With Bob Buckner’s last season in full swing, the Pride of the Mountains has quite a road ahead of them. In the midst of the Rose Bowl preparations and the growing reality that Bob’s time as band director is drawing to a close, it seems only appropriate to offer the thoughts of some of Bob’s closest peers.
All of the Pride of the Mountains band members can recall Bob telling them the practice agenda for the day he announced his retirement. It wasn’t extensive or abnormal, just a few run-throughs and an announcement, but for some reason those who were present can recall it vividly.
As the band gathered together for the routine meeting, everything changed. There were few dry eyes with the announcement as Bob stood in front of the band he built and broke it to them gently.
It is disappointing that Bob is leaving. He has worked hard for years and earned the right. Many band members have only been a member of his legendary band for a few months, and haven’t had the long-term relationship with him some others have. To many, Bob’s retirement is the end of their Pride career as well.
No one in band can imagine a band without Bob. Elizabeth Dennis, a sophomore band member, admits that a band without Bob will be an adjustment.
“It’s weird,” she said. “I just figured he would always be here. Things will definitely feel different.”
Everyone involved in this organization knows what Bob means to the band and the to the school. Bob Buckner is the Pride of the Mountains.
Sam Rawls, a junior and section leader in the band, said it well.
“It seems his name has been synonymous with the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band forever. I’ve been with the band for three years, and have grown accustomed to the way Bob teaches and runs everything.”
When discussing a new director, Rawls said “I hope whoever replaces him continues to take the band to newer and better things, but I also hope he realizes he has some big shoes to fill.”
The general consensus seems to be that no matter what happens, Bob will leave the band in good hands. Even with the uncertainties, The Pride of the Mountains is hopeful and optimistic.
With all the tradition, the passion, and the dedicated staff that will still be here, Bob’s legacy will never fade. The Pride of the Mountains will do what Bob taught it to do: grow, evolve, and inspire.
Students have never been so motivated towards greatness as they have in their time learning under Bob Buckner. Whatever the outcome of his retirement, The Pride of the Mountains Marching Band wishes Bob and his family many years of happiness.