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Head band director retires on a high note after 41 years of teaching music

After 41 years of teaching music, Alan Hunt, the Head Band Director at Walker Valley High is retiring at the end of the school year. (Image: WTVC)

After 41 years of teaching music, the head band director at Walker Valley High is retiring at the end of the school year.

Over the decades, he's inspired dozens of students to pursue a career in music, and many of them today are educators in Bradley County.

In this week's Pay It Forward, a former student surprises him in the middle of band rehearsal.

Alan and Stephanie Hunt are legends in Bradley County.

Alan was the band director for Bradley Central and now stands at the podium for Walker Valley.

Stephanie is in charge of the color guard.

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Together, they've spent countless hours inspiring kids to love music, be themselves and walk at the pace of their own drum.

What you're hearing is a virtual band of more than 40 former students of Head Band Director Alan Hunt.

Front and center playing the Mellophone is Tiffany Pettit.

She played in the marching band under Mr. Hunt at Bradley Central High School in the late 1990's.

"He was very encouraging and I wasn't a very outgoing girl, and band made me feel like I really fit in somewhere," said Tiffany.

Today, Tiffany's son Austin is a freshman at Walker Valley and plays the baritone and saxophone under Mr. Hunt.

"I'm living through my child now, I'm a band mom, I love it," said Tiffany.

The band hallway at Walker Valley is covered with past photos of kids in uniform, smiles on their faces.

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Tiffany says the same rings true for this year's band, and proved it, as she interrupted rehearsal to thank Mr. Hunt for his year's of dedication.

"What's going on here?" asked Mr. Hunt.

"On behalf of the McMahan Law Firm and Newschannel 9 I would like to Pay It Forward for all your year's of hard work, and all the love and dedication you put into band and the guard program, I'm going to cry, and for showing passion," surprised Tiffany.

"Thank you!" said Mr. Hunt as he handed the money to his wife.

After Tiffany gave a big hug to the teacher who brought her out of her shell, we asked him what he'll miss most after hanging up the conductor's baton.

"We just love working with kids and getting them to try and be the best they can, and hopefully have a love of music when it's all over with, and hopefully teach some good life lessons along the way," said Mr. Hunt.

And with that, he turned around, because he says, the show must go on.

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Only next year, Mr. Hunt's son will be marching behind him, as the new assistant band director, continuing his legacy on a high note.

Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for volunteering their time to help others? Nominate them here.

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