TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) The Wabash Valley music community is striking a somber note, after two legendary band instructors passed away earlier in the week. Steve Humphrey and George Graesch impacted not only the lives of the students they taught, but the band community across the state.
They had two different lives with the same song. The melody that intertwined their lives: the life of a band instructor. Steve Humphrey on Terre Haute’s Southside
“Steve was the band teacher (at Terre Haute South) for 16 years from 1984 to 2000,” Terre Haute South Band instructor Tim Murphy said. “Then he decided he wanted to tackle middle school and took over the reigns at Honey Creek in 2000.”
The other: George Graesch at Indiana State University.
“He became the director of bands and was at Indiana State for 31 years retired in 1984,” Indiana State Band Instructor Doug Keiser said. “But he stayed active as a musician in the community.”
Their true mark on the Wabash valley is not measured in the scores performed, but the lives they changed.
“Steve’s teaching style was infectious I mean the kids just love learning and they loved the way he did things and I feel like I’m constantly trying to be more like , striving to be more like him,” Murphy said.
“Mr. Graesch was somebody, everybody would tell you was highly organized and he’s very much somebody who wanted to stand in the background and let students excel and he wanted to train band directors and he trained hundreds of them,” Keiser said.
But this week, both music men passed away. As different as their lives may have been, in the end they weren’t far apart.
“They ended up within the same floor within the same unit next to each other at the ICU and both of their funerals will be on Friday,” Keiser said. “So this has been a big loss for music educators and the music community in Terre Haute. But I think all of us realize what great men they were and made us realize how important they were to us.”
To the last note.