Dozens of family members, friends, co-workers and students packed into the high school performance hall to show Dr. Tom Shine and his wife Verda their appreciation for their years of service to the districts band programs. With twinkling trophies surrounding them, the smell of helium filled balloons and the sweet taste of vanilla cake on their tongue, they then joined the same people in the band hall with broad smiles plastered across their faces at their reception.
“They made me strive to be a better musician,” junior Eric Ludwig said. “He made me love music more than I could have ever imagined.”
The Shines and their friends and family not only gathered to hear a piece of music in honor of them Feb. 27, but also for the naming of the performance hall to the Tom and Verda Shine Performance Hall. Assistant director Will Pitts came to the district this year and though he did not teach here with the Shines he says they had an impact on him just as they did those within the district.
“Many people around the country have a great idea of what Tom has done here, he and Verda both,” assistant band director Will Pitts said. “There are some people that need no introduction, but when you do introduce them it takes forever because of all the things they have done. And that’s the kind of people the Shines are.”
The Shines retired from the district last year with 77 years of dedication to music education. Under their leadership the band program established a tradition of excellence, winning numerous awards, titles and honors including both of the John Philip Sousa Foundation Sulder Awards: the Sulder Flag of Honor and the Sulder Sheild of Honor along with 3 5A State Championships in marching and 14 State Finalist appearances.
“It was so cool to see someone so passionate about music even after he’s done it so long,” sophomore David Daniels said. “I miss his passion for the students. He cared about not only the music, but us and our lives. He taught us to love music and not just do it for the awards.”
Senior Abbie Palmgren says that Dr. Shine’s commitment to his students inspired her to continue with music.
“There was a time when I wasn’t really interested in band and I wanted to quit,” Palmgren said, “But after moving up to wind ensemble with Dr. Shine he sparked my interest in music again because his teaching style is so inspiring.”
Former band parent and school board member Tom Kennedy say that the Shines taught his daughter more than music in the band program and he believes band students still learn lessons outside of music.
“My daughter learned to be on time. Everywhere she goes she gets there 15 minutes early,” Kennedy said. “I think that the students learn to be dedicated to what they do an learn life lessons in band. They learn that they have to work hard to be a part of something good.”
The Shines were surprised with a piece that the Wind Ensemble commissioned for them. The work was titled “Spark” and was written by Pitts. Daniels says playing the piece was worth all the work they put into perfecting it.
“It was nice to feel like we could give something back to them,” Daniels said. “Especially after they have given so much to so many students. It was a really special honor.”
Although the Shines have retired, they remain active in the band program. Ms. Shine says that she feels like she has taken on a new role in the program.
“I don’t really feel like I’ve retired from Duncanville,” Ms. Shine said. “I still teach private lessons one day a week and I see the other directors, so I really enjoy that. I think of myself more as a grandparent who is welcomed in any Duncanville school at any time. We will continue to support our music program, that we are so proud of.”
Dr. Shine says although community members in Duncanville feel grateful for he and his wife’s contributions, they remain humbled and honored to be a part of Duncanville.
“None of us can choose where we’re born, but at some point in our lives we get to choose where we get to spend the rest of our lives,” Dr. Shine said. “Nearly 31 years ago Verda and I chose to be here. It only took one day, when I first came to work with the Duncanville band, to know that this is an extraordinary place. No one has been as fortunate as we have to have been here and work with you and to know all of you.”