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Chip Buck drummed up love and respect: Late Westwood Center instructor taught far more than simply music

You bear in mind.

With its shark-tank social hierarchy, center faculty (face it) isn’t a variety of enjoyable for lots of children.

Until, say, you went to Westwood Center College and had Chip Buck’s music lessons in your schedule.

Until, say, you have been within the marching band he directed and the famed “Westwood Panhandlers” metal drum band he based — simply because he knew you would do it and he knew you desire to it (and moreover, how are you gonna know if you happen to don’t even give it a attempt?).

The children within the Panhandlers band, specifically, have been dang fortunate, they usually knew it.

Heck, they really gigged on the street, acting at faculties and different venues, from Niagara Falls to Indianapolis.

They logged time in a recording studio for a professionally produced CD of their tunes, and once they began signing autographs, that was it. They have been golden.

When the information broke of his sudden dying final week — he died in a tractor accident at his lake home and his funeral Mass was Tuesday at St. Francis — it didn’t take lengthy for phrase to get out.

The testimonials and “grieving” emojis started hitting social media with the regular, insistent thrum of a drumline taking the sector for the pre-game.

For Chip, nevertheless, as these college students remembered, it wasn’t nearly notes on a sheet to be grasped at and squeaked at, as they tried to play an instrument for the primary time.

It was in regards to the soundtrack they have been going to compose for themselves because the tune and the occasions took them into their grownup lives.

A kind of former college students, LaChrisa Wilson, didn’t miss a beat as she picked up the story.

“The final time I actually received to speak to him, I can say I used to be glad to have the ability to present that the shy woman from age 9 has grown to a extra assured lady,” she wrote on the tribute web page for him arrange by this newspaper.

Go to to learn all of the testimonials of their entirety.  

“He taught me not solely learn how to maintain the beat, however learn how to let free,” LaChrisa continued. “Nothing like a bunch of middle-schoolers dancing down Excessive Avenue for the parades …”

That was when these budding Westwood musicians confirmed their mothers and dads and all that sidewalk humanity, that sure, they may maintain the beat and let free on the similar time — as a result of that’s how Chip taught them.

Did any individual say “drum solo?”

He taught them to play, learn how to actually play, as a result of he knew learn how to play.

The once-and-future educator of music got here up as a percussionist, doing band in highschool whereas gigging professionally on the weekends.

Behind the drum equipment, Chip may lay down an in-the-pocket blues shuffle worthy of Willie “Huge Eyes” Smith.

Chip may rock it 4/4 at 150 beats per minute, identical to Charlie Watts — and he may crash out a cluster of hi-hat polyrhythms, a la Artwork Blakey, if the chart known as for it.

A mixture of critical scholarship and excessive slapstick prevailed in his lessons and rehearsals at Westwood.

He would patiently work the trombone part via the brow-furrowing logistics of truly studying learn how to slide up and right down to the notes — after which launch into one in every of his signature goofy dances, if it began to get tense and un-fun.

Ain’t too proud to beg (for laughs)

The instructor, his college students remembered, additionally wasn’t above a good-old Dad joke, tailor-made to a center faculty humorousness with a Detroit soul really feel, after he taught them who these principal Motown gamers have been within the first place.

Right here is, maybe, his most well-known providing from that lot: “What do you do in case you have a booger? You let Wilson Pickett.”

And who may neglect these fall days when the Westwood band, marching up the hill by the varsity, broke into “I Second That Emotion,” with Chip singing loud and proud as he led the pack?

Yet another time

For these Westwood children who saved up with music of their lives, they gained a mentor wanting over their shoulder, even when he wasn’t bodily there.

Tom “Huge T” Clark took his baritone sax with him within the College Excessive band and WVU’s Delight of West Virginia Marching Band.

There have been jazz bands and live performance bands in different settings, as nicely.

“The locations I traveled and the buddies and recollections I made are began due to Mr. Buck,” the sax participant wrote.

“I’ll endlessly bear in mind his educating type, persistence, life classes, and data and fervour for the music he shared together with his college students.”

Music, it was. The marching bands and live performance bands below his path have been recognized for a repertoire that took in every part from Tchaikovsky to Tower of Energy.

The Panhandlers kicked out the jams on tunes that went far past the background music of lilting, island lullabies.

Chip’s children unleashed their metal drums on Chuck Berry, Otis Redding and every part else within the CD participant of your granddad’s sedan.

Singing the scuffed-floor blues

“Let free,” was the mantra.

As in, performing the tune.

Promoting it, and having enjoyable.

He wasn’t shy about getting mad, although, if he needed to. Letting free didn’t imply goofing off and disrespecting the music or the viewers.

And it definitely didn’t imply trashing faculty property, both.

Joey Spencer received an enduring lesson there, he remembered.

He was a part of the inaugural metal drum assemblage at Westwood when he and others, sporting new band footwear, determined to see who may depart the longest scuff mark down a freshly polished hallway flooring.

Chip was chafed — “Mr. Buck was not happy” — and he made the band clear each scuff on each flooring in your entire faculty.

What started as a punishment morphed right into a ritual.

“To today, even when strolling via the mall, I’ve to scrub up a scuff mark once I see it,” Spencer wrote.

All the things was a teachable second for the band director.

Which is why, partially, he’d hit these Andy Griffith reruns on the TV in his room throughout downtimes at school.

In spite of everything, the present’s bumbling deputy, Barney Fife, was portrayed by Morgantown’s personal Don Knotts, a critical actor who studied drama at WVU.

And Knotts, identical to a musician operating scales, drilled his strains time and again as he readied for filming the subsequent day together with his script in hand.

It takes rather a lot laborious work to make one thing look really easy, Chip would say.

Any outdated means you select it

The children in his bands received it, as all remembered of their tributes.

In the meantime, as the primary center faculty metal band ever from the Mountain State, the Panhandlers went forth — rather a lot.

These aforementioned gigs at Indy and Niagara.

Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Penn State — in the course of a driving snow squall from excessive atop Mount Nittany. (Snow and all, they went out for ice cream afterward, as a result of that was additionally custom).

On the street with the Panhandlers, he reveled in watching children, a few of whom had barely ventured from Mon County at that time, taking in new sights.

He cherished watching the viewers reacting to the efficiency, with their faces smiling and their toes tapping.

Chip was particularly jazzed when audiences truly approached his children for autographs when the music was completed.

Throughout one such gig, he needed to smile and nudge a Westwood mother or father, who had traveled as a chaperone.  

“Take a look at ‘em up there,” he stated. “Being rock stars.”

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