I am just months away from my college graduation, and I am excited to say that I will be graduating early with a B.A. in Fine Arts. I have been involved in numerous performances at the University of Alabama, and I excelled with ease in my music classes here. I owe much of my success to Mr. Shepherd, who taught me how to appreciate music and helped my love for music grow.
Although during my time at Lancaster High School I had no idea what an impact music would have on my future, I want him to know that his influence has been greatly appreciated. I have friends that are in the University of Alabama’s Marching Band that tell me stories of their high school band, and when I tell them of my band experiences, they instantly become envious. The marching band shows that Mr. Shepherd pulled off with our small band, although often ignored by some of the football fans, have always been the best in the area. I am sure if more of the community would get out and support their young musicians, they would realize how amazing our local band sounds on the field and in the auditorium.
Lancaster is blessed with several wonderful talents, but what people do not realize is that one of the most talented I have ever met is Mr. Shepherd. He can instantly change music from different keys. He can sight read like he has practiced for years and can play a saxophone while looking at flute music.
I am sure many people do not realize why it would be hard to read music for the wrong instrument and still make it sound right. Well, you simply do not understand, because you have not had Mr. Shepherd as a teacher, and therefore you have not witnessed a genius working right in front of you. And I must say as someone who has loved Lancaster, Wisconsin as my hometown through our good times and the bad, I am outraged that the school district could make such a poor decision, especially with such an amazing person and musician as Mr. Shepherd. He devoted his life to his students and to the school. To me there is a dark cloud over Lancaster, and I do not know if it will ever see clear skies again.
I do not know if this can be resolved at this point, but maybe everyone should take a look at the priorities of the Lancaster School District. Sports, although important, seem to come first, yet fine arts seem to be disappearing. Why? Perhaps this is because there are several career paths that involve fine arts, and the Lancaster School District seems intent on making it as hard as possible for their graduates to pursue this passion.
This pursuit of passion has just been made much more difficult to follow when one of the shining leaders of inspiration has been let go. However, I want the Shepherd family, including Dena and Christina, to know that their devotion has been noticed. They are greatly appreciated and respected. Their departure is a sad loss for our school and community and for the passion followers of the arts.