Band, orchestra teacher retires after three decades of teaching



Emma Newman co-editor-in-chief 

After teaching for 13 years in the district and 31 overall, instrumental music teacher Bill Bradbury will retire this year. 

Despite enjoying his time teaching, Bradbury chose to retire this year because of the job’s demands, financial reasons and a desire to expand his horizons. 

Bradbury said that of all of the aspects of teaching, he will most miss “interacting and working with students.” 

“One of the joys of teaching is presenting to students a concept that they don’t really understand, that they don’t know. But, through the process of introduction, drill and practice, and to see them work through the process, and then actually grasp the concept…and to see them be successful,” Bradbury said. 

Symphonic band student senior Eli Ramer has grown as a musician because of Bradbury’s method of teaching. 

“In an odd way, I feel like I’ve learned the most from him considering I’ve had him for four years. I was able to just continue compounding and learning new things regardless of just continuing to play music with him, and it’s never gotten old,” Ramer said. “ His teaching and the atmosphere he’s created has made me love music even more throughout every year that I’ve had him.” 

Similarly, orchestra student senior Kate Kotlyar feels her skills as a musician expanded throughout her four years of having Bradbury as a teacher. 

“I came in[to] Concert Orchestra my freshman year and I’d say for someone who was playing for three years, I was pretty decent, at least I thought I was. My abilities improved a bit in Concert Orchestra, but they really improved a load during Chamber Orchestra when I joined my sophomore year, and especially during the musicals and  having his guidance on those,” Kotlyar said. 

Kotlyar doesn’t just appreciate Bradbury’s teaching, though–she also loves his energy in the classroom, which she considers her favorite part of being in his class. 

“He’s 61, but he still has a very young and fun spirit, as cliche as that sounds,” Kotlyar said. “He treats us more like friends and a lot of the time, he’ll just go on random tangents and tell us stories and that’s like 15 minutes of class gone, but we learn so many things about his life because he’s lived such a full one and such a cool one.”

Because of this atmosphere, Kotlyar “always enjoys[s] going” to his class. 

“He just makes the classroom such a fun and welcoming place. I can start the day with a bad mood, but then I enter Mr. Bradbury’s class and start playing my bass, and I feel so much better,” Kotlyar said. 

Ramer specifically enjoys Bradbury’s class because of his ability to balance learning and entertainment in his classroom. 

“He creates such an environment of rich learning while also keeping it very light-hearted and fun at the same time, which is something that’s very difficult to do,” Ramer said. 

Ramer also respects the positive ways in which he is able to discipline his students. 

“He’s the teacher who handles disruptive students the best out of anyone that I know,” Ramer said. “Whatever a student says or jumps up in the middle or does something, he always has just an extremely witty comeback for it, whether that is creating a nickname or just generally bring back a joke that he created before based on a situation with a student.”

Unlike his students, Bradbury’s favorite moments of being in the classroom have been when he has gotten to witness his student’s accomplishments. 

“To see the students’ successes–those were some of the best moments,” Bradbury said. “Being able to take a band and orchestra to the London New Year’s Day Parade [in] 2013 [and] 2016 was pretty special. The marching band performing at the city Centennial [in] 2013 was pretty neat.” 

After he retires, Bradbury plans to spend more time surfing, spending time with his family and relaxing. However, he still hopes to be able to work with students learning their instruments in some capacity. 

Ramer will miss having Bradbury as his teacher, and knows that others in the school district will as well. 

“I’ll miss the music he chooses. I’ll miss how he runs classes and having him as my conductor,” Ramer said. “It’s been a very special couple of years and it’ll definitely be sad to see him go but I know the district will miss him and all the students who still have him will definitely miss him.”