Words cannot begin to express the sorrow we feel over the passing of Darryl Bott after his battle with cancer. Professor Bott taught at Rutgers for fifteen years and served in many capacities including Director of Bands, Assistant Chair to the Music Department, and as a dedicated teacher to many students, music majors and non-majors alike. But to RUAWS, he was much more.
In addition to his outstanding musicianship and dedication to the university, he had the ability to see beyond his job description and make things happen like no one else before him could. He reached out to RUAWS on his own volition to get to know more about our group. Upon learning of our history and dedication, he invited us to take part in a Rutgers University/ Mason Gross School of the Arts Mid-Atlantic Honors Wind Band Festival on February 16th 2017.
We participated with the Rutgers University Symphonic Band and performed a joint piece as our finale. Over one hundred musicians graced the stage of Nicholas Music Center for a performance never to be forgotten. He then presented us with a plaque, inscribed with a dedication reading, “To the Rutgers Alumni Wind Symphony. With thanks for continuing to provide the gift of music to Rutgers band alumni for over thirty-four years. We are very proud of you!” Listed was the names of each official recognized band in the Rutgers family, and RUAWS was proudly displayed on that list. To our knowledge, this was the first time the university officially acknowledged RUAWS as part of the university band family, giving us a sense of pride and validation we had been missing since inception.
Darryl didn’t stop there. He continued to prove to RUAWS how valuable we are to the entire Rutgers experience. He made the university library and facility more accessible to us. He helped make it possible for us to play a wide range of music by providing specialized musicians to fill in when complex scores required it. He made sure we always had the equipment needed for rehearsals and concerts, and he pointed students to our website so they could find a friendly environment in which to thrive after graduation.
Darryl set a new standard of inclusion for us in the Rutgers University Music Department, one which we cannot begin to repay. Our hope is to continue to give back to the university as much as he gave to us, to keep the love of music alive and thriving through our concerts in the community and through our continued congenial affiliation with the university.
We will always remember Darryl Bott as a true friend to the Rutgers Alumni Wind Symphony, and he will be greatly missed.