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MHS band director retires after 41 years

Reed: ‘That is the only place I have ever really wanted to teach’

By Gabriella Brown

After a 41-year career as the Morgantown High School director of bands, Keith Reed has retired.

“It was kind of my dream job,” Reed said. “That is the only place I have really ever wanted to teach.”

Reed said his career as a musician and interest in education started when he was a student at Morgantown High. He said his time performing in the band led him to meet his wife and find a path to his future career.

After graduating from high school, Reed studied at West Virginia University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in secondary education.

Shortly after graduation, in January 1979, Reed was hired as the assistant band director at MHS. After six years, he was hired for the director of bands position.

“I had such a good experience from my band director,” Reed said. “I always wanted to try to give the same experience to my students.”

By the end of his career, Reed was directing several bands and ensembles, including the marching band, wind ensemble, symphonic band, concert band and percussion ensembles.

He said during his time as the director, he got to travel to amazing places with his students while representing Morgantown. His bands have marched in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., and in the Pearl Harbor 75th commemorative parade.

Reed said of all the parades and trips his bands have taken, one of the most memorable for him was performing in the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.

“That was probably the most electric,” he said.

The symphonic bands and wind ensemble have been selected six times as the West Virginia State Honor Band under his direction.

John Brosky, a friend of Reed and former co-worker, said Reed’s attitude toward his students has not gone unnoticed.

“I was always impressed with Keith’s great dedication to the band program at MHS, wanting to carry on the tradition of excellence at MHS and to pass that on to the students,” Brosky said.

Mikaela Atkinson, Morgantown High School marching band choreographer and former band student, said Reed impacted every student who has come through his door.

“You can say a lot of things about Mr. Reed,” Atkinson said. “I think what makes Mr. Reed truly special is just the way he makes every student feel important and welcomed.”

Atkinson said his love for music allowed Reed to make the band feel like a family for many of his students. She said his students respect him because he works hard to make everyone feel included.

“He has made an individual impact on every single student he has directed during his career,” she said. “He really wants to make sure he gets to know each and every one of his students.”

Although Reed’s time as director of bands at MHS has ended, he said he is not stepping completely away.

Reed said in the coming years, he looks forward to continuing to help the middle school band directors. When the band travels, he plans to volunteer his time helping transport equipment.

“I still want to be involved wherever I can,” Reed said. “It was weird filling out a volunteer form the other day.”
Reed said he hopes the next person to fill his position will keep some of the band’s traditions, including playing well, working together and representing the community.

“I have always enjoyed watching the kids have a good time,” Reed said. “They have blessed me in so many ways.”

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