To say Mr. Boelkins the band director at FHE is a well-seasoned individual and teacher, would be an understatement. Mr. Boelkins has been teaching for 35 years, 31 of those years within the Forest Hills District. Mr. Boelkins has had the pleasure of teaching all ages and grades daily and works with many students from 6th grade all the way to graduation. When asked what his favorite part of teaching was, he replied,” I get to meet the kids when they are these young, little squealers just making there first sounds, and then they turn into really cool young men and women who are really talented musicians. That’s my favorite part, the seven years I get to work with them.” Mr. Boelkin’s has been working at FHE for 15 year, since its opening. He added that his favorite memory at FHE was the first home game, when he and the 27 band students in the student section were starting from scratch and creating new traditions.
Music has always played a part in Mr. Boelkin’s life. He played in his high school band and even participated in a school musical. As a band teacher, he has acquired talent in many different instruments. When asked of his favorite instrument his reply was quick. ” My favorite instrument is the French horn. That’s what I wanted to play when I was a kid, but we were too poor, so the school gave me a tuba. As an adult, I have learned to play the French horn and I love to do that.” Mr. Boelkins maintains a crucial presence in the production of musicals at FHE and FHN. He works alongside Mrs. Pruski, Mrs. Blink, and Ms. Hartman to collaborate and direct the performances at FHE. Mr. Boelkins favorite musical of all time is Les Miserables. During the musicals and other performances, Mr. Boelkins directs a full orchestra in the pit. Throughout his life, he has directed the pit over 75 times. When asked whether he would prefer to be in the pit or on stage, considering his talent both as a director, musician, and singer, he said firmly and confidently, the pit.
In addition to his role as the band director and his contributions to the musicals, Mr. Boelkin’s works with Mrs. Blink to plan many of the music students trips, such as Disney, New York, Italy, and Chicago. It later became clear that traveling is a significant part of his job and personal life. No matter how many trips he has attended with music students he explained that he never gets tired of it and thoroughly enjoys the organization and planning aspect, as well as the actual trip itself. Mr. Boelkin’s has also traveled outside his job, and his favorite places outside the U.S. are a tie between China and London, while inside the U.S, it would be Sedona, Arizona.
While speaking about students and children who give up on instruments he offered some advice, ” surround yourself with good players and people with the same skill level and interest as you. Then, work to build your skills with those people, so that you can then move into the next level of playing.” When speaking about kids who don’t feel they are good enough, he stresses the importance of practicing to get better and the fact that sometimes its all in the musician’s head. Mr. Boelkins has touched the lives of many during his teaching career and has helped many students become talented musicians. Stop by Tim Hortons and buy him an Iced Cappuccino or Starbucks for a Frappuccino with an extra pump of Frap roast, to show him just how much he is appreciated!