To The Highest Standard



Composer(s) / Arranger(s): Gary P. Gilroy,

Performance Time: 4:24  |  Grade: 2 1/2  |  Style: Contemporary

To The Highest Standard! was commissioned for the Standard Middle School Warrior Band, Grady Walls, Director, of Bakersfield, California in January of 2014. Standard Middle School started as a one-room schoolhouse in 1909 and the earliest record of any music activity at the school came in the 1923-1924 school year. A marching band was established in 1950 (approximately). In the 63 years that followed there have only been two band directors at Standard Middle School. Richard Grubbs was director from 1950 until 1988 when he retired. Mr. Grubbs was proud to pass on the baton to Grady Walls, his former student, and graduate of the Standard Middle School Warrior Band. Mr. Walls had been teaching music in Idaho since 1978.

Grady Walls was a former trumpet player in the Standard Middle School Band program who graduated and moved on to North High School (also in Bakersfield, CA) where he continued to play trumpet but also took up the French horn. He would soon become music major in college concentrating on the French horn. Mr. Walls earned his bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential from Fresno State before starting his career as a music teacher in Idaho in 1978. Ten years later, Grady Walls “returned home” to Standard Middle School, now as the Director of Bands.

Composer Gary P. Gilroy writes the following about this inspirational band director:

Grady Walls is a tireless workhorse for young students wanting to experience music in their school. Mr. Walls has hosted numerous music festivals for the California Music Educators Association during his years as the Director of Bands at Standard Middle School. He has also served as the host and manager for numerous honor bands and served on various music association boards. He has constantly dedicated himself to the music students of the Central California Valley during his career of well over 35 years. Mr. Walls has developed thousands of young student musicians who have gone through his Standard Middle School Band Program.

During his prestigious career, Grady Walls was named Band Director of the Year for Kern County on two occasions and Junior High School Teacher of the Year for Kern County. The dedication he has shown his students is endless and more generous than most will ever know. It has been an honor for me to work with him, to know him and to call him a good friend and colleague. The fact that he is a Fresno State graduate (long before my time) is the icing on the cake!

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