McAlester High School Band Director David Steidley recently announced his retirement as the school’s band director after 19 years.

The theme for the 2017-18 MHS Marching Band is based on a Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken,” which Steidley said is just a coincidence, since he is not sure what lies in front of him next.

“I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life,” Steidley said.

Steidley will finish the school year, while his wife, Robin, will continue teaching Spanish, but will no longer coach the band’s color guard. The couple said they plan to remain in McAlester.

Steidley graduated from MHS in 1983 before going on to the University of Arkansas, where he earned his bachelor’s in instrumental music education.

He then took his first job as band director at Eufaula High School, where he taught for 11 years before joining McAlester Public Schools in 1998.

Steidley spoke highly of his mentors: the late former Eufaula High School band director Jerry Tuller; former McAlester middle school band director Frank Zugelder; and former MHS Superintendent Dr. Lucy Smith.

He thanked his staff throughout the years and wanted to recognize his parents and his wife for all their support.

“My mom kept me motivated all throughout high school and college,” Steidley said. “After I began teaching, my wife, Robin, was my biggest supporter.”

The McAlester band has performed in places such as California, Florida, Washington DC, Virginia, Chicago and more.

Steidley said he and his wife had the privilege of working with the Oklahoma Ambassadors of Music and were able to take 300 students and adults to tour Europe.

“There are lots of proud moments,” Steidley said.

The McAlester band program has delivered many championship performances over the past 19 years.

McAlester has won top honors against other bands from surrounding states in the Renegade Review, as well as the Bixby band contest, the OSSAA championships and the Oklahoma Bandmasters contests. The band has also received eleven State Sweepstakes Awards.

“That’s what’s neat about putting on the shows, it’s the memories that the kids will have and the adults that make it all worth it,” Steidley said.

But Steidley said his proudest achievement has been working with the kids and seeing all they have accomplished.

“I have been able to show the kids, through music, how to travel and go to different places,” he said.

Contact Lacey Sudderth at lsudderth@mcalesternews.com