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It’s was a day of music and emotions at Williamstown High School on May 1 as long-time director Bob Gregg directed his student’s in his final spring concert.
Gregg, who has spent nearly 40 years directing band, decided to retire after nine successful years at Williamstown.
“It’s a bittersweet day, but it’s time,” he said to the bleachers full of parents, friends and community members.
Gregg won three Class AAA state titles as band director for Harrison County High School before coming to Williamstown in 2002.
The Grant County High School graduate won five Class A titles at Williamstown, including three in a row from 2007-2009, and finished as runner-up four times.
In Williamstown’s final season under Gregg, the Band of Spirit missed out on a sixth state championship by .4 points to Beechwood High School.
“The kids here are amazing,” Gregg said. “The kids at Harrison County were amazing. I’ve just been really blessed. God blessed me to be able to be associated with amazing people.”
“This is not about me,” he said. “This is about (the students). Without them, I’m nothing. I love them and they love me even with my warts and everything. It’s been awesome and I want it to continue for them.”
The concert featured three musical selections each from the sixth grade beginning band, the seventh/eighth grade band and the high school band.
Gregg briefly spoke before each song, giving the audience insight into the background of the music.
Having recently lost his mother, Gregg mentioned her several times, including while talking about the concert’s final song, “Amazing Grace.”
“I don’t know where Mom is today,” he said. “If she is watching this, this is for her, too.”
Although the band was finished, the afternoon had just begun as Gregg was honored for his illustrious career.
The WHS chorus, led by senior Simeon Skilling, sang a retooled version of “Light Up My Life” with lyrics specific to Gregg.
A nearly 30-minute video traced the steps Gregg has taken during his life from going to Eastern Kentucky University, finding the love of his life and becoming a well-respected band director around the state.
Among the old photographs set to music, the video also featured thoughts from about 15 former students, colleagues or counterparts about Gregg as he retires.
“You mean so much to me,” said Jon Popham, a 2007 WHS graduate. “You mean so much to this school. You made this program so impressive. Everyone wants to see Williamstown perform. Without you, we could not have done it.
You’ve made everyone here a better person, not just musically, but in the world in day-to-day activities.”
WHS senior and field commander Alex Trumbo said Gregg always was classy and helped boost her confidence.
“I just love him,” she said. “He’s done so much for so many people. Just think of how many kids are in each band that he’s ever had. That’s how many lives he’s touched.”
Before the program ended with a dessert reception, Superintendent Sally Skinner presented a wooden glider and a jar filled with letters of remembrance from community members to Gregg and his wife.
Skinner said Gregg “put us on the map.”
“I wish him the best,” she said. “I hope he enjoys his retirement. This door is always open. He will always be a part of our family at Williamstown.”
Gregg acknowledged everyone’s kind words and said he was successful because of the students and the support he received from the boosters and the community.
“I love you all so much,” he said. “It’s been wonderful.”
“This is so much fun,” Gregg said. “To see all my family and friends, it’s just ‘wow.’ Thank you, all.”