Broughton band director puts down baton after 34 years

Posted February 1, 2012

Broughton band director Jeffrey Richardson turned in his baton after a 34-year career at the Raleigh high school.

— Something was missing Wednesday at Broughton High School in Raleigh. After three decades, beloved educator Jeffrey Richardson has turned in his baton.

Richardson, 56, retired Tuesday after a 34-year career as band director. 

He was hired in 1978, straight out of college at the University of Tennessee, and he's been at Broughton ever since.

"This is the only job I have ever had," he said. "It's just been a great place to have taught."

Under his direction, Broughton's bands have performed twice at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., twice at the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City and at the presidential inauguration of George H.W. Bush in 1989. In 2001, the band even traveled to the World Music Contest in Europe.

It was there that Richardson, who goes by the nickname J.R., had one of the most lasting memories of his career.

"I actually got arrested by the Swiss police for playing the national anthem in Geneva, Switzerland, because we were disturbing the peace," he said, laughing. "I was put in the back of a police car and handcuffed."

A call to the American Embassy got everything straightened out, and Richardson went back to business – leading the award-winning band to a gold medal finish on the world stage.

But it's not the medals and awards he says he'll miss the most. It's events like the Raleigh Christmas Parade, where the band performs year after year.

"I've watched families grow up on the parade route. They're in the same place every single year," he said. "I had a student once who actually got engaged on the parade route and four years ago, he brought his child."

More than the parades, though, Richardson will miss his students, who have a way of putting everything into perspective.

"I've learned from them that a smile will cure almost anything, that, you know, you might be having a bad day, and some student will make some quirky little comment, and it will make you giggle," he said. "They've kept me young."


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  • shawn36003 Feb 9, 2012

    I wish you all the best JR....I had the pleasure of getting to know you through the band program when my daughter was at Wakefield. I am sure you will be missed by all!!!

  • SubwayScoundrel Feb 8, 2012

    "Now we don't have to have the snarky band blasts that he sends out." -2012notobama

    Some people just can not be positive toward anything

  • beaupeep Feb 6, 2012

    "Broughton band director puts down baton after 34 years"

    ...and boy, is his arm tired!


  • jadebwatson Feb 3, 2012

    @2012notobama, I'm sure he was glad to get rid of you too.

  • couponwife Feb 3, 2012

    All the best to you, JR! You have certainly given a lot to this community as well as to the band community. You will be sorely missed. I hope we'll still get to see you from time to time!!

  • davidk_at_unc Feb 3, 2012

    He retired in the middle of the school year????

  • 2012notobama Feb 3, 2012

    Now we don't have to have the snarky band blasts that he sends out.

  • heidilynn81400 Feb 3, 2012

    Wow, I never thought I would see the day! You are one of a kind JR! I wish you the best, after all
    thats what you gave us!

  • cerenae1 Feb 2, 2012

    Wow - JR has left the building! 8-) I had two daughters in his program at Broughton and my oldest was on that tour in Europe(a time my daughter will never forget). Many thanks to you - JR for what you did for ALL students and the legacy you left at Needham B! Enjoy your retirement!

  • westernwake1 Feb 2, 2012

    Thank you, Jeffrey Richardson, for your many years of dedication as an educator and the Broughton band director. You have provided leadership that accomplished great achievements over the years -- while positively impacting the lives of many students.