On October 28, 2018 the world lost a great treasure with the passing of Richard Gill, Australia’s world-renowned conductor, teacher, and advocate for music education. But that description of this remarkable human being doesn’t even scratch the surface of who he was or what he did. The immeasurable good he accomplished in his life, the enormous heart he shared with all those he met, the dedication he embodied, the sincerity that was in his every word, were all hallmarks of this amazing man. What he did for music education in Australia and around the world – the voice he gave to the voiceless, the relentless pursuit of excellence he had for music education – is immeasurable. There will never be another Richard Gill.

But my purpose in this writing is not just to memorialize this wonderful man, it is to remind each of us that we now must carry the mantle of his work. It is now up to us to fulfill his dreams and hopes. It is up to us to focus our efforts and follow his model of tirelessly working to ensure that every child will have music in their life. It is up to us to bring honor and truth to his words, when he stated so perfectly, “Unless a child has access to good, sequential, thorough music education, that child is not being educated and, therefore, that child is being deprived of a sense of joy and a sense of wellbeing.” Farewell Richard. Our world is a better place because you were in it. Our collective hearts break at the thought of your passing but know that we – individually and as a profession – will not rest until we make good on your life’s work. Our tears are a testament to you. Our resolve is our tribute to you.

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft is the author of the critically acclaimed best-selling books Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music with Promise. Dr. Boonshaft is currently on the faculty of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, where he is Professor of Music and Director of Bands. He has also been named Director of Education for KHS America. He was honored by the National Association for Music Education and Music For All as the first recipient of the “George M. Parks Award for Leadership in Music Education.”

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