“Meet the New Maestro” of Libby Schools,
Mr. Brandon Boone
by Stacy Bender
Following their St. Patrick’s Day concert debut for the 2020-21 schoolyear, the Libby Logger Middle School Band could contain their excitement back in the classroom as they worked with Mr. Boone to choose some of the music which will soon resonate at their next performance on May 15. (Photo by Stacy Bender)
Following the Jazz and Concert Band debut the previous week, Libby Band Director, Mr. Boone, was spotted assisting the LHS Middle and High School Choirs with a rhythmic lift. He had been crowned, as promised by Choir Director, Lorraine Braun, as the “Candy Man” of the evening as the choir students sang the classic tune. (Photo by Stacy Bender)
Kentucky is about the farthest North you can go and still be in the South,” shared Brandon Boone, Libby Schools’ Music and Band Director. “I attended college at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) where I earned my degree in Music Education. I had an interest in moving to a Western state from the time I started my degree and fell in love with Montana after a road trip in 2017 to Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.”
“I found out about Libby and the position which opened up here last Fall through a friend I met at CCM who had also moved to Montana to teach band a few years prior. One afternoon, they called out of the blue to tell me about the opening and that I should apply. The position looked like a great fit for me and the pictures of the area I had were stunning, so I applied immediately and within 24 hours I was speaking with the Mrs. Rogers.”
He will be the first to tell you this has been a very challenging year, but the rewards still found a way to shine through. “Learning all the functions and nuances of my role here while also dealing with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has been overwhelming at times to say the least. The band missed out on so many of the big events that students look forward to each year – divisional music festivals, honor bands, the Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival and others.”
“Yet in my opinion the biggest blow the program has taken this year has been the absence of a 6th grade band at the elementary school. While in Phase 1, there was just no feasible way to have a 6th grade band and follow all guidelines for safety and social distancing. Next year though we are on track to have a 6th grade beginning band at LES and a 7th grade beginning band at LMS. It will be a lot of work teaching two beginning groups, but I am very happy with how things are shaping up for next year.”
Boone is a natural and has begun developing a rapport with his students which beamed forth at the first official concert of his directing career here in Libby just two weeks ago. Backstage there were high fives and smiles of pure joy beaming once the proper embouchures were no longer required for each of the evening’s performances.
“My passion for teaching was inspired by my own band directors and mentors. They each taught me many valuable life skills which guide my daily life and which I am now trying to teach to my own students – the value of hard work, discipline, integrity, and leadership,” Boone went on to share. “I’m certain a piece of my love and passion for music also stems from my parents, who would proudly blast excellent classic rock music on the car radio during long road trips throughout my childhood and readily provide the necessary background information about said music.”
Boone began singing in elementary school and took guitar lessons before moving on to play the clarinet in 6th grade. Over that next summer, he took up the saxophone to ensure himself a shot at joining the jazz band. “I fell in love with the saxophone and quickly excelled thanks to my teachers and parents who funded my many private lessons.
Competitive marching band along with every type of band activity offered then followed. Concert, honor, jazz, marching and pep bands, and chamber ensembles, too. Before graduating, Brandon joined the Fillmore Wind Band (recently renamed the Cincinnati Wind Band) and was honored to play with such a high caliber of professional musicians for six years, traveling the country while making music.
In college, his musical endeavors continued through various performing ensembles including wind bands, quartets, and choirs. “I am just incredibly grateful to all of my teachers and mentors over the years who have shaped who I am today, I draw upon their teachings for guidance and inspiration every time I enter my classrooms.” Boone shared he has now fallen back on playing guitar during his free time is enjoying it immensely after a 10-years away from the finger strings.
“I love my job here in Libby and I am very excited for the future of the Logger band program. This is a wonderful community and I am happy to have been welcomed into it so warmly. Libby truly is a special place and everyone I have met affirms this to be true.”
“To my students, ‘Thank you for giving me a chance and for welcoming me as your band director this past year. It has been my joy and honor getting to know each of you over the past several months. You surprise me, challenge me, impress me, and make me laugh every day.”
“I thank the high schoolers in particular for their patience with me as they have helped me to understand and navigate many of the traditions here, whether it be a homecoming parade or how to not give our wrestling team a penalty at home matches.”