It was a goodbye he will never forget. Neither will the several hundred people who crowded in the Packard Music Hall Sunday afternoon to listen to its annual spring concert and to wish a happy retirement to the last remaining member of the original W.D. Packard Band.
Loyal B. Mould, who has been a principal oboe player with the band for 57 years, sat in the first row on a plush chair, a table with bottled water and his wife, Marilyn, at his side. His children, grandchildren and great grandchildren also attended his sendoff.
Mould for the first time soaked in the sounds of the band as a member of its audience, not a featured performer.
Gage leads the W.D. Packard Band during the Spring Concert held Sunday afternoon. The concert honored Loyal B. Mould, who was the last remaining member of the first W.D. Packard Band 57 years ago. Mould recently retired. Photo by Raymond L. Smith
''It is a really good band,'' he said afterward.
As one of its earliest members, Mould says the talents of the players have progressively improved over the years.
''It was pretty rough in the beginning,'' he admitted. ''As the years passed, it has gotten more talented performers.''
As for himself, Mould simply calls himself a survivor.
Yet, neither his resume, nor his friends would suggest that Mould has been anything less than a master musician who loved his craft and shared the love of music with others.
Besides working with the Packard Band, Mould has taught at Boardman High School and is a professor emeritus at the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University.
Thomas Groth described how Mould's career with the Packard Band was almost cut short because his audition with George Garstick, at the time the newly appointed manager of the band, did not go well.
''Someone else won (the job),'' Groth described. ''However, this person did not show for the first rehearsal and Mr. Mould got the call to play.''
He continued his study of the oboe with principal oboists from the Cleveland Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony. He received his master's degree in performance, not just on oboe, but performing on the flute, clarinet, saxophone and bassoon.
Donald W. Byo, W.D. Packard Band conductor emeritus, described long trips to Cleveland, Pittsburgh and other surrounding communities to make performances.
''We had many 13-hour days,'' he said. ''You've truly become Mr. Oboe. I've watched as you've influenced young musicians and taught them to perfect their crafts. I watched as you taught my own son.''
Mayor Doug Franklin presented Mould a proclamation from the city for his loyalty to the community. The band presented him with a special gold Bulova watch and a permanent membership to the band.
''He has taught many students through the years,'' Groth said. ''He has maintained the same underlying principle that they must enjoy playing, enjoy the music and enjoy what they are doing.''
After the concert, Mould described being honored by the recognition and the love he felt from those in the band others in the community.
''I'm very pessimistic about the future,'' he said. ''I worry about the educational cuts made by the governor. There is a disrespect for the whole field of teaching. I fear for the young people who might want to go into music and education.''
Ed Tesner, an Austintown resident, described the spring concert as something special and something he enjoys attending every year.
Marilyn Mould described the concert as breathtaking.
''I'm honored that they are recognizing my husband,'' she said. ''This has been inspiring.''