After 60 Years, Band Program Founder Returns to Troy to Conduct Again

Dr. Gordon Mathie, who established the instrumental music program in Troy Township in 1949, will conduct part of Thursday's winter band concert at Troy High School.

It was just another day of proof reading music when a composition crossed veteran musician Gordon Mathie’s desk – and caught his eye.

“It was a strange thing,” Mathie, an Ohio resident, said. “I noticed it was commissioned by the Troy High School Band, so I wrote to Mr. Nutting.”

“He then wrote me I think a typed letter, and I mean typewriter,” Troy High School Director of Bands Brian Nutting said. “I swear it was typed by something other than a computer.”

“They’d been trying to find out who did start this program and who wrote the school fight song,” Mathie said.

"I immediately called him and said, ‘I want to meet you in person, can you come to Troy? We would love to honor you,’” Nutting said. “It’s appropriate that we would do so as the founder of the instrumental music program. And the rest is history.”

Mathie started the program when Troy was still Troy Township and the high school was Big Beaver High School.

“When I started in 1949, we had nothing," Mathie said. "No music, no stands, no uniforms, no instruments, no music rooms. So I taught in boiler rooms, hallways, libraries, et cetera. We started in September, and in December, we played a concert. And so the program has just blossomed since then.”

Though Mathie only taught in Troy for two years before landing a spot with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, he helped lay the foundation for Troy’s very large, very successful instrumental music program. And tonight, he’s back to conduct a Troy band concert for the first time in more than 60 years.

“You’re going to hear in the concert three very good bands, which is just amazing to me, when I started about 40 kids who’d never played an instrument,” Mathie said. “It’s a great band program. Credit should go to Mr. Nutting.”

The concert is . It will feature a mix of holiday, classical and jazz music.

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Ellen Hodorek December 06, 2012 at 12:59 PM
This is such a beautiful thing. Many thanks to this wonderful man for laying the foundation for our well-respected music program here in Troy. And thank you, Mr. Nutting, for inviting him back. Looking forward to having my spirit filled tonight. (I swear I'm like the Grinch heading into the holiday season, but my heart always grows 10 sizes each year at this concert!)
CC December 06, 2012 at 04:02 PM
It is so easy to get caught up in the negative, but it's amazing to see how many good things are going on in this city. Really nice story.
Noel Niles December 06, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Phenomenal. This program has changed hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. Thank you Mr. Mathie for getting us started and thank you Mr. Nutting for believing in your students and allowing us to be part of an ever-better program. I would not be the person I am today without Troy music. Proud to be an alumna of this phenomenal organization!
Ron Garbinski December 07, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Great piece, Jen! Love the video.


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