03/23/08 — Retiring band director to do reunion concert

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Retiring band director to do reunion concert

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 23, 2008 2:01 AM

Janet Barnes has met many people over her three-decade-long career teaching music in Wayne County Public Schools.

And as she prepares to end her journey, which has taken her to several schools around the county, she is hoping to see some of those students again -- for one last concert.

Now band director at Dillard Middle School, she is preparing to retire this summer.

Before that happens, she wants to have a concert, but not just any concert.

She wants to assemble a band and chorus comprised of students from throughout her years in the classroom.

"I have seen generations of parents and their children," she said. "It is my desire to invite all my former students that I have ever taught to come and be my special guests."

Ms. Barnes will conduct rehearsals for those chorus and general music student and former band students on Saturdays leading up to the concert, planned for May 8 at Dillard Middle School. The free concert will be open to the public, she noted.

"The chorus and general music students will perform one number together, and the band students will perform one number. The percussion ensemble students will also perform one number," she explained.

Rehearsals will begin on Saturday, March 29, in the band room at Dillard. Chorus will practice each week at 1 p.m., with the band and percussion scheduled to rehearse at 4 p.m.

Ms. Barnes began working in education at Edgewood Community Developmental School, as a general music teacher. Since then, she said, she has taught chorus and band at almost every school in the central attendance area, as well as Spring Creek Middle and Eastern Wayne High School.

It has been a career with a lot of high notes, she says.

"I was the first to march a middle school band in Wayne County," she said. It was 1993 and the students were excited to be in the Goldsboro Christmas parade, she recalls.

In 1997, she was named Teacher of the Year while at Goldsboro Middle School.

"I brought Dillard Middle and Goldsboro Middle schools together as one band, Dillard Middle and Rosewood Middle together as one band," she said. "Our band also played for Gov. Jim Hunt, and we have performed at various festivals, including an East Carolina University homecoming."

She said she hopes this last concert will allow her to reiminisce and to say thank you to all the students, staff and others who have made her career a labor of love.

Ms. Barnes said she is most excited about the possibility of reuniting with her former students.

"You're talking some students that are 40 years old now," she said.

Mostly, though, it promises to be an encore performance unlike any she has experienced, she said.

Former students can reach Ms. Barnes at 738-7331.