A farewell fanfare

Band director leads concert band for last time before retirement


Band Director Keith Kovalic enlightens the crowd on his musical choices for the night. He pointed his mother out in the audience and explained the influence she had on his first song.

Leah McNear, Staff Writer

Band and Choir Director Keith Kovalic has worked for Freedom since 1992. He made his mark in the community with Freedom’s marching band. He also directed many amazing drama club productions.

To kick off the warm May night, Kovalic dedicated a collection of marches to his mother sitting in the audience. He wanted to take his final concert in a patriotic direction.

For the next performance, Kovalic invited assistant Marching Band Director Ron Steffanina to lead the band for “Rushmore”. Steffanina grew up in South Dakota which made this song a fitting choice. He helped Kovalic with the band multiple times during the school year, hence why he was invited back.

Continuing the patriotism, the choir sang “My Shot,” from the musical Hamilton. It contained multiple soloists for the rap parts.

Senior Joe Smith performed Elvis Presley’s “C’mon Everybody,” accompanied by a select section of the choir. The students were in pairs and danced along to Smith’s singing.

A song from Honors Band was chosen titled “Texas Star,” afterwards, the jazz band dove into “Sweet Caroline” for their first song. The choir sang along as Kovalic urged the audience to join in.

Sophomore Emily Frashure provided her vocal talent for “God Bless America,” with accompaniment from the jazz band she blessed not only America but the entire auditorium.

Kovalic’s next choice was a favorite of his titled “What’d I Say”. He sang along gaining laughs from the audience. Soloist sophomore Matthew Castelli played his heart out on the Alto Saxophone.

In “String of Pearls,” he held the microphone for soloists senior Carly Kusich and sophomore Keith Pawlowski.

The chorus all chipped in to give a retirement gift to Kovalic, and juniors Camryn Hampe and Alyson Horner delivered a heartwarming thank you for his influence on their lives and all he’s done for them.

The chorus then performed a tear-jerking “Finale B” from the musical “Rent,” while soon after the band took the stage once again to play “American Civil War Fantasy”.

Band mom and majorette instructor Carol Lynn Dubovi took a moment to thank Kovalic for all the band parents. She read excerpts from the essay entries for the Tom Tavern Memorial Scholarship, which senior Melissa Keith was awarded.

The band students put together gifts as well. Senior Jordan Wright explained the process of having the students write him letters on how he influenced their lives. Junior Cole Skuse bestowed a paper plant, of which the leaves had the letters on the underside. Due to Kovalic’s eyesight, Skuse has copies of the letters in a binder that he gifted as well.

Kovalic then went on to praise his students. He explained that he could tell they played their best for him. Continuing on, he discussed his mission of trying his best to put the freedom community on the map.

Due to his health problems in recent years, he has decided it’s time to retire. He’s looking forward to relaxing and spending valuable time with his family.

To wrap up the concert, the choir and band performed “Armed Forces Salute” together with soloist Grace Demas. Moving forward, the community will miss Kovalic for his hard work. The future still holds much potential for the music programs of Freedom with current middle school Band Director Rob James taking over the high school band next year.