Jasper band plays out beloved long-time director

Local News

JASPER, Ind. (WEHT) – In the belly of Jasper High School, a man with a booming voice coaches to a crescendo. The legend stepping down as conductor.

“He always says he’s a very different guy,” said senior Cole Weyer.

He waves his arms and hollers to the back of the room, starting and stopping the music. It is all part of James Goodhue’s plan. His lessons in the classroom will live with countless students.

“It’s a good place to do what we do,” Goodhue said. He has been at the helm of Jasper band for the last 29 years.

“If you look what every other band program does, it’s completely different to what we do,” senior drum major Vince Obermeyer said.

Goodhue has taught a generation of students, and many have been super talented. But it’s the students who don’t take to music right away that he loves the most.

“He’s very patient,” Weyer said with a smile, “even though it may not seem so with some students.”

Goodhue isn’t putting away the sheet music forever and this isn’t a swan song. “I’m going to keep doing some stuff and I don’t feel like I’m going out to pasture,” Goodhue said.

In retirement, he plans to help other local schools with lessons, and he hopes to play a little music on his own.

As much as he’s helped students, Goodhue says his students have made him better too.

“I’m pretty hard on myself,” he explained. “Afterwards when I’ve been a jerk, it’s made me more self-aware.”

There have been many accolades, but it’s never been about trophies and titles Goodhue says his time as band director is about spending time and developing talent.  That keeps his heart tuned.

“I like helping students achieve things, especially when it’s more than they thought they could do.”

He can only hope to measure up as well in his next verse.

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This story was originally published on May 15, 2019

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