After 42 years, Port Angeles music teacher retires

KING 5 photojournalist Eric Wold.

During the final rehearsal with his beloved orchestra Thursday, Ron Jones just couldn't resist.

He put on a short, shocking blue bob wig and gave a "cha, cha, cha, cha" to a classroom full of howling students.

"I think it was crazy hair day one day and he just stole it from a student and put it on, and it turned into something much bigger," said senior viola player Olivia Due.

That signature blue wig is symbolic of a career that turned out to be something much bigger than expected, as well.

Of the 98 years music has been taught in the Port Angeles schools, Jones has taught 42 of them.

A picture of the first music class ever, from 1919, hangs on his classroom wall.

"They think I'm one of those guys in the picture, but they're not sure which one," Jones laughed.

After more than four decades in music education, all in Port Angeles, Jones is now retiring.

He took his orchestras to 14 Northwest championships, nine string ensemble state trophies, and to performances at the legendary Carnegie Hall eight times.

"The fact that you're going to step onto that stage is the most humbling, scariest thing I've ever done," said Jones.

Perhaps nearly as impressive, Jones brought a few moments of harmony to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was recently honored by former student and now Congressman Derek Kilmer.

"Mr. Jones was a difference maker in a way that would make Mr. Holland and his opus jealous," said Kilmer. "He made you want to be better. He made you want to try harder. He made you want to perform well enough to get that genuine Ron Jones smile."

Jones earned a reputation as a strict taskmaster students wanted to impress.

He demanded the best and often got it.

In return, Jones got to spend his life giving his gift to others.

That's why Ron Jones refuses to leave on a sad note as he graduates to life's next symphony.

"It's a time of joy," he said. "The seniors get to move on, the underclassmen get to move up, and now I'm a senior!"

 

© 2017 KING-TV


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