Former HHS band director inspires memorial concert Tuesday

Hoquiam High School band members who marched through the program from 1958 to 1982 will remember Charles Mason. The longtime band director certainly remembered them. When he died in December, he named the Hoquiam High School band to be a recipient of memorial contributions in his honor.

The donations started pouring in, and the current director, Roger White, was inspired to memorialize the man who gave so much to the school and his students.

“I am well aware of the respect and success Mr. Mason enjoyed. His legacy lives on through his students and I knew we needed to do something to show how the funds were used and our appreciation for the donors and the man who inspired them,” White said.

It sparked the idea for a concert dedicated to Chuck Mason, scheduled for Tuesday at the Hoquiam Square Garden gymnasium. The show starts at 7 p.m., and will feature marches that will sound familiar to those who were under Mason’s baton. The event will serve as the district spring band concert and will feature the 6th, 7th and 8th grade bands from the middle school, as well as the three o’clock jazz band (an after school all ages volunteer group), and the high school jazz band, concert and marching bands.

“I dug through the files and found old programs from the years he was here and found some songs that his bands played several times over the years,” White said. “We played through a couple and selected an upbeat, light Latin percussion section feature entitled ‘Percussion Espagnole.’ The kids are having fun with the music and I believe we get a sense of Mr. Mason’s personality through this music.”

Mason’s wife, Maryann, told White about what her husband remembered fondly about his time at Hoquiam, which influenced some of his choices. She noted that he especially loved the jazz band, which White said helped him and the band decide how to use some of the memorial contributions.

White said he wanted “something unique and special to attach his name to that current and future students can respect.” The gift they chose will be unveiled during the memorial program.

“My hope for the concert is that Mr. Mason’s former students, colleagues, friends and family will come together to remember and celebrate what he brought to their lives,” White said.

A social hour will follow the concert so former students can reminisce and catch up, and Maryann Mason will attend.

“We want the concert not only to honor Mr. Mason, but to live up to his standards and offer a meaningful musical experience for those whose lives he touched to reflect, reminisce and remember him by,” said White.