Archived Story

Best wishes Mr. Iverson and thank you [UPDATED]

Published 9:36am Thursday, February 2, 2012 Updated 11:36am Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mr. Iverson’s last band concert, held on Jan. 26, was “all about the kids” — to quote one of Mr. I’s beliefs. The band played wonderfully, they had great fun and many fond memories were shared.

The night started with Gary Schuler introducing both the band and Mr. Iverson. He stated that it was an honor to be chosen to make the introduction and share his pride in the band — and that he gets goose bumps every time he hears the band play the school song and the Star Spangled Banner.

The evening’s concert was filled with emotional songs — and I’m sure there weren’t many dry eyes in the house when Mr. I picked up his saxophone and played a short solo piece to the band during the song titled “Benediction.”

Following the concert, speakers shared their thoughts and impressions about Mr. Iverson. I started out with some facts about Mr. I’s career that began as a teacher in Lake Park for seven years, followed by Fergus Falls for 28. He traveled more than 25,000 miles by bus with students and directed almost 200 band concerts. He has taught more than 1,200 students, was invited to perform for Gorbachev’s Minnesota visit in 1995, and played for the Presidential Inaugural parade in 2009. The motto of the band is “Share the Pride.”

Next was Robbie Darling, senior band student, who shared comments about Mr. I. He spoke on how students truly admire Mr. I and have had an “awesome” time under his direction. He recalled the freezing conditions under which they marched in the inaugural parade, along with how they won many marching band awards — but it was always about the fans and people on the street. Robbie shared some funny moments about how Mr. I would use his high falsetto voice to demonstrate flute noises and what a “beast” (that’s a good thing) he is when he picks up an instrument. He said the band loved it when he

played or sang at jazz concerts.

In closing, Robbie shared Mr. Iverson’s simple philosophy of “Don’t be ordinary, be extraordinary.” And there couldn’t have been any better words to sum up Mr. I than those.

Robbie commented, “Jim Iverson is the most extra-ordinary band director I know.”

Mr. Kummrow, fellow band instructor, closed the evening by sharing many of the honors and awards Mr. Iverson received over the years. One of the most impressive is that he directed an all-state band member for 25 consecutive years. The big announcement of the evening was that a composition has been commissioned in Mr. Iverson’s honor. It will be composed by the renowned composer, Samuel Hazo and is scheduled to be performed by the 2013-2014 band.

If you are interested in viewing the concert, Park Region TV will be selling DVDs of the Jan. 26 performance at a cost of $15 each (with $7.50 going towards the composition). Scott Kummrow is accepting money toward the composition being commissioned in Jim’s honor.

Also, Denise Wiese, band instructor, is seeking used band instrument donations to the middle school band program.

On behalf of the Fergus Falls School District, we want to wish Mr. Iverson good luck in his new position with Schmitt Music and thank him for his years of dedicated service and excellence. We will continue to do our best to “Share the Pride.”


Jerry Ness is the superintendent of District 544 schools.

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