Te Awamutu College Music Department held a tribute to musical Georges tonight. The programme was drawn from works by composers such as George Gershwin, Handel and Harrison.
However the star of the night was music teacher George Brooks, celebrating 21 years in his position at Te Awamutu College. A number of ex-students performed special pieces dedicated to Mr. Brooks and the evening was rounded off with an emotional presentation from former and current students. A resounding standing ovation emphasised the appreciation and respect Mr. Brooks has earned from the local community.
On a personal note, the producers of Te Awamutu Online would like to add our own tribute to George Brooks.
We were music students at Te Awamutu College 21 years ago when Mr. Brooks was appointed as music teacher, so we have the perspective of seeing the department both before and after his arrival.
With all due respect to previous teachers, the college was a musical vacuum in the dark years BB (Before Brooksie). The term "music department" was something of a misnomer as there was no real cohesion or direction for music.
We were instantly infected by Mr. Brooks' enthusiasm. Not only did he relate to students in a way which encouraged participation and motivation, he backed it up with resources. For the first time, the department began acquiring quality instruments. We began playing interesting venues and performing interesting shows.
As locals are well aware, the college music department has gone from strength to strength during the past 21 years. Performances, tours and events which would never have been possible in our day have become almost routine.
At this point we would also like to mention the untiring contributions from Judy Page and Annie McGregor. They have both played a huge part in the evolution of Te Awamutu music.
A common theme at the "By George" concert was the influence Mr. Brooks has had on lives and careers. Several students explained how his tutelage and encouragement have helped them to achieve success. Although we can't personally claim huge success, we did enjoy a number of years working as professional musicians. Our current careers can be traced directly back to our teenage music days (we went from music performance to sound production to television and internet). Indeed, if we had not had our musical background at Te Awamutu College, the Te Awamutu Online website would never have been born.
We feel that examples such as ours are the real legacy of Mr. Brooks' contribution to our community. It's not just that he has created an outstanding music department, it is that he has changes lives for the better. And that is the mark of a great teacher.
Thank you George, from the bottom of our hearts.