It took a fellow musician to surprise Joe Boley when the Great Bend Noon Kiwanis presented the 2012 Great Bend Greater Award last Wednesday at Montana Mike’s. The club’s award to an outstanding citizen doesn’t necessarily go to a fellow Kiwanian, but Boley has been a member since March 6, 1997. As club secretary, he thought he knew who the award was going to.
JB Webster, with trumpet in hand, was Wednesday’s guest speaker. Boley thought the club was going to surprise Webster with the award. But when Terry Turner, chairman of the Great Bend Greater committee, started reading the biography of this year’s recipient, Boley realized it was him.
Boley taught in public schools for 39 years – 36 here in Great Bend, where he was band director for the high school and elementary schools. He and fellow GBHS teacher Phil Szanuk started the school’s Variety Show to raise money for a new piano. The May 2012 Variety Show will mark the 41st anniversary of the popular program.
Boley also worked with the Argonne Rebels Drum and Bugle Corps.
He is a past secretary in District 5 for the Kansas Music Educators and was named Master Teacher of USD 428 in 1980-81. On July 13, 2001, he was named the outstanding band director in the state by the Kansas Band Masters.
Boley is director of the Prince of Peace Traditional Choir at St. Patrick Church, and cantors at St. Rose and St. Patrick churches. He has served as president of the Golden Belt Community Concert Association for several years and is a member of the Jazz Festival Committee.
“He has trombone and will travel, which he loves to do,” Turner said. “He has played with the pit orchestra for Barton Community College musicals. In addition, he plays with the BCC Pep Band and the BCC Community Band. When opportunity avails itself, he plays with JB’s Big Band. He organized and directs the Ole Tyme Town Band, which has performed at various conventions, college workshops, state music conventions and community celebrations. He directed the City Band for several years, and now enjoys playing the concerts on Thursday evenings at the courthouse square.”
Boley enjoys working with the youth, and volunteers to be a guide for third graders at the Barton County Historical Society in the spring. He also serves on the board of the Historical Society.
Because of his interest and research of various topics, including music, quackery and Kansas history, he is a regular speaker for various organizations.
As a member of Kiwanis, he has held the office of president and vice president, as well secretary. He has been recognized at the state level as outstanding secretary.
“I’m humbled by the fact that you’d think of (this award) for me,” Boley said. He and his wife Darlene, who has taught piano for 54 years, still attend music conventions.