06-18-12: Band director inducted into state music educators Hall of Fame
06-18-12: Band director inducted into state music educators Hall of Fame

Bob Rink calls it “the moment.”

And when it happens, it’s obvious to every student in the class.

“It’s when all of a sudden, after months of practice, the music just clicks and everything is right,” said Rink, band director at Ferrucci Junior High.

In his 25 years as a junior high band director, Rink has celebrated that moment countless times, yet he never tires of seeing the look on students’ faces “when it all comes together and they realize that they are better than they think they are.”

Rink’s contributions over the years to music education — in Puyallup and statewide — have been recognized this year with his induction into the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) Hall of Fame.

“I believe you cannot find a better band teacher in the state of Washington than Bob Rink,” said Andy Burch, Edgemont Junior High band director and one who nominated Rink for the award. “He is a well-respected teacher, highly sought after clinician, and all-around great person.”

Election into the Hall of Fame is one of the highest honors that can be awarded to a music teacher. Honorees have their names inscribed on brass plaques that hang on a dedicated wall in the foyer of the Hertz Hall music building at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.

A maximum of 10 members are selected every two years and inducted at the annual WMEA conference in Yakima.

Rink is the fifteenth Puyallup School District music educator to be inducted into the Hall of Fame since its inception in 1998.

“We have a great heritage in the Hall of Fame, and Bob Rink only adds to a very strong tradition of excellence in music education,” said Brian Fox, the school district’s director of instructional leadership.

Fox recognized Rink at a Puyallup School Board meeting in April.

Listed with Rink on the Hall of Fame wall are people the band director said he looked up to throughout his music career.

People like retired Ferrucci Junior High band director Tom Anderson.

Anderson passed the baton to Rink in 1995 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame five years later.

“Tom Anderson had a big influence on me as a young teacher just out of college,” Rink said. “It’s such an honor to be included with people like him who mentored me along the way.”

Rink began his teaching career in 1986 as the Ballou Junior High band director and took Anderson’s place at Ferrucci Junior High nine years later.

Anderson summed up Rink’s Hall of Fame award as “very deserving.”

“It is a real honor,” Anderson said. “He is quite unique in that he is very focused, quiet, and calm, and the kids have such respect for him. You can hear a pin drop in his classroom when he is teaching.”

Anderson owns a chain of music stores, including two in Puyallup, and directs the South Sound Symphonic Band made up of musicians from around the area. Rink plays clarinet in the band, which performs for the public three times a year at Edgemont Junior High.

Rink’s junior high students have been invited over the years to perform throughout the state and the nation at band clinics, contests, solo ensembles, and other events.

Two years ago the band performed for the annual WMEA conference and Western Washington University Band Invitational, and in 1999 the Cougars performed at the prestigious Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.

The junior high band also performs locally at Meeker Days, retirement homes, elementary schools, the Puyallup Senior Center, and the annual Daffodil Parade.

“It’s a real win for the students and the seniors,” Rink said. “I tell students how much joy they bring to the older folks and how they not only represent the future, but remind the residents of their past.”

In addition to teaching junior high students, Rink teaches fifth- and sixth-grade band students who attend elementary schools in the Ferrucci Junior High School attendance area.

Well-known in the region, Rink is often invited to be a clinician or adjudicator for area solo and ensemble contests, large group contests, and band festivals, and a speaker at WMEA conference lectures.

He has served since 2010 as the Puget Sound Youth Wind Ensemble director and since 2009 as co-director of the Puyallup School District’s sixth-grade Honor Band.

Rink was elected this year to serve on the WMEA Executive Board as band curriculum officer and was featured in the 2010 issue of School Band & Orchestra magazine as one of “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” in Washington state.

In 2005, he won the Puyallup School District’s Teacher of the Year award at the junior high and high school levels.

Rink started playing instruments in elementary school and continued through high school and college. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education from University of Puget Sound and a master’s degree in music education from Pacific Lutheran University.

He has three children, all of whom are musicians. A son and daughter are in the Ferrucci Junior High School band this year, and another son is in the Emerald Ridge High School band.

Rink shares his passion for teaching music with students studying to be teachers. Last fall, then Central Washington University student Meghan Gustainis, who has since graduated college, asked Rink if she could student-teach in his class. Gustainis graduated from Rogers High School in 2006.

“I loved every minute of it,” Gustainis said. “There is a great culture of respect and appreciation for music that is rare in a junior high school. He is patient, but also has high expectations. It’s obvious he cares about all of his students.”