A closing note

Head band director says goodbye to Canyon High


Courtesy of Mike Sheffield

After 20 years of teaching at Canyon High, head band director Mike Sheffield will move to a new school.

Every summer, the band hall is cleared out. Chairs are removed, and instruments are pushed against the walls so the custodians can clean a year’s worth of stains from the gray carpet. This year, the room appears ever-the-more empty, with the typically-full office devoid of its usual collection of awards, photos, papers and smiles. 

Head band director Mike Sheffield will move to teach at Sanger High School in Sanger, Texas this year. Sheffield began teaching at Canyon High in 2000.

“I moved to Canyon my eighth-grade year,” Sheffield said. “I had a rough, unstable childhood. I got to Canyon, and band was the one thing that stabilized me. I poured my soul into it. I knew then I wanted to teach. Canyon created me and inspired me, so I wanted to get back to Canyon and teach, hoping to inspire someone like myself.”

Canyon created me and inspired me, so I wanted to get back to Canyon and teach.

— Mike Sheffield, head band director

During his 20-year career at the high school, Sheffield taught around 1,500 students. Sheffield said his primary goal was to show students how to navigate through life.

“Sometimes life is a grind,” Sheffield said. “Sometimes life deals out a winning hand, and sometimes not. Through my good and bad decisions, through my successes and my missteps, I hope I’ve given them some ideas about how to keep going–how to be the best they can be.”

Sheffield created and organized marching shows which the band performed each fall. Sheffield said his favorite shows to produce were “Velocity,” performed in 2004, and “Trifecta,” performed in 2016.

“‘Velocity’ was a fast show, but the title also reflected the student motivation,” Sheffield said. “We hit the ground running and never stopped. ‘Trifecta’ was a huge leap for the band–and me personally–into a new type of show. It was such a growing experience–painfully sometimes. But the end result was a breakthrough.”

Sheffield said he will most miss the principals and students at Canyon High.

Canyon High has fantastic leadership, and they did so much for me professionally and personally.

— Mike Sheffield, head band director

“Canyon High has fantastic leadership, and they did so much for me professionally and personally,” Sheffield said. “The students are just fun people. They made me laugh, think and smile. They could take my decisions, and–in some cases–mistakes, and turn them into successes.”

After 35 years living in Canyon, Sheffield said he is looking forward to a fresh start in Sanger.

“I’m looking forward to access to resources, both for the band and for my wife and myself,” Sheffield said. “Access to concert, art exhibits, museums, etc. excites me. And I’ll be closer to my parents and my brother for the first time in decades.”

Sheffield said he is proudest of the culture of the band and its standards of behavior and involvement.

“There’s a great deal of pride,” Sheffield said. “It’s a family, and they stick together. It wasn’t always that way. I hope that lasts for many years. To the students, I would say thank you. Thank you for keeping music a priority and putting your heart and soul into it. Remember the good times we had together, and as much as possible, forgive and forget my missteps and mistakes. If you ever need me, I’m here for you.”