeff Wiley, Wayne LaForge, Susan Guimbellot Sturdivant, Phillip Montgomery; Bottom row, L to R: Alice Jane Gowan Green, Sue Freeman Grace, Betty Robinson Davis, Glynn Gardner, Margaret Ann Sims Hoogland, Georgianna O'Neal Emfinger, Kay Freeman Scott.