Lufkin teacher directs his last concert on the podium

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - One of Lufkin High School's well respected teachers will step foot on the podium for the last time Tuesday night. Assistant band director Bill Butler directs his last high school band concert.

Bill Butler's passion for music began many decades ago as he watched his father's success.

"My dad played in the 45th division band overseas involved with the U.S.O. Along with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby," Butler said.

At 9-years-old Butler's dad taught him to play the clarinet. More than a half century later, it's still his favorite instrument.

"I decided to stay with it and became a band director," Butler said. "I don't think I would want to do anything else except be around kids and enjoy playing music."

He's been teaching for 42 years and being around kids and music won't stop after retirement. He plans to move closer to his family and grandchildren near Houston.

"Retirement is going to be a whole other career," Butler said.

The assistant band director showed Scott Williams the ropes when he became the panther band director eight years ago. They have had a close bond since.

Scott Williams said, "He's just a family member. We're all a part of a big family, so yeah we're going to miss him. He plays clarinet like you can't even imagine."

Williams isn't the only panther band member who appreciates Butler.

"These kids respect Mr. Butler. I mean, he's like a father, grandfather to a bunch of them," Williams said. "When he gets up on the podium and when he directs the band, or when he talks to the band they stop and listen."

The well respected assistant band director will take part in his last LHS band concert Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

"It's the last time on the podium for me. I'm going to enjoy it but yet it's bitter sweet," Butler said. "I'm going to miss it."

Butler's retirement came as a surprise for the band staff at the high school. Students and staff members said they will miss him, but the band director said he plans to keep Butler around as long as possible. Butler will continue to help out with summer band camps.

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