Retired band director returns after 50 years to hear school song

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BOX ELDER, S.D. (KEVN) -- For some, the Douglas Rouser is simply the anthem to a high school in Box Elder, South Dakota, but to the man that wrote it, it means so much more.

Ninety-five-year old Lenord Borlaug wrote the song one morning as the first music teacher in a brand new Douglas High School. Fifty years later, he returned to hear a new generation of students play it.

Borlaug said, "I was bulled over. I never thought the school song would reduce me to tears but it did. They didn't get much past the introduction."

Jennifer Larson, the current band and choir director, said, "It's a school song that hasn't been altered in any way. It's the same as it was when he wrote it. It has stood the test of time for 50 some years as an original."

Saraphim Huetson, a student, said, "For me it means, it's a way to express myself, a way to figure out who I am without necessarily finding the words to say that."

Borlaug never imagined his legacy would carry on after his three-year stay starting in 1963.

Borlaug said, "I was really surprised and gratified that they are still using the song here. I thought it would disappear when I left."

After their first performance, the band played again with Borlaug conducting the song he wrote 50 years ago.

Ethan Roberts, a student, said, "I almost started crying half way through to be honest. The first time I played I was like, 'Oh playing another song for a man.' When he started conducting it, yeah I almost stared crying. "

Borlaug hopes this performance will inspire students and further their passion in music.

Borlaug said, "If it's at all possible - continue, even if it's just with a 12 piece band from west over shoe Wisconsin. Stay with it don't get rid of that instrument."

Read the original version of this article at blackhillsfox.com.