Legacy of band excellence continues in Nederland through leadership transition

Published 12:36 am Thursday, June 1, 2023

NEDERLAND — After 23 years as Nederland High School band director Greg Rose is retiring but he’s not leaving the students with a stranger.

Gary Janecek has been named director of secondary music education upon Rose’s departure — the two worked together for 23 years.

Janecek is just the fifth band director for Nederland High School in the last 65 years, according to Mandy Clayton, NISD communications director.

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Small world

Rose and Janecek are the sons of band directors. Rose’s father, Val, served through the years as band director in different schools across the state and at Nederland High School from 1986 to 2000.

Janecek’s father, Bob, was band director in McAllen, then moved to Beaumont and taught at Marshall Middle School and Forest Park High School.

After Bob Janecek’s death in October, his son found a University Interscholastic League Marching Contest judging sheet and noticed Val Rose was one of the judges.

Two band directors from different areas judged each other’s bands and their sons went on to work together for more than two decades.

Greg Rose and Gary Janecek

Greg Rose

Greg Rose began his career in a few schools before moving into the spot vacated when his father retired in 2000. Interestingly enough Greg Rose’s son Eric is a band director in the school district, as well.

Rose said he is thankful for the support of the administration, community, parents and the town, saying it was more positive than he imagined when he got there.

“I just feel blessed to have had so many former students in every field imaginable out leading productive, successful lives, raising families. To have been here as long as I have been there and seen a lot of kids grow up and mature is special,” Rose said.

Rose couldn’t pinpoint any particular memory that stands out but summed it up saying it was all a good experience.

“This is one of those places where there were good bands here long before I got here and there will be good bands long after I’m gone,” he said.

Rose’s wife, Weena, also retired from the district after serving as elementary music teacher at Helena Park.

While he has no hard set plans for retirement, he would to travel some and stay involved in band events.

“I’m sure we will be watching bands in our area and around the state,” he said.

to allow the district enough time to find a new director and prepare his students. Looking at retirement, he said he hasn’t felt this way since he graduated college — “you’re about to stop something that’s been your livelihood all of your life.”

Rose spent some of Wednesday turning in his keys and getting his belongings from the band hall, a task he held off until the last minute.

He’s not worried about the future of the band program at Nederland High though, he knows, after years of working with Janecek, the program is going to be successful.

Gary Janecek

Gary Janecek

Gary Janecek, 50, grew up in Beaumont and graduated from West Brook High School. He then went on to Lamar University and majored in music because he wanted to take lessons from Jimmy Simmons, he said.

Simmons went from music director to administrator to president of LU and is considered a talented musician.

It was Val Rose that hired Janecek to work in the district. He worked at C.O. Wilson Middle School, taught various bands, then moved to the high school when Greg Rose was hired.

Janecek has been responsible for numerous bands throughout the years including the marching band.

“I’ve had the fortune to teach so many kids in Nederland over the past 28 years. Now I’m teaching children of former students, second generation kids,” he said. “I means a lot for me to be able to do that in this new capacity. I’m happy the administration had enough confidence in me to do this job.”

He feels Nederland is a good place to work and a place where people come to stay, just as he, Rose and others have done.

He had kind words for his former boss.

“If you can describe the perfect boss, he would be it,” Janecek said.