by Lisa Tome
After 25 years with the school system, the last 18 directing the band at Rising Sun High School, Frank Metzger is marching onward.
Metzger, 62, of Bel Air, has retired.
"It's time. I've enjoyed teaching the band kids," said Metzger.
Before entering the school system, Metzger was a consultant for the University of Delaware Band for a half dozen years. He also taught marching bands at schools in the tri-state area before settling into the school system.
In addition to leading the band, he taught an assortment of classes - History of American Music, Guitar, and others. His days were busy - during marching band season he worked during after school and evening practices, football games, and Saturday competitions.
The past few years have been a challenge, but he endured. Metzger had more than one reparative knee surgery before undergoing a knee replacement. He did whatever it took to attend band events, directing from a wheelchair or the bed of a truck. He was in a wheelchair during the band's spring trip to perform at Disney World.
"The majority of the kids in music programs have not changed. The majority of the student body has changed. The impact of STEM on performance programs shortchanged good kids and recruited them to STEM and out of music," said Metzger.
Metzger said that of all the shows he directed with the marching band, the one featuring "Wizard of Oz" and "Wicked" was his favorite. He said that show best used his and assistant band director Jay Farmer's abilities.
Metzger isn't the only one wrapping up his time with the band. Farmer, who is a teacher in Howard County, and a former member of the North East High Band when Metzger worked there, won't be returning. Farmer has expanded family obligations.
"His desire to give our students an outstanding musical performance experience was only exceeded by my own," said Metzger.
"I will miss educating the band students and what they gave back to me as director," he said. "I won't miss the politics, policies, and procedures dictated by this county."
Metzger will do more performing as a retiree with performance group. He also plans to give music lessons, take vacations, and travel to the Sydney, Australia Symphony Hall with his wife Nancy. He is also looking forward to attending more concerts, performances, and revival tours. You may also catch him playing low brass in the pit band at Harford Community College.
"I will collaborate with colleagues on other musical adventures," he said.
A few days before the Class of 2016 collected their diplomas, Metzger looked back.
"I will miss the band kids and my colleagues here. I feel like I'm graduating from Rising Sun High School with the Class of 2016. I appreciate the administrations I've worked under in my 25 years," he said. "I wouldn't have done anything else. I would do it all again the same way I did it."