ST. ALBANS — Verne Colburn will be dusting off his conductor’s wand to lead “The Stars and Stripes Forever” march at the conclusion of the Bellows Free Academy (BFA), St. Albans band concert on June 7, joined by close to 40 of his former students.
Colburn, now 80-years-old, served as BFA’s band director from 1963 until 1996, when the current band director, Eric Bushey, took the helm.
He can be credited with reviving music education at the high school and local elementary schools, as well as teaching some of the greatest musicians to come out of Franklin County, including his son, Michael, who was the director of the United States Marine Band.
On the side, Colburn toured all over New England and Florida as a professional soloist, singing and playing piano.
He remained involved at BFA long past his retirement by accompanying students on the piano when they tried out for Vermont All State Music Festival and All New England Music Festival. Although he had to give this up last year due to a bad back and trouble breathing, Colburn said he hopes it isn’t forever because he loves working with children.
The concert two weeks from now will mark the first time he has conducted in almost 10 years, Colburn estimated. However, the action should be like riding a bike, due to his experience leading the BFA band for 33 years and the Vermont National Guard’s 40th Army Band for more than 20 years.
To read our full profile of Mr. Colburn, pick up a copy of this weekend’s Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.