Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
After a 41-year teaching career and 29 years at the school, Fairfield High School Band Director Jim Edgeton retired at the end of last school year. His retirement party, however, was delayed until last weekend.
“We did try to do this in May, but then COVID shut us down,” said LeAnne Edgeton, Jim Edgeton’s wife and organizer of the event. “There were still a lot of townspeople who wanted to celebrate Jim, because he’s got a lot of friends, he’s been here a long time.”
The celebration featured a commissioned song by Bill Dougherty, an award-winning composer and, coincidentally, Jim Edgeton’s college roommate.
“Jim has no idea,” she said minutes before the curtains rose to reveal the band, comprised of former students and members of the Fairfield Municipal Band. “He knew there was some kind of special presentation happening this afternoon, he thought it was the mayor.”
Dougherty said he was impressed with the community that turned out to support the outgoing band teacher.
“There were many generous donors that made this commission possible,” he said. “In my experience, for a community to come together just like that is unheard of … this group is outstanding.”
Jim Edgeton conceded that the performance took him by surprise.
“It was quite overwhelming that that happened, I just wasn’t prepared,” he said. “All those people up there, they’re here to do that for me, which is great. But what they don’t realize is that I don’t get to do what I do without them … They’re the ones that make the sound.”
While he’s retired from the education setting, Edgeton said he had no plans of becoming idle.
“I still plan on hanging around and doing some musicals and doing the summer bands and things like that,” he said. “I retired from school, but I’m still doing some of the other activities that I enjoy.”