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JHS Marching Band Director Praised As Resignation Is Approved

Meghan Murray receives a standing ovation during Tuesday’s Jamestown Public Schools Board meeting. Murray is stepping down as the high school’s marching band director after 18 years. P-J photo by Eric Tichy

When it comes to leading Jamestown High School’s marching band, a program for which she’s “lived and breathed” since the age of 14, Meghan Murray has certainly stood out.

On Tuesday, when her resignation as director was approved, it was her peers and longtime supporters who stood up to show their respect.

Murray received a lengthy standing ovation during a meeting of the Jamestown Public Schools Board. In tear-filled remarks, the 2001 JHS graduate said the decision to step down at the conclusion of the 2023-24 school year was “one of the hardest” of her life.

“As a student, the program gave me a sense of belonging and taught me many skills I still carry with me today,” she said. “Ultimately, being part of the Jamestown High School band showed me my passion and led me to my career in music education. It has, and always will, hold a special place in my heart, and it has been an honor and privilege to direct the marching band for 18 years.”

Murray will continue in her role as the high school’s director of bands.

More than a dozen people attended the school board meeting to support Murray.

From 2006 to 2009, she served as co-director with Marc Lentsch, who now serves as the band director at Persell Middle School. She became the sole director in 2009.

While at the helm, Murray helped guide the marching band program to Large School 2 state titles in 2014, 2015 and 2018. Under her leadership, the high school marching band also participated in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City in 2010 and in Chicago in 2017.

“I can attest, as a south side resident, that I reap the benefits on my back deck of Ms. Murray and all of her students’ hard work,” Paul Abbott, school board president, said Tuesday. “Certainly, we appreciate everything that you’ve done, and I think some of the people who are here tonight are a tribute to that.”

School board member Frank Galeazzo praised the longtime band director for “her 18 years of passion and dedication” while overseeing the program.

“The JHS marching band excelled under your leadership with many trips and parades,” said Galeazzo, listing her accomplishments that has included leading performances in the nationally televised Citrus Parade and Mickey’s Once Upon a ChristmasTime Parade at Walt Disney World.

With the resignation approved, the district confirmed that a search for a new marching band director will “commence immediately.” Murray, while still the high school’s director of bands, reassured families that she will help make the transition as smooth as possible.

See Thursday’s edition for complete coverage.

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