Kaye Collins & Nate Seamons – Lehi High School
Nathan Seamons was hired to be the Director of Bands at Lehi High School immediately prior to the start of the school year in 2009. He was the third individual to hold the position within a few weeks’ time. A prior Director left to teach at Westlake High School and the replacement that was hired an accepted the job announced just a few weeks before the beginning of school that he was resigning and accepting an administrative job in Moab.
Mr. Seamons arrived in Lehi and went to work. He bonded with the students and things looked good for the Lehi Band program, once a powerhouse in the state. Following the Marching Band Season in late 2009 Mr. Seamons was notified that his guard unit would be activated and that he would spend most of the rest of that school year, and all of the next (2010-2011) training with his unit and then in Kuwait.
Kaye Collins, a former LHS Band Director who retired in 2004 to take care of her elderly mother (Kaye’s Mom died of complications from Alz. Disease) was asked to accept a long term substitute position with the school. Her son Colby was a Junior at the High School and in the Band. Kaye accepted and filled in for Mr. Seamons. Chuck Bearce, former Lehi High School Principal, asked Kaye to apply for the position. He knew that she would work the entire year to support Mr. Seamons and the Band and that she would welcome him back to his position with open arms when his guard assignment concluded. She applied for the job, was screened through a very thorough interview process, and hired. She led the growing band through the summertime parade season in 2010 and prepared them for the 2010 Marching Band Show season. As her spouse I can give you some inside information. She worked tirelessly through the Marching Band Season. She knew that ‘her’ Band could win the ultimate competitive event of the year in St. George and focused continually on helping her students seek excellence in their performances. She spent many hours watching tapes and listening to judges’ comments through the season and constantly made refinements to the show, continually improving the bands performance. She invited guest speakers to address the group about excellence and organized the students into the leadership structure of the Band, teaching leadership skills and allowing the group to be student governed and faculty advised.
These remarkable students won the final competition of the year in St. George Utah. This Red Rocks Competition is considered to be the State Championship Competition. Mrs. Collins, known as Mama C to her students, dyed her hair purple following the performance making good on a promise that she made at the beginning of the season. Throughout the Marching Band Season, Mr. Seamons was kept involved with the Band through Skype and contact with his wife and children who attended most of the Bands performances. A plaque in Mrs. Collins office refers to Mr. Seamons simply as “our Soldier”. If the story were to end here it would be enough, but there is more. Kaye and Gov. Herbert have been friends for many years. Earlier this year, the Governor nominated the Lehi High School Marching Band to represent the State of Utah at the National Independence Day Parade in Washington D.C. in 2012. The High School Principal, Jess Christen accepted the nomination for the school and the plans are being made for this remarkable event. There was a great story in the Daily Herald about this invitation that quotes Mrs. C in part as saying how appropriate it is that our band will be led by a man who has sacrificed much to defend the reason we celebrate. She will be with him for this great event.
Kaye and the LHS Band have continued the pursuit of excellence through the year. Her top concert band just won first place at the Music in the Parks competition in Anaheim CA. They were featured there and were invited to participate in a filmed workshop with Disney producers.
To me the most remarkable thing about the past year or so has been Kaye’s focus on two things, leadership and excellence. Woven into these themes has been a constant effort by Kaye to connect Nate to these students, many of whom he hasn’t yet met. I’m inspired by this story, of course I should be, I’m the husband, but others are as well. I think Kaye is kind of a modern day Rosie the Riveter. She’s filled the job while ‘our soldier’ is on duty in the Middle East and is anxious to turn the position back to him when he returns. And in a couple of weeks she will do just that. In my view she is leaving him with something far better than what she picked up a little over a year ago. The students love their teacher and she loves them and it shows. Take the time to check this out for yourself. It’s a feel good story that needs telling.
In July 2009, Mr. Nate Seamons was introduced to a room full of anxious parents and students as the new Lehi High School Band Director. Due to former band directors leaving to go to new area schools or administration posts, the students were feeling alone and unwanted. Mr. Seamons came in and let the students and parents know he was there to stay. He was excited for the upcoming marching band season in spite of the time crunch and to see the Lehi High School band program grow in future years.
Unfortunately, Mr. Seamons didn’t get to ‘stay’ as long as he wanted to. In December 2009, Mr. Seamons was informed he was being deployed to Kuwait in May 2010. It was a difficult day for all when Mr. Seamons told the students he was being deployed. There was heartache, tears, and anger. Many talked about the unfairness of all they had gone through. Mr. Seamons was a great example to the students and stayed strong and helped the bands as they adjusted to yet another change.
Mr. Seamons, the school administration and several parents wanted to make sure the Lehi High School band did not suffer during Mr. Seamon’s deployment. They set about finding the perfect fill in, Mrs. Kaye Collins. Mrs. Collins has filled in for Mr. Seamons in dramatic fashion. While putting her own personal flair to the band program she never forgets that Mr. Seamons is returning. She made special arrangements to allow the marching band students to see and speak to Mr. Seamons via Skype. There is a mascot in her office representing Mr. Seamons while he is away.
The Lehi High School band has flourished under Kaye Collins watchful eye. Her tender care will make it much easier for Mr. Seamons to come back and continue to develop and improve the band department of the Lehi High School.
It will be with mixed emotions that we say farewell to Kaye Collins and welcome back to Nate Seamons.
During the past year Lehi High school bands have been directed by Kaye Collins. She was not originally going to be the director for the Marching Band, Jazz Bands, Drumline and all the other bands, but the appointed director was not available. Captain Nate Seamons was deployed to the Middle East for a year just weeks into the 2010-2011 season. Kaye agreed to lead the bands in his absence. The Lehi Marching Band not only took 1st place at the State competition, but they have been appointed by Governor Herbert to go to Washington DC to March in the July 4th, 2012 celebration. The Marching Bands 2010 show was dedicated to Captain Seamons, entitled “The Missing Man”. Kaye knew that she would only be director for a year. She could have easily done only the required and minimal amount. But this is not in her nature. She is very dedicated and has helped the band students excel and succeed. She is at school for early Jazz band at 5:30 AM and is often still at school at 8-9 PM with performances or practices. The Marching Bands motto is “Pride”. Kaye has shown that in her personal dedication to each student and to the development of the Lehi bands.
Kaye is also the mother of 3 boys and a Lehi City council member. The band students know how much she loves them; the all call her “Mama C”. We know her life will be less hectic when Mr. Seamons returns. Thanks Mama C.
Lehi High School’s band program has been struggling for many years. It has been so bad, that most students that were serious about being in a band would go to the American Fork High School to be in their band program.
This past school year Kaye and Nate have built the Lehi High School’s band into an award winning band. Lehi’s band has been selected to march in the Washington D.C. 4th of July parade.
Another great thing that Kaye and Nate did was to start a performing group open to anyone, including those who had never played a musical instrument before, and students in the special education program. This group’s concert performance was awe-inspiring. I have never heard of a band program that includes the special education students. Kaye is a great teacher, who inspires students to better, and instills even a great passion for music. Kaye took over Lehi’s band when the new band teacher was called up to serve in the current war we are in. It is unbelievable that a temporary teacher would put their heart and soul in to building a program that they would not be able to continue to grow
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