Mr. Holland has nothing on Grange band director

To make Wally Hunt cringe, just ask the Grange Middle School band director how many times  he has watched the 1995 movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus.”

Wally Hunt

Once would have been more than enough.

Hunt has nothing against the movie – the story of a high school music teacher who does not realize how much he is beloved – or Richard Dreyfuss, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the title character.

The movie makes Hunt feel as if he is looking in a mirror. The similarities are uncanny.

“I have a hard time watching that movie because there are a lot of things in that movie that are very personal,” Hunt said. “It was that way even the first time I watched it. It was like, ‘All of this is too real.’”

Holland became a teacher after growing tired of life on the road as a musician. Hunt, who has taught in our district for 28 years, is a professional drummer who once performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in New York.

As with Holland, Hunt has shared his love of music with more students than he can count.

The difference between the two is that Holland was aspiring to be a composer and Hunt has had 14 compositions published for middle school bands. His first, “Maiden Voyage,” was for the dedication of Dover Middle School in 1994. They are available for purchase at MartianMusic.net.

As much as the movie hits close to home for Hunt, he can thank the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation for a $28,000 grant to purchase instruments at Grange. 

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