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Memorial concert will honor former West music educator

MANCHESTER - A memorial concert to benefit the Richard J. Maynard Music Scholarship Fund is set for Dec. 1.

Maynard was the award-winning director of choirs for 29 years before his retirement in 2004.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. in the Robert A. Baines Auditorium at Manchester High School West, 9 Notre Dame Ave.

Former West High School principal and Manchester mayor, Robert Baines said the goal of the scholarship fund is to ensure Maynard's legacy endures and supports students pursuing music performance or education. Maynard, who retired from West in 2004, supervised student teachers for the University of New Hampshire until his death at 65 in August after a brief illness.

Baines said he and Maynard met as 12-year-olds playing in the Queen City Junior Band and became lifelong friends.

Baines played the trumpet and Maynard the tenor saxaphone. They attended Memorial High School together, crediting then-music teacher Arthur Mirable with inspiring them to become music teachers, Maynard at Merrimack High School and Baines at Alvirne High School.

Maynard stayed with music education, switching to teaching voice, while Baines moved into school administration, becoming principal at West.

"In a twist of fate, I got to work with one of my best friends," said Baines, and the work relationship lasted for 20 years until Baines became mayor.

"He was one of the premier music educators," said Baines. "He had such a gift of working with young people."

Baines said: "He was a fun person, but a demanding educator."

Baines said sometimes Maynard would accompany students on the saxaphone or piano.

Perhaps Maynard's best- known students are Metropolitan Opera star Patricia Racette and Grammy Awards performer John Thomas. Baines said Racette did a musical tribute to Maynard on a CD when he was hospitalized in Massachusetts, but sadly Maynard died before he could hear it.

Maynard earned awards as a teacher - Teacher of the Year at West in 1999, New Hampshire Music Educator of the Year in 2004 - and served as a vocal jazz clinician and guest conductor.

He also continued to be a performer, playing tenor sax with the Freese Brothers Big Band and the Amoskeag Strummers.

The choral concert Dec. 1 - with a snow date of Dec. 7 - includes performances by the West High School Alumni Chorus, the Alumni Jazz Band with special guest vocalists, the West High School Jazz Band, the West High Chamber Choir and soloists. Special alumni guests include: Jill Teeters, class of 1988; Julie Albert, class of 2004; Mike Shaughnessy and Michelle Skinner, class of 1997 and Liz Thibault Beaton, class of 1982.

There will also be a silent auction of items donated by the community in support of the scholarship fund.

Tickets are $20 a person for adults and $10 for students. They are available at Manchester High School West, the Bedford Public Library and WMUR-TV.

Donations can be made to the Richard J. Maynard Music Scholarship Fund, Centrix Bank, 25 Constitution Drive, Bedford 03110.


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