ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – Athens City Schools announced last week that beloved longtime Middle School Band Director Patrick Bacon has passed away.
Mr. Bacon dedicated his life to music education and his support for the Athens band program and his students will forever be remembered.
The Athens Middle School band is among the hundreds of band students both taught and musically inspired under the leadership of Mr. Bacon during his 40 years in the district.
After graduating from the University of North Alabama, Mr. Bacon began teaching in 1970 at the age of 21 as the Junior High band instructor in Athens city schools.
“To go from college and teach at one school for forty years is definitely remarkable,” says Athens High School Band Director Tyler Parker.
Bacon’s tenure for the band program is recognized as the longest tenure of any band director ever in the city of Athens.
“My goal is to kind of help to continue what he did here as middle school band director,” Parker told News 19. “When you have that kind of support it makes you want to teach in that school district for a long time.”
On September 16 Mr. Bacon passed away.
Parker says he can’t help but think about the hundreds of students with whom he played a significant role in his decades of service to the program. His final concert was held in 2011 but he left an undeniable mark on the Athens band program.
“We saw people at the funeral, and I’ve talked to alumni the past few weeks that literally band changed their lives. We are missing consistency because kids have got to have consistency in the classroom,” said Parker. “That requires us to not focus on ourselves but to focus on others and focus on kids and I know that Mr. Bacon did that for forty years and that the only way that you can stay forty years is to think about someone else besides yourself.”
In the book titled “They Dared To Soar! Memories of the Music 1938-2000, author Sallie Cowart Brock reflects on the career of Mr. Bacon, who retired from teaching in 2011.
Superintendent Beth Patton also released a statement regarding Bacon’s passing
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Bacon, a beloved member of the Athens City Schools family,” She said. “I will forever be grateful to Mr. Bacon for the lasting mark he made on me and also on the Athens Band Program as a whole.”