The Nebraska State Bandmasters Association presented their highest honor, the Donald A. Lentz Outstanding Bandmaster Award, last Friday, and the award winner Broken Bow music educator Bill Reichert, could not have been more surprised.
It was retired fellow music educator Joyce Patch’s job to see that he was in attendance. She asked Reichert to be there saying she was going to receive an award and she’d be honored if he’d come. He did. Little did he know she was to be one of the presenters, and the award was to go to him.
A look of humble surprise hit his face as he looked up from the podium and saw the 40 or so people from Broken Bow who trekked to Lincoln to be there for the presentation. He didn’t know it was coming, and he didn’t know they would be there. The midst of friends, family and colleagues included former students currently just down the road from the University.
The award is named after Donald A. Lentz of Lincoln, who was Director of Bands at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1937-1974 and remained active as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the state until his death.
Reichert is band director at Broken Bow Public Schools, and has been a member of NSBA for 38 years. At Broken Bow he covers the entire band program, directing students from fifth - twelfth grade. In his program he offers: concert band, jazz band, small ensembles and solos, pep band, marching band, private lessons (including lessons for rural students not yet in the school system), percussion class, beginning band, middle level band, music theory class ...
The letters of recommendation for the awards contained the following:
Gary Davis stated in his letter of recommendation, “Bill has been the recipient of many band awards over his career including the National Band Association Citation of Excellence. This national award is one indication of Bill's immense success as a band director. Of equal importance is my observation of his love of teaching, and more specifically, his love for his students.”
Marilyn Godby stated, “Bill rather reminds me of the "faithful and sturdy" oak tree. The oak tree silently, but strongly and consistently, grows each year. As the tree matures, the majestic branches begin to form and expand, and the mighty leaves provide shelter and encouragement for many. As the years accumulate, acorns fall from the tree, and they passionately surround the ground at the "feet" of the mighty oak. And, those acorns represent the many student of Bill Reichert.”
Neal Schnoor had these accolades, "Bill has committed himself to career in band directing for over 30 years at Broken Bow ... When I think of Bill and how he has demonstrated basic principles of an outstanding band director I think of two things, commitment to students and to his community. To me this is true advocacy, Bill doesn't just teach music in Broken Bow; Bill "IS" music in Broken Bow."
Retired band director Stanley Johnson stated, "Bill has always exhibited very high expectations for himself and his band students. Bill, from the very beginning, has instilled a strong work ethic in his students. This has helped them to achieve the excellence which his program has attained each time they step on the marching field or sit on the stage."
Mr. Reichert's nominators, The Broken Bow Music Boosters stated, " His measurement of success is built on student growth, both personally and musically. Student participation is a driving factor in his work as a director.
“Mr. Reichert’s approach to marching band is to keep the emphasis on perfection balanced with time available to work with the students in our school that participate not only in band but also in sports, other fine arts, work, and family life. Because of this approach of balance he maintains quality and enthusiasm each year in his band with little student burnout."
Mr. Reichert is a member of Nebraska State Bandmasters Association, Nebraska Music Educators Association and Nebraska State Education Association.
He has received the Neal and Pauline Keller Teacher of the Year Award from the Broken Bow Schools as well as the Nebraska Rural Schools Association "Gary Fisher Outstanding Music Teacher Award, and was recently named Broken Bow’s Citizen of the Year.