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Beloved Fulton band director Caviness to retire after 33 years at GRB

When G. Ray Bodley High School band director Terry Caviness began his career in the Fulton City School District 33 years ago, no one predicted just how far music would carry him and just how loved a man could be by the Fulton community.

A 1988 graduate of SUNY Fredonia and a 1989 graduate of Northwestern University, Caviness excelled academically with a combined undergraduate degree in Music Education and Music Performance and a graduate degree in Music, Performance, and Literature. Caviness would then go on to earn a certificate of advanced study in Educational Leadership and Administration from Syracuse University in 1999.

A trumpet player at heart, Caviness draws inspiration from late Canadian jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson of Stan Kenton’s Orchestra, as well as Wynton Marsalis, composer, teacher, and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

In 2019, Caviness was selected as a semi-finalist for Music Educator of the Year by Music & Arts, a national music retailer. Nominated by a handful of colleagues and students, Caviness was selected as a finalist after completing various application materials. While Caviness had been nominated in the past, 2019 was the first year he completed the process because so many people went out of their way to tell Music & Arts about him.

Terry Caviness is the director of bands at GRB, where he directs the school’s wind ensemble, concert band, jazz ensembles, jazz/rock combo, pep band and brass ensemble. He also serves on the high school’s Leadership Team.

Mr. Caviness is an adjunct professor of Brass at SUNY Oswego. He is co-founder and conductor of the Allegro Youth Wind Ensemble program.

Mr. Caviness has participated in clinics at The Eastman School of Music, The Crane School of Music, Ithaca College, Syracuse University, NYSSMA conference, NYSBDA conference and county events. Mr. Caviness has guest conducted the Susquehanna University band festival, the Syracuse University Wind Ensemble, high school bands and select festivals. 

Caviness is also the founder of Artstars, a community support group for the arts. He serves on the board of the Central Winds and has served on the board of the Oswego County Music Educators.

“Mr. Caviness has brought wonderful memories to our GRB community. I’ve been lucky to have known him for such a long time. Our students absolutely love him. He’s got just one more year on me,” GRB principal Donna Parkhurst joked. Parkhurst will also retire at the end of the 2021-22 school year after 32 years of service.

Caviness was recognized for his decades of teaching, service, and dedication to the FCSD community during an evening band concert featuring the GRB high school concert band, wind ensemble, and the Oswego High School Wind Ensemble. Special guest brass quintet Boston Brass was also present for a collaborative, combined performance with the ensembles. Caviness was also recognized briefly during a slideshow presentation put together by flute student and Wind Ensemble member Emily Barrett.

“It’s not all about me. It’s about these kids. Your kids. They have shown so much growth, especially over the course of this pandemic – and we want to recognize those who have toughed it out and stuck with band through the face of it all,” Caviness said during the evening concert presentation, his final of his Fulton career. “Really, though, it’s been such a blessing.”