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The Final Downbeat: UNF Wind Symphony conductor honored at retirement concert

Sam Chaney

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Wind Symphony Conductor Gordon Brock has been teaching and conducting at UNF for the last 18 years, but on Sunday he picked up his baton on the Lazzara stage for the last time.

As local concertgoers filed into the performance hall to witness his “grand finale and appreciation” concert, they were greeted by a slideshow presenting Brock and his career. A variety of photos showcased Brock at all ages and on a variety of stages, such as at a Belize conference and clinic, or in Italy for his Italian Choral Tour.

Brock facing the audience as he conducts for the last time. Photo by Sam Chaney.

As the lights dimmed and the UNF Wind Symphony ensemble members began to tune their instruments, Randall Tinnin, director of the UNF School of Music, walked onstage to kick off the concert by lauding Brock for his achievements and outstanding character.

“Gordon Brock is a true friend to me, to the students and to the faculty of the music program here,” said Tinnin. “Today we get to honor him for a very long and distinguished career in music education.”

Finally, Brock entered the stage to a boisterous applause, donning a long red cape and a good sense of humor for the Red Cape Tango he was about to conduct.

“This all seems quite surreal,” Brock said. “I can remember when I first started teaching in 1974 like it was yesterday.”

Brock in his red cape as he conducts Michael Daugherty’s “Red Cape Tango.” Photo by Sam Chaney.

Brock has not only been a music professor and director, but he is also the former chair of the UNF Music Department. Having held that position for ten years, Brock has come to know and love the UNF School of Music with fervor.

Before his final moments on the podium, faculty and former Wind Symphony members joined the ensemble to play the final piece under Brock’s direction.

As Brock addressed the audience, he took a moment to restrain his tears and express his gratitude.

“It’s important to always make a point of counting your blessings,” Brock said. “I know it’s overstated, but it’s really true… Our colleagues are absolutely world-class, our students are amazing and I believe in the commitment and artistry of this program and its destiny.”

“Most of all, I’m going to miss these people.”

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The Final Downbeat: UNF Wind Symphony conductor honored at retirement concert