Lori Evans will retire at the end of the school year, closing out a career of 32 years of music instruction. She has taught at Hershey for 10 years.Both the Hershey choir and marching band consistently received top awards during her career. The Panther marching band earned three straight superior ratings in Class C state competition.
The Panthers marched on Dec. 29 at half-time in the Alamo Bowl.
Competing against nine other schools from around the country at the Alamo Bowl, Hershey received four first-place trophies – in music, marching, general effects and overall best performance.
The school also puts on a “Bandapalooza” show on April 1. Evans will take the band and musicians to district music at Sutherland April 21.
She fell in love with music at an early age.
"When I was about five years old and saw the movie Music Man – that was it,” she said. “When the band director came around elementary school and asked who wanted to be in band, I raised my hand.”
She learned to play the clarinet, then moved on to other instruments.
Evans said music became her favorite class in high school and led to her career choice.
“I loved band, it was my favorite,” she said. “I remember talking to my friends as we left band one day and I said I wish I could stay in this class all day long. Then I realized if I became a band director I actually could stay in band all day long.”
She graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and earned a master’s degree from Southern Mississippi University. In addition to teaching, she served four years in the United States Navy.
Evans said her fondest memory at Hershey will be “how fun it was to take kids from not really knowing anything about marching bands to being able to get the superior rating three years in a row.”
It has been rewarding to see students who she taught go on to become music teachers, she said.
In the future, Evans plans to do some music judging, direct more plays at the playhouse (Neville Center) “and probably do some music clinics -- I will just have to see,” she said. “I decided it was time to go. I want to do other things while I still can.”