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Gering band director receives award
October 27, 2011 Jerry Purvis   

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Randy Raines

Randy Raines, director of bands at Gering High School, was recently named as Nebraska Music Education of the Year.

Raines has taught music for 37 years, the past 15 at Gering. During his time at Gering, he’s served as director of the high school marching, concert and jazz bands, as well as numerous elementary and junior high instrumental and vocal ensembles.

A native of Tulsa, Okla., Raines received his bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Oklahoma in 1975.

“After graduation, I taught for two years in public schools in Kansas,” he said. “Then I taught at Panhandle State University in western Oklahoma the next five years.”

From Oklahoma, Raines was off to graduate school at the University of Kansas. Graduating in 1981, his Master of Music Performance degree emphasized wind band, conducting and music literature.

“During grad school, I also conducted the university wind ensemble and the advanced wind ensemble,” he said. “And I played in the symphonic band.”

After graduation, Raines returned to Panhandle State University. But one year later, he received a call from his director of bands at Kansas about an opening at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“That was for what’s called a one-year visiting assistant professorship,” Raines said. “I directed the wind ensemble there, taught trombone, brass methods and conducting. I also played in the North Carolina Symphony that year.”

After the one year, Raines said all the jobs he was offered was one-year positions at small colleges. “I didn’t want any more of that unless I got my doctorate, which I had no desire to do. So I went back to teaching public school in McCook.”

After six years, he had the “best Class B band in the state, according to the judges.”

Raines’ next stop was in Scottsbluff, where during his three-year tenure, he started jazz program in the high school.

After Scottsbluff, Raines was back in Kansas teaching in the public schools, directing two bands and teaching introduction to the arts.
Then he got the call from retiring Gering band director Dick Moore about a job here. Raines’ family was on vacation, so stopped by for an impromptu interview and applied for the position. After an official conference call interview, he was offered the position.

Although he’s been nominated four times for Music Educator of the Year, this is the first time Raines has won the award.

The nomination must come from a member of the Nebraska Music Educators Association and the process includes letters of support from other music instructors, parents, administrators and senior members of the high school band.

Raines said he was surprised when he got the letter, so he had it framed and it hangs in his office.

“One of the first people I e-mailed was my trombone teacher at the University of Oklahoma, where he’s been for the past 42 years,” Raines said. “Everything I learned about teaching, about dealing with people, character and so much more I learned from him.”

Raines will accept his award on Nov. 17 in Lincoln during the awards banquet at the annual Nebraska Music Educators Convention.

He said the first thanks he will give will be to his late father for buying him a trombone, especially since he never expected to end up in music.
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