Wing departing as elementary band leader

MAYFIELD – On a sunny, blustery Tuesday morning, Mayfield music teacher Noel Wing led his elementary band through one of his last concerts at the elementary music program.

Leading the band through the Star Spangled Banner, Galactic Episodes, and even the theme to Happy Days – “Rock Around the Clock” – the band practiced in front of the elementary school, preparing for its Tuesday night concert.

Wing, who has worked for the Mayfield Central School District for more than 30 years, is retiring from his position as a music teacher but will remain director of the high school band.

Wing said he started working for the district 33 years ago, when he was appointed as a full-time music teacher. Prior to that, he spent time as a substitute teacher.

Principal Nicholas Criscone said in his time at the district, Wing has shown himself to be passionate and structured, as well as joyful.

Criscone said when the music program was reduced four years ago, Wing struggled greatly.

“He and the other music teachers were showing me the research, pointing to me the research on how music increases intellectual stimulation, how students who perform music typically perform better on exams and graduation rates go up,” Criscone said. “So, [those were] things that we really tried to point out to our Board of Education.”

Criscone said the budget cuts still occurred in 2008, but the music program recently received an increase in funding, bringing K-6 music courses to the elementary school.

Dylan Bumpus, a sixth-grade trumpet player, has been part of the elementary school band for three years. He said he was surprised to hear about Wing’s retirement.

“I was sad, I couldn’t really believe it,” Bumpus said.

Bumpus said he liked Wing’s constant encouragement and push to be better.

“He just tells us never to give up and try harder,” Bumpus said.

Hannah Tomlinson, a sixth-grade flutist, got into the program due to a family tradition.

“I was surprised he [is] retiring because of how good he [is] as a teacher,” Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson described Wing as very nice.

“He helps out anyone who has a problem,” Tomlinson said.

However, Bumpus, and other students moving to the high school, will still have Wing as a band director.

“I was happy to hear that,” Bumpus said.

Wing described the departure as bittersweet.

However, he was happy to have worked with the students that he did.

“The elementary kids were always fun to work with especially,” Wing said.

In addition to working part-time with the high school band, Wing said he plans on spending his retirement doing work around the house and spending time with his family.

“Well, I have two grandsons and I’ll be looking to spend more time with them,” Wing said.