TKHS Band Director Passes Baton to Former Student

“I couldn’t be happier or prouder to pass the baton to my former student and now colleague,” said Rickert at the final TKHS concert and symphonic band concerts Wednesday night. Jansma is a 2020 TK graduate. 

Rickert led the opening piece with the concert band, then turned the baton over the Jansma for the rest of the concert band performance. He took a place with the students in the band, joining them playing percussion. He and Jansma later shared in leading the symphonic band.

The Band Boosters presented Rickert with a framed photo collage of his years at TK. Similarly, the symphonic band offered him several surprises - a graduation “senior citizen” cap, diplomas from all the seniors, and two students even gave him the shirts off the backs - knowing they were just his style. They also gave him something no other class can give him - a photo frame with the words “Last Class Ever.”

In the final Jazz Band concert, Rickert and his senior students couldn’t hide all their emotions. Senior Cash Rabley spoke for the band members.  “You have been a part of our lives for so many years…You’ve touched so many hearts over the years and I just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate it. You are genuinely one of the kindest and most amazing people I have ever met…You really fuel a fire under all of these kids and make us work so hard to become such great musicians and I’m so appreciative of you for that.”

He gave a basket of gifts to Mr. Rickert, including a customized Jazz record put together by the students. On the back of the album it read, “A man may retire, bands may rise and fall, but music lives on.”

Rabley also welcomed and congratulated Clair Jansma on becoming the next TKHS band director. “She has been working so hard with all the bands over the past semester and I know she is going to do amazing things here. I cannot wait to see how much she accomplishes here.”

During the final concerts Rickert also thanked his students, colleagues and the TK parents. His voice broke a little as he spoke. 

“Retiring is bittersweet. I’m excited for the next adventure but there are definitely some things I will miss about this very special place. First, I will miss the wonderful people that I have had the privilege to work with every day. The staff in this building is second to none. They are genuinely good, caring humans. I will miss marching our army of band kids into Bob White Stadium Friday nights - there’s nothing quite like that. I’ll miss the atmosphere we helped to create on Veterans Day and the spirit our band provides at assemblies and other community events. But mostly I will miss spending my days with some of the greatest humans I’ve ever met.”