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Travel with me if you will, to a place now frozen in time but alive in the memories of those who lived there. If you are not one of those lucky few, then perhaps you have memories of a similar place and time. Imagine that you are sitting in your 1956 Chevrolet, or your 1948 Ford pick-up truck, parked facing a bandstand that sits in a small, tree-shaded park on a warm summer evening circa 1957 in Rembrandt, Iowa, U.S.A. As you look around, you see probably twenty or thirty cars and trucks similarly parked. All the car windows are rolled down. All are waiting for the band to start its concert.
        The familiar figure of Myron Teague steps up before the band, taps his director’s baton on the podium, and raises his right arm with the baton poised high so all the musicians can see. Just to be sure they see, he pauses and looks at every band member over the top of the frame of his brown tortoise shell glasses. They look back. They are ready. Almost imperceptibly the baton moves. The strains of “Stars and Stripes Forever” fill the air. It is a good feeling. When this familiar Sousa number ends, the air is filled with the sound of honking horns, including yours, from the cars surrounding the bandstand. The same ritual is followed for each of the dozen or so numbers played that night. The national anthem signals the end of the concert. The music is good, the weather is good, and all is right with the world.
          Myron Teague had a way of making the music right and making the audience feel good. During most of the 1950’s he presided over a sort of “golden age” of musical achievement in the Rembrandt Consolidated School, and also in the community. No band he directed ever received less than a “1” rating at state music festivals. Likewise, many of his small group ensembles and soloists, both instrumental and vocal, carried home that top rating from festivals year after year. The community began to expect it, and they were not disappointed.
           Nor did Myron ever forget that the band belonged to the community. His bands marched on the streets of Rembrandt for numerous events such as the Fourth of July (they actually marched on the Fourth), Memorial Day or ‘Decoration Day’ as it used to be called, and any other day he was asked to. Free community concerts were given not only on summer evenings at the Park, but during the school year, in the gymnasium; always to a full house. The people of Rembrandt wanted to hear the band, and so they came. Few, if any, went home disappointed.
          One may not think that is so unusual, until one remembers that the student body of the Rembrandt High School was never more than 64 students, and no more than 200 kids in all of K through 12. The band and the mixed chorus grew every year Myron was music director. Kids wanted to be part of it; their parents wanted them to be part of it; and Myron wanted them to be part of it. His enthusiasm for and love of music was contagious. And so he taught any kid in school who wanted to learn, how to play a band instrument. Those who already played, he taught to play better. If you got good enough, you had a seat in the band no matter what grade you were in. Myron’s bands had members from every grade, fourth through twelfth. Imagine, a ten-year-old could play in one of the finest “high school” bands in the State of Iowa, or sing in a great mixed chorus, or both. No, that is not mere hyperbole. It is the plain, unvarnished truth.
             Myron and his family left Rembrandt in 1961 after only seven short years. His former students went on to colleges, universities, and careers; had their own families and followed their individual paths. Were the days of playing in Mr. Teague’s band forgotten? Ask anyone who attended the Rembrandt Centennial in 2001. They will tell you. Mr. Teague and a core group of about twenty or so of those 1950’s bands were not only there, but played a concert in the old gymnasium, and marched the streets of Rembrandt in a parade! Over forty years of time and distance could not overcome the desire of these former students for a chance to relive one of the great experiences of their lives – playing in Mr. Teague’s band. This was no less true for Myron, who at 77 would not have missed it for the world.
             As I said in the opening of this tribute to Myron Teague, those of us who were there in the 1950’s are indeed lucky people. If we were fortunate enough to be at the Centennial too, how much the sweeter to get to do it again.

Thank you Myron, and thank you Rembrandt.

(Written by Pat Teague)