By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Band director gets musical send off


Courtesy photo

Green River High School band director Jerrid Washburn give his band one final group hug. Washburn resigned to pursue a pastoral career in Montana.

The band, accompanied by a police escort, made its way down Monroe Avenue.

On Friday, members of the Green River High School Band gathered to give their band director a final farewell.

Shortly after the group found out band director Jerrid Washburn resigned from his position, after more than 15 years of teaching, they started talking about a way to give him a proper send off. They finally decided on marching over to his house and playing a couple of songs for him.

Washburn was an instrumental music teacher at Green River High School and he also taught symphonic band-winds, symphonic band-percussion, jazz I and jazz II.

"It's a way to say thank you in a special way," GRHS graduate and band member Joshua Graves said.

Prior to marching to Washburn's house, the group met at Veteran's Park to go over music and decide which songs to play. Of course they decided to play the school song "On Wisconsin."

"It's about one fourth of our band, but some is better than none," GRHS graduate and band member Brianna Rath said. "We're really going to miss him. He was the band dad."

To get the word out about the last-minute parade for Washburn, Graves texted as many band members as he could, as well as getting the word out on Snapchat and Facebook.

In order to make sure Washburn would be at his house when the band arrived, Rath asked him if she could swing by with a card for him.

As for the police escort, both Graves and Rath admitted to dropping the ball on that.

"I literally just called them today," Graves said Friday morning.

Despite the last-minute phone call, the Green River Police Department answered the call and provided an escort for the parade to ensure all were safe.

"I think it will be a good send off," Graves said.

For Rath, who has known Washburn almost her entire life, it was the least she could do to show him how much she was going to miss him and his family.

"It's going to be difficult," she said. "I know he's going to do bigger and better things."

After marching down Monroe Avenue, the band arrived at Washburn's house only to be told he was still out for a run, another passion of his. However, they didn't have to wait long and as soon as the band saw him running up, they started to play. Washburn shared the moment with his wife, Shannon, and five children.

When the band had finished playing a couple of songs, they all looked at Washburn who was visibly overcome with emotion. At some point, most of his children, Washburn and his wife had to wipe away tears. A few band members also were wiping tears from their faces.

"I don't know if I can say anything without crying," he said.

Washburn told the kids it is hard to say goodbye, but he's excited about his new job.

"The hardest part is looking at you and saying that," Washburn said.

Washburn will become the new pastor of the White Sulphur Springs Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in White Sulphur Springs, Mont. For the past four years, Washburn has been in the ministerial studies program. Once he completed it, he became an accredited alliance worker.

The kids then gave Washburn a can that said memories on it, which he said he would look through later.

"This is going to make me cry more," Washburn said holding the can up. "Thank you guys for doing this."

After the band was done playing and the goodbyes were said, the group brought it in for one more group hug.

"I'm going to miss the energy they bring every morning," Washburn said.


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