‘I don’t think he realizes the difference he has made’

William Johnson conducts his final band concert at Cold Springs High School. (contributed)

Cold Springs band director William Johnson retires

BREMEN, Ala. – Longtime Cold Springs High School Band Director William Johnson is putting down the baton and stepping away from the podium, retiring after 18 years.

When Johnson took on the position of band director in 2005, the program was in a bit of upheaval. Many students had left the program and fewer were interested in pursuing band. Johnson said he spent many hours recruiting students and calling their parents to ask the students to return to the band.

Johnson worked hard to rebuild the program and earn the trust and respect of his students. He created a safe and fun environment for his students to be creative and express themselves while realizing their full potential.

Being a band director is more than teaching during school hours. It’s Friday night football games, Saturday marching competitions, long hours of practice on weeknights, band camps, concert band and more, and Johnson worked with his students every step of the way.

LaShae Vogelpohl was one of Johnson’s first students and is now the woodwind instructor as well as the marching instructor for the program. “I don’t think he realizes the difference he has made,” Vogelpohl stated. “He has a great love for music and teaching kids. He cares about you as a person and you being able to meet your potential.”

“It’s exciting and it’s sad, too,” Johnson said of his retirement. “I’ve been here for 18 years. It’s going to be a drastic change from what I’m used to. I’ve been very fortunate this year; the kids are phenomenal.”

He continued, “I’ve made a lot of friends over the years. I like to think I’ve imparted some knowledge and some love for music in my kids.”

Johnson conducted his last concert for the Cold Springs High School band on May 5, and his retirement banquet was held May 15. At the banquet, many former students came to show their love for their former band director.

When asked what he will miss the most, Johnson took a moment to reflect and said, “Standing up there in front of my students and feeling that rush when they perform, seeing all that hard work come to fruition.”

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