Love returned band program to excellence
Although the De Soto USD 232 is blessed with many worthy teachers, it is difficult to think of a one who accomplished more this decade than De Soto High School instrumental music instructor Justin Love. That is in part because he touched so many and that in return is a reflection of the growth of the band under his leadership. Love, who came to De Soto High School the year after the opening of Mill Valley High School, built the band from some 30 members to more than 100.
The marching band has earned 1s at fall competitions it attended in recent years, the band has earned the same in state festivals and band members have earned more than their share of honors in state competitions. But De Soto residents who have heard the band perform don't need those honors to affirm its recent excellence. Listening to the band perform at games, parades and community events offers evidence it has attained a consistent level of excellence that is almost professional.
Love, we're sure, wouldn't take all the credit for the band's success and growth. He has had excellent student leadership from such exceptional musicians as Kody Willnauer and Michelle Prescott and other talents we are slighting by not mentioning them here. There is also parental support that was evident whenever the band plays at a community event. It's known that if you want a good turnout for an event, invite the band and parents will show up.
But Love has to be credited with band's re-emergence after the high school split. He took the young musicians on trips to Washington, D.C., two years ago and San Antonio just last week. The trips helped recruit musicians to the band, but they required a commitment of Love's time to attend the band's fundraising events, to say nothing of seeing to the logistics of travel.
Love insists the last eight years' accomplishments should be seen as a continuation of tradition and the program. Again, there's truth to that, but obviously a great deal was him. He is leaving the threatened legacies he inherited on very solid footing and for that the community should be grateful.