Memories (MOC 10 day 26 Rememberance)

Memories (MOC 10 day 26 Rememberance)
cfile, Jan 26, 2022
January 26 - Rememberance or Tribute page
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Deer Park High School founded 1964...Room 159 - Mr. Howard Reich, Choral Director... Teacher, Mentor and Friend. Mr. Reich, a man with a sense of humor and love for all of his students. The man could play the piano, organ and pipe organ like no one's business, and had the memory like an elephant! In 1964 he wrote the school alma mater that is still in use today. I think this man had more on his plate than most teachers. (All music teachers in the high school did.) He taught "Chorus" to about 70 students each year. The class just like Band or Orchestra, had 3 grades in attendance. Freshman, Juniors and Seniors. He would have choral rotation daily. (We would have this at certain days and times to get out of regular classes to learn our musical parts.) After school, he had rehearsals for music competition. Every year it was "All County" Chorus where the counties on Long Island competed. The winners went to "All State" to compete against those in the entire state of NY. When I was a Senior in 1979, the entire Chorus competed in Washington DC. We won a bronze medal! In addition besides competitions, was the preparation for two concerts each year (Spring and Winter) plus the actual concert performances.

Every few years, Mr. Reich would also put together a musical. The year I started High School, in 1977, we performed H.M.S. Pinafore, which was a huge success and so much fun! At Christmas time, Mr. Reich had the chorus out to his gorgeous home in Stony Brook (out east on Long Island) for Christmas Caroling. After we would carol in the town, (it was so picturesque there, just like a picture out of Currier and Ives) he would have us back to his house with the gorgeous wrap around porch, filled with all his pianos, pipe organ, and other musical instruments he owned. It was gorgeous! We would have hot chocolate, Christmas cookies and song as we enjoyed his home holiday party. After the H.M.S. Pinafore production which was in June and the end of the school year, Mr. Reich also had us back over to his house for a wonderful BBQ and cast party.

The man was a father figure to many of us, and absolutely wonderful. He had great humor. He taught us "Take me out the Ball Game" off time, and at the end of singing it, would leave the song hanging and people singing it the normal way, would laugh. To this day, I cannot sing it any other way than the way Mr. Reich taught us! In my senior year and the last week of classes, my two friends and I sat in his class (small auditorium like seats) all the way in the back, with these big crazy curly wigs. Mine was red and curly like Raggedy Ann, my other friend wore a Lilac one and my other friend was wearing a rainbow. We sang the choral songs we were rehearsing wearing them the entire class. At the end he looked at the 3 of us, and asked us a silly question, like if we enjoyed looking ridiculous all class... that was who he was... just a funny guy.

After graduation, he kept in touch with many of us. I would call him from time to time, and send him a note. He remembered us all. All those years he taught, he could remember almost every student! In 2001, I hosted an All Class reunion with my best friend Mary. We invited Mr. Reich and his wife, and they attended. It was so great to see him again! There were alumni from 1964 up to 1998 at the reunion, and yes, he remembered those that he had in class by name! The party was wonderful and we got a few great photos to remember the day by. Sadly Mr. Reich passed away February 16, 2012. A portion of his obituary stated this " Howard was the beloved choral director at Deer Park Public High School until his retirement to East Marion, where he did what he loved best: messing about in boats, composing and playing music, sharing good stories and telling bad jokes." What a beautiful man, inside and out. He influenced and touched so many lives. When our Alumni group talk about "Favorite Teachers", Mr. Reich is always the first one listed. The beautiful comments his prior students note makes me smile. He will always be remembered fondly!
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