Glen Hills Middle School group principal retires after 36 years

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There was a bittersweet symphony at a college in Glendale on Tuesday night, May 17, as a beloved 36-year-old music teacher conducted a special concert.

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You don’t forget a good song, kind of like a good teacher.

“He was really nice,” said eighth-grade clarinetist Sienna Clarke. “He likes, pushed me.”

“I really like Mr. McCarthy,” said sixth-grade saxophonist Isaac Lippow. “He really inspired me to keep doing that because at first I didn’t want to do a band.”

Along with the inspiration, Lippow said Glen Hills Middle School band principal Tim McCarthy gave him his new saxophone.

“I was really happy,” Lippow said.

It’s not just about musical knowledge or even instruments that students take with them beyond music lessons.

“I take away from you always doing your best and always putting your best foot forward,” said seventh-grade clarinetist Annele Kaugars.

“It’s been a great 36 years,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said there were a lot of highs in those years and music was key to managing the lows.

“We have a lot of students who are struggling, and the COVID situation has made it emotionally very difficult for them,” McCarthy said. “The music seems to bring them back. It grounds them.”

On Tuesday night, the word “bittersweet” took center stage.

“Boy, lots of emotions,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy called it a big celebration in Glen Hills, with concerts returning during the pandemic. It was also his last.

Retired after 36 years, McCarthy is not only proud of his students who have gone on to become professional players.

“A lot of our graduates who leave our music program don’t become band managers or professional musicians, but they leave, I think, really as better people,” he said.

McCarthy leaves on a high, knowing his lessons reverberate long after the songs are over.

“He really liked it, making us all better,” Clarke said.

“He gave me a passion in life that I didn’t really have before until I found this, and I’m really glad I had him as a teacher,” Lippow said.

The school is asking current and former students to share their memories with Mr. McCarthy for a keepsake book at this link.

In retirement, Mr. McCarthy plans to move to Ripon with his wife.

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