Twenty-nine years ago this spring Mrs. Bill (Melba) Akason phoned us with the news the Oskaloosa Community School District had hired a new orchestra director.
She knew this would be important to us because of our two elementary aged daughters who were string players. She was probably also aware that we considered the future of the orchestra program, well, bleak.
The new hire was Bruce McLellan, an experienced teacher who we quickly discerned was up to the challenge of rebuilding the orchestra program. Not only did our daughters become more proficient on their instruments but their group orchestra experiences improved, too.
This is not to imply that everything went perfectly. Some will remember the district’s financial difficulties and consideration of eliminating the orchestra program early in that decade. Seeing what it has become today, we are forever grateful it survived! And we acknowledge the difference a competent, dedicated director can make.
Although we have watched the orchestra from afar for several years now, we have been aware of numerous awards, both group and individual, that have been bestowed on its members and/or director. I
t seems fitting that as Mr. McLellan retires at the end of this school year, a word of thanks would be in order, however inadequate that may be.
Congratulations, Bruce, on a job well done!
Steve and Phyllis Hess