Bloomington South High School band director Robert Dubinski retired May 24th after a long and distinguished career.
It was the Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps that three decades ago lured Dubinski away from his music-teaching job in Lodi, New Jersey, where he taught for seven years after graduating from Kean University in 1978. While teaching full-time, he earned a master’s degree from Jersey City State College of New Jersey in 1983.
A couple months after beginning work with Star in 1985, the BHSS band director job opened and he got it. “It was the ideal job,” he says, working with Star and being band director at South, where he taught two jazz bands, the marching band, two concert bands and directed the pep band.
“Dubie,” as he is widely known, noticeably sighed when asked how he could possibly do all that. Seeing and hearing his students improve and become more disciplined in their music making was worth the long hours, he said, having taught more than 1,300 students over those 33 years.
As his former students in Indiana and throughout the country hear about Dubie’s retirement, they laud him in social media and phone calls. The comments that strike Dubinski as most important are the many who say, “You taught me so much more than music – discipline, pride in accomplishing something with others, and a sense of community.”
More formal praise comes from experts, like IU professor and jazz studies department head Tom Walsh, who says, “Robert Dubinski has been a very important force in the Bloomington musical community.” Walsh remembers that he “…personally benefited from Dubinski’s commitment to excellence as some of my earliest teaching experiences were teaching sectionals with his jazz band saxophones back more than 25 years ago.” Walsh also notes, “Quite a number of great musicians came through Dubinski’s program, including IU jazz faculty member Jeremy Allen, who is also the executive associate dean of the Jacobs School of Music.” And reflecting the thoughts of many, Walsh says, “Dubie is leaving some big shoes to fill at Bloomington South!”
[Photo of Roseanna and Robert Dubinski]