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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Behind the Success

Thursday, October 27, 2011

* Bob Medworth and the successes of NMK

The sign above his door says it all.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

Bob Medworth shortly after being hired at Brazil High School.
Memorabilia and trophies of years past adorn the hallways of the offices in the school where he works. Photographs of John F. Kennedy, Walt Disney and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi stand firm in place along his office walls.

Everything is in its rightful place.

Let's take a trip down memory lane.

The year is 1977. Brazil High School is in search of a new band director.

One of the applicants is an Indiana State University graduate.

He's hired.

In 1977, Brazil High School brought Bob Medworth to the fold.

The rest is history.

Eleven state titles are proof of that.

"There were only three jobs open," Medworth said. "I applied for two. (Brazil High School) took a chance on me."

At the time, Medworth was in a relationship with his future wife, Ruth Ann Medworth, who was still a graduate assistant at ISU.

"I was trying to stay close to Terre Haute," he said.

He had also spent time at band rehearsals at Van Buren High School while a student at ISU and worked the Brazil High School band camp the summer before coming to teach here.

Medworth grew up in Rensselaer, Ind. He started his music career playing the trombone, but by the time he was a freshman, he had switched to tuba.

"We were active," Medworth said of being in high school band. "We loved band. I was one of those kids where if the band room was unlocked, I was in the band room."

After graduating from ISU and taking the job at Brazil, Medworth immediately set his sights on Class C band Winchester.

He believed Winchester Band Director Max Jones had everything figured out.

"My first three years, everything we did was based on trying to be better than Winchester," he said. "And when you're fresh out of college, you're out to show the world you can succeed."

During his first three years as Brazil band director, The Red Devils placed third at the state finals.

But in 1980, the band didn't make it to the final show.

"In 1981, we were on a mission to make it to state finals," he said. "You vomit when you don't make it. In our situation, you take full responsibility. We didn't do our job. Usually, you take it all personal."

Luckily, in 1981, no vomiting was necessary.

That year was the beginning of what some might call a dynasty.

But to Medworth, it was the culmination of the philosophy of taking things minute-by-minute.

"You like to look back and say, 'Wow. We've done alright,'" he said. "But as every year starts, you're motivated differently. We're all motivated and we want to get some enjoyment, too."

When Medworth was in his initial years as a band director, he said he was "obsessed" about finding the perfect way to have the best band possible.

"I was trying to find all the answers from other band directors," he said. "I felt like there were a million things out there I didn't know."

He studied. He went to clinics. He purchased books about being the best you could be.

Those books, by the way, are still in the band office.

But something clicked along the journey. With each year passing and more successes adding up, the mindset slightly changed.

"After you start to accomplish a few things," he said, "you realize you're on the right track. You realize there aren't a lot of secrets. You realize it's pretty simple."

After the success of 1981, The Red Devils finished second in 1982 and third in 1983.

In 1984, Medworth was named the band director for Northview High School after the merger of Brazil, Van Buren and Staunton. That season, the Marching Knights were sixth in the state in Class B competition. In 1985, they were tied for fourth.

Despite a slight setback in 1986, when the Marching Knights did not advance to the state finals, they have accomplished quite a bit.

It started with a second-place tie in 1987. In 1991, Northview won its first state title, and the Marching Knights were first again in 1993 and 1994.

The band captured first in 1998 and 1999 and won again in 2004 before picking up back-to-back state championships in 2008 and 2009.

Since 1987, Northview has never finished below fifth in the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) State Finals. The Marching Knights have picked up nine titles, seven seconds, one third-place finish, six fourth-place finishes and two fifths.

Throughout those 24 seasons, and the 13 seasons prior, Medworth has taught thousands of students, many of whom remain in touch with him, thanks to Facebook.

"That's probably the best thing about Facebook," he said. "Now, after 37 years of doing this, it's very refreshing to get on Facebook and see some kid on there in band 25 years ago saying, 'Remember when you told us this?' It's refreshing to know what you do matters."

By teaching so many years, Medworth has also started seeing children of students he had years ago.

"It's a cool compliment that someone you taught wants (his or her) kid (in band)," he said.

While most across the state associate the Northview name with marching band, Medworth says he's very proud of the fact the program packs the house during other events, such as the Christmas Spectacular.

However, he realizes it's the marching season most are interested in.

Northview Band Director Bob Medworth sends out an e-mail prior to class. [Order this photo]
"We're most proud of the fact here that we've been able to hold our own with any band in the state," Medworth said. "We think in the back of our minds that we try to put together a show that can stand up against anyone in the country."

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Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Mr and Mrs Medworth and the Staff that make the Marching Knights possible. All three of our children graduated Northview with a state championship that they will always be very proud of. Our youngest earned two championships by the time he graduated. More importantly the acquired a lifelong appreciation of music and the value of teamwork and dedication. Congratulations and Thanks Mr Medworth.

-- Posted by bigfoot1 on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 10:12 PM

Being passionate in your profession and giving it your all, all the time. That's what it takes to find out just how high you can climb. One of the most important lessons the students can learn. With many of them this carries over into other parts of their lives as well. Mr Medworth is a mentor for many. Not only his students.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Fri, Oct 28, 2011, at 4:08 AM

Our two daughters were in band and guard and I also had the pleasure of working with Bob and Ruth Ann within the school corporation. What wonderful people and teachers. Could never top the respect, compassion, and dedication taught through this program. Really miss being involved with it all. Thanks for being such a huge part of turning out some wonderful young adults in this community! Good Luck on Saturday!

-- Posted by lruddell on Fri, Oct 28, 2011, at 7:38 AM

I was in Mr. Medworth's original class. His lessons stay with me until today: always leave a place cleaner than it was when you arrived (an important lesson for a large group like a band), and always strive for excellence. Thank you Mr. Medworth. You have indeed changed lives.

Shannon Biggs (San Diego, CA)

-- Posted by lbc on Fri, Oct 28, 2011, at 10:56 AM

His younger pic reminds me of Robby Benson (Ice Castles, Ode to Billy Joe etc...).

-- Posted by indianamama on Fri, Oct 28, 2011, at 12:59 PM

Med for Pres!!! You rock my friend!

-- Posted by RickS on Sat, Oct 29, 2011, at 7:19 AM

I was a Student of Mr. Medworth in the 80's and his lessons encompassed more than just music. He taught personal responsiblity, punctuality, attention to detail and so many other things. He was strict, but at the same time so much fun to be around.

I'm happy that all thre of my children have him as a band director today. He is one of the best teachers at Northview.

-- Posted by Localguy1972 on Wed, Nov 2, 2011, at 4:17 AM

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