By: Julia Deng
MIDLAND - Generations of students and staff are remembering the life and legacy of longtime Lee High School band director Randy Storie.
He passed away Monday night, according to Midland Independent School District officials.
Storie began his 34-year tenure leading the "Mighty Rebel Band" in 1980 and taught thousands of students before retiring in 2014.
Brian Collins, the current band director at Midland High, was one of those students; he played trombone in Storie's band beginning in the ninth grade.
"[That was] in the late 1980's, so I've known him for 27 years," he said. "He was a legend in this community. He will certainly be missed by all of us."
He credits Storie with giving him the opportunity to pursue his own dream of working as a band director.
"He believed in me, somehow... and that's always been real special to me."
Storie's dedication to teaching and "band is life" mentality continue to inspire Collins, as well as other former students. Fabian Mendoza, who played saxophone at Lee High from 2008 to 2011, said Storie's impact went far beyond music.
"He directed us in such a way that it inspired me to always do everything to 100 percent," he told NewsWest 9. "Something he always told us was, 'Push, pull or get out of the way."
Students said Storie "gave 110 percent." During his run as band director, he led the Mighty Rebels to performances and competitions nationwide. They played at Carnegie Hall, the Tournament of Roses Parade and three Presidential Inaugural Parades.
"Under his leadership, the Lee High School Mighty Rebel Band gained regional, state and national renown for being one of the most successful and respected fine arts programs Midland has produced," MISD Superintendent Dr. Ryder Warren said in a statement. "Mr. Storie achieved a level of excellence in his career that cannot be duplicated."
A public memorial service will be held in mid-June, said Collins. Details about funeral arrangements have not been made public by the district.