In order to prepare for the LBJ Full Orchestra for their UIL competition on Febuary 28, where they received all superior rankings, former LBJ Band Director Don Haynes came back and visited his former students and the current LASA and LBJ students in full orchestra. Senior Coralie Huibregtse is in the LBJ Band and says she was excited to see her former director return.
“This is his home and he created everything here,” Huibregtse said. “We’re just as much his family as he is ours, and I think he loves to see us grow and prosper, even if he’s not always with us anymore.”
The impact Haynes has had on the LBJ Band is evident through the actions and words spoken by his students. He left LBJ in 2015 after teaching for 39 years and is now the Interim Fine Arts Director for Austin ISD. During his time at LBJ he left a lasting impact on his students according to Huibregtse.
“I really liked his positive attitude and how comfortable and welcomed he made everyone feel,” Huibregtse said. “He embodied the spirit of the LBJ entirely and gave us all a lot of school spirit and pride, unifying us to work towards bettering our performance level. He is also a god in all of our eyes, since everything the LBJ Band is is because of him.”
All of Haynes’ students indicate that he was extremely dedicated to his work while at LBJ and continues to be through maintaining strong relationships with his former students. It is clear through Haynes words as well that his students were the most important part of his work as the LBJ Band Director.
“I most of all miss being actively involved in helping shape young lives,” Haynes said. “My vehicle was band; making music; creating memories; and spreading good feelings on campus. I miss the creating music and incredible experiences with my fabulous musicians. We had many great times in travels and all the band experiences. Top of my list of what I miss most is the remarkable relationships that I had with the students and staff.”
According to senior drum major Shawn Lee, the presence of Haynes was encouraging both during his time as the director as well as when he has come back to talk to and mentor his students.
“Because he’s been a music educator for decades, Mr. Haynes can give us professional insights that are beneficial to the bands,” Lee said. “Also, his dedication to music inspires us to perform better. Mr. Haynes was always passionate about music education and valued personal connections he developed with students. He made learning music fun for us.”
Even though Haynes has been gone for almost two years, his legacy lives on at LBJ through his students and their accomplishments. Senior band member Kendall Brice says Haynes has inspired her and the rest of the band with his care and attention.
“One of my favorite thing about him was that no matter how busy he was he would always stop to say hi and ask how you’re doing,” Brice said. “Even though he’s not a director anymore I’d say he’s the spirit of the LBJ band.”