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Making beautiful music

Allan Villiers’ baton jabs wildly at the air. His arms swoop. His Winnie the Pooh neck tie, a trademark style, flaps in the commotion. His legs bend as he directs and corrects his fourth-period advanced band students.

“Pilatus Mountain of Dragons” pours forth from the Fairview Junior High band room. The music starts and stops, but Villiers moves constantly. He issues commands without being a drill sergeant. He pushes without using force.

Villiers, who has taught music for nearly 30 years, was named Washington Music Educators Association Olympic Region’s Outstanding Music Educator of the Year.

His students, many of whom have been in Villiers’ classes for three years, say he is funny, awesome and encouraging.

“Some teachers have the ability to put you to sleep, but he doesn’t have that ability,” said Merada Tuttle, a ninth-grader.

She and classmate Kati Countess have been in Villiers’ band classes for three years. They both play the clarinet.

“Mr. Villiers is great. He can be strict but not too strict, critical but not judgmental,” Countess said of his teaching style.

Villiers, a Suquamish resident, taught for the Bainbridge Island School District from 1974-1992. In 1992 he came to Fairview.

“He just makes it easier to play,” said Josh Unruh, eighth-grader. He and classmate Abby Horn play the bells and xylophone, respectively.

“I think (Mr. Villiers) is totally awesome. He doesn’t put you on the spot. He relates things to his personal experience,” Horn said.

Villiers keeps his class moving, if there’s a lag, the students will find something else to do.

“I try to keep the atmosphere as light as possible. Make them a part of it as much as possible,” Villiers said from the quiet of his office. “I want them to realize music can be a part of their life.”

Villiers has played the trumpet since he was 8 years old.

“I read somewhere once ‘If you choose a career wisely you’ll never have to go to work.’ That’s the way I view this,” he said.

His enthusiasm is mirrored in his students who work feverishly to polish their performance for an upcoming competition.

“We get to do all sorts of types of music,” said Amber Silverwood, a ninth-grader.

“He jokes around, he always says ‘When you make mistakes make them big,’” Silverwood said.

He said he was honored when he learned he won the award. “This is a nice region to be in musically,” he said.

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