Community celebrates longtime music director with retirement parade
More than 100 cars — many decorated with streamers and signs — streamed through the Dartmouth High School parking lot on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the retirement of longtime Director of Music Bill Kingsland.
Kingsland has led the Dartmouth High School marching band to excellence for over a decade, helping them win multiple national championships, including the fourth consecutive win last year.
“He brought Dartmouth into the national spotlight, this is the least we can do for him,” Dartmouth School Music Association president Russ Benoit said. “Our kids are as successful as they are because of him.”
The rolling parade included past students and their families and co-workers, unbeknown to Kingsland, who said he was very surprised by the event put together by members of the community.
“I had no idea all these cars would come out just for me,” he said. “This was really great!”
According to Benoit, this parade was inspired by the senior graduation parade, as he and other DSMA members liked how people were able to celebrate in a socially distanced way. But unlike the the graduation parade, this would happen around a more central location.
Originally, Kingsland was to be honored at the Spring Pops Concert, but that event was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.
“As with everything else, it went the way of the dodo bird,” School Committee Member John Nunes said. “But I think this was a great way to send him out.”
As for how they got the outgoing music director to the school on a Saturday, Benoit said Kingsland’s son was responsible for that.
He said that Kingsland was brought under the pretense that he would be helping his son look at a car.
Instead, the music director was treated to a small retirement party held by family and colleagues, which he said he believed was the only surprise for that day, only to see dozens of cars descend upon the school, something Benoit is glad people were able to keep secret.
“It’s a good thing BK’s not on Facebook,” Benoit joked.
As cars went by, many would briefly stop to quickly chat with Kingsland. Others would quickly drive-by to play some live music, with one group performing “Billboard March,” a song the group said was Kingsland’s favorite.
“Glad to see you’ve kept up with your practicing,” he joked to the car.
As for his retirement, Kingsland said he plans to take the summer off, but added that he will continue to keep music in his life.
Along with a potential job at the Symphony Music Shop on State Road, he said he will continue teaching part-time at UMass Dartmouth, where he has been part of the school’s music department since 1986.
Kingsland will be replaced by former brass specialist for the district Ian Flint.
“As bad as things are, the schools will be in a good place to start the year this fall,” he said. “He’s a really nice guy.”