If you're among the fortunate in the graduation program tonight at Foothill High School, you'll also be among those applauding Bob Moorefield, the school's noted band director, who will lead the school's 112 music students in his and the seniors' final performance.
As the music director and guiding force for thousands of young musicians at Foothill, Moorefield, the man who created the band 36 years ago and who has been its guiding force ever since, is retiring.
Pleasanton Weekly writer Jerri Pantages Long, who interviewed the man affectionately known as "Moorf" and his wife Anne for a feature story we carried several months ago, says that at a very conservative estimate, Moorefield has paced along more than 367 miles of parade routes with teenage musicians from Foothill over the past four decades, enough to march from Pleasanton to Santa Barbara. But that doesn't count all the practice marches or the special events when the band was invited out of state and out of the country for command performances.
Moorefield has made musical history with his band, as evidenced by an estimated 3,500 glittering first-place and sweepstakes trophies that line his band room and office on campus. It started in 1973 when Foothill opened and Moorefield led the school's first marching band across the Bay to Cupertino for its first band review. There they got a "participation award" for showing up. At their second band review, in Merced, they took first place, a standard Moorefield and his band have maintained over the years.
In fact, from that very small band class, Foothill's music program has grown to include not only marching band, but also symphonic and concert bands, wind ensemble, two jazz bands, percussion, color guard, and choir classes, with about 400 students enrolled out of the current student body of 2,330. The school now has an assistant band director, plus other band staff members funded by the Foothill Band Boosters. Moorefield is justifiably proud of the band's retention record: students who join up as freshmen are still marching as seniors, including 60 members of the Class of 2009 who will play at commencement exercises tonight.
Moorefield also has had the pleasure of seeing former students go on to succeed in the field of music. Two former students are themselves band directors: Ed Cloyd at Monte Vista High School and Josh Butterfield at Lodi High School. Former drum major Elisse LaBarre, currently a student at University of Santa Clara, is now judging band events.
Robust and healthy at age 63, Moorefield says he plans to trade in his baton for a golf club, go fishing at least once a month and spend more time with his constant companion and wife Anne and visiting their sons Bob and Alan. Still, with his talents and achievements the talk in band rooms across the country and at prestigious organizations that run major events, including the Rose Bowl, our guess is that we'll be reporting on more Moorefield pursuits in the months and years ahead. We hope so. He's too committed to music to pack it up.