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Day: July 1, 2017

Claggett Creek maestro takes final bow

Of the Keizertimes

Claggett Creek Middle School’s only orchestra director has retired.

Bruce Purdy, who came to the school when it opened 16 years ago, led his final concert on June 8.

“I personally have really enjoyed it here,” Purdy said. “I’ve had great students and the staff is exceptional. I’ve had two outstanding administrators, Melissa Cole, who is now working for the state and my current administrator, Rob Schoepper, is by far the best guy I’ve ever worked for. When it comes to supporting a program and doing everything he can to make things happen, he’s your guy.”

Purdy first got the inkling to teach when a flute player in his high school orchestra said she thought he’d be good at it. He majored in bass and minored in violin at the University of Montana.

“I figured if I was strong on both ends, the middle would come together,” Purdy said.

Teaching, instead of performance, would allow Purdy to pursue other interests, like playing bass guitar in a band.

“I felt if I really devoted myself strictly to symphonic stuff then I would never get to do the other stuff that much,” Purdy said. “It was the path that allowed me to enjoy music to the fullest.”

After starting out in Montana and then moving to Arizona, Purdy went to Stephens Middle School when it opened in Salem and then followed principal Dave Cook to Claggett Creek. His first advanced orchestra had just nine students. This year, Claggett’s two orchestra’s had 70 students, playing three concerts as well as a Veteran’s Day assembly and field trips to the local elementary schools.

Purdy recently received a letter from a former student, Josephine Lim, who said everything he ever hoped a kid would get out of his class.

“I can say without a doubt in my mind that you’re the most hard working and dedicated teacher I have ever had or will ever have,” Lim wrote. “You did all that you could to see your students succeed and for that I thank you. You’ve impacted my life in ways that I can’t even comprehend. Music has and always will be a huge part of my life thanks to you. I feel so fortunate to have had you as my teacher for five years of my orchestra career. I wouldn’t have had them any other way.

“I had the honor of being conducted by you when we played everything from Smooth Criminal to Irish Legend to Pavane. I still remember when you told me that I was the first person you ever let use your baton. Or when you asked me to cue in the the other sections for Fire in the Forge. There are too many good times we’ve shared and good things to say about you.

“You’ve influenced the Salem-Keizer district’s music program by being a role model to all the other teachers. Your legacy will live on. I hope I have left a mark on your life as you have mine. I miss eating donuts after a successful concert (thank you for those, by the way). I miss how I could see all your hard work drip down your face in the form of sweat bands while conducting. And of course, I miss hearing ‘loosen your bowels and get ready to go. Happy retirement, Mr. Purdy. You’ve earned it.”

With all the changes at Claggett Creek, a seven-period day and new principal, Purdy thought it was a good time for him to leave as well. Purdy also wasn’t sure he could any longer give the position everything he had.

“I always go at a job 110 percent and the older you get you can start to see things in your mind that are a little bit harder for me,” Purdy said. “You have to think a little more and work a little harder. The energy in the tank is going to start to dwindle. And I didn’t want to be a teacher who was coasting and you’re just doing the job and not really doing it with passion and energy.”

In retirement, Purdy said he plans to play more and teach private lessons.

“I still want the one-on-one connection with kids and working on things,” he said.

Purdy has also accepted a job as the bass instructor at Chemeketa Community College and wants to spend more time with his wife and grandson.

“She’s been so patient,” Purdy said. “She would be the first one to tell you there’s a lot of hours spent on this job.”

New coach, players at McNary

Of the Keizertimes

It’s been a different kind of summer for the McNary basketball programs.

The boys graduated all five starters so head coach Ryan Kirch is looking to see who is going to fill their shoes.

“You try to figure out who is going to fill what roles and be in different spots,” Kirch said. “It’s always exciting to see who is able to step up and who is able to play new roles.”

The girls have a new head coach in Elizabeth Doran.

“I’m getting to know players and how to coach them,” Doran said. “It’s learning for everybody and this will be a huge advantage going into next season that I got a chance to work with the girls.”

Doran said her first impressions of the team have been nothing but positive.

“I love coaching this group,” Doran said. “They’re extremely responsive to coaching. There’s a ton of parent support, too, which is awesome. They’re willing to work, open to new ideas. It’s a great group.”

Doran just wants more of them. Around 20 have participated in practices and games during the summer but she knows of at least five others that are busy playing other sports.

“We need to get more girls out because I definitely want to have three full teams and build up the program,” Doran said. “I hate to make cuts but it would be great to have enough girls out.”

The Lady Celts went to weekend tournaments at Willamette High School in Eugene as well as Forest Grove and Newberg. They also scrimmaged during the week at North Salem, Lebanon and Salem Academy.

The girls then went to team camp at Oregon State University June 26-29.

McNary’s boys also spent the month of June competing, playing 23 games at tournaments at Willamette, McMinnville and Forest Grove.

“We use it to evaluate and by the end of the summer have a pretty good idea and feel of what we can and cannot do and really what we’ll need to focus our structure for in the fall to get ready for the season,” Kirch said.

About 20 kids have played between the varsity and junior varsity squads and another 15-20 have participated in the freshmen training camp.

While rising seniors Chandler Cavell, Lucas Garvey and Andrew Jones have led the way, Kirch has also been impressed with the group of juniors.

“Griffin Oliveira has really done a great job,” Kirch said. “We’re really impressed with how he’s stepped up and led our group. He’s really competed well and Noah Hudkins has really stepped up to be a consistent inside scorer for us.”

Boston Smith, another incoming junior, has also stepped up in the post.

Cavell scored about 30 points per game for the Celtics this summer.

“He’s played under more control, passing the ball really well, rebounding really well and defending well, which is the biggest thing for him,” Kirch said. “We’re excited. He’s a top five player in the league. Lucas has great experience and can really guard and shoot it. We kind of fill everything in around the two of those guys. We’ve got nine or 10 guys who’ve had some experience over the summer that we feel comfortable with.”

McNary goes to team camp at the University of Oregon June 30-July 2.

“Our kids really love it,” Kirch said. “It’s a good opportunity. We know their staff really well. You see teams from Washington, California and Idaho that you haven’t seen during regular summer league. We stay in the dorms. It’s always a great way to finish the summer season and allow kids to have a little bit of a break after that.”