Band director to sign copies of book in Richland today

When Greg Metcalf taught music at Park Middle School in Kennewick, he was known to entertain his students with tall tales.

"Over the years, I have told so many funny stories about my experiences teaching band that my wife told me many times that I ought to write a book about it all," Metcalf said in a phone interview with the Herald.

He finally wrote that book -- Help! I'm In The Band -- and he'll be signing copies from10 a.m. to noon todayat The Bookworm, 701A The Parkway in Richland.

The tale follows the ups and downs of life for a middle school band director.

"It is a work of fiction, but the seeds of the story are based on my life as a musician and music teacher," Metcalf said. "It's a book the kids will love, but I think adults will like it too."

Metcalf, 61, grew up in Pasco, graduated from Pasco High School and was inducted into the high school's hall of fame in 2004. He was the band director at Park Middle School for 13 years before moving to the west side. He now lives in Everett.

"I moved to the Seattle area to further my career but sorely missed Park Middle School. I still do," Metcalf said.

The book is the first of a series he plans to write and self-publish, and he already is working on book two.

While Metcalf visits his hometown for the book signing, he also plans to do a little guitar picking with musician chums Frank and Debi Eng. The trio perform periodically together as Three Jazz.

They'll play together starting at 7 p.m. Friday at Bookwalter Winery, 894 Tulip Lane in Richland. There is no cover charge, and all ages are welcome.

He has performed with such notable musicians as Johnny Mathis, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Natalie Cole, The Temptations, Stan Kenton Orchestra, Diane Schurr, Buddy DeFranco and Linda Ronstadt.

Metcalf would rather conduct a free music workshop for kids than find the words that describe how music has influenced his life. His teaching style earned him the 2006 Golden Acorn Award for Teacher of the Year by the Washington Music Teachers Association.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com