Longtime Temple Independent School District orchestra director James Flowers will retire when classes conclude Wednesday after 40 years of teaching music.
But Flowers, who has inspired musicians in Temple ISD for the last 32 years, emphasized how his retirement will simply transition him toward another lifetime of music.
“I have totally enjoyed my time as a teacher, especially my time at Temple High School in particular,” he told the Telegram. “I had many different types of jobs, but as an orchestra director I’ve never felt like not going to work in the morning. I’d like to think that whenever a student came to my classroom, wherever they are (musically), that I could move them along to the best of my ability.”
Flowers, 62, noted how that joy for teaching has remained a constant throughout the entirety of his career.
“I’ve always been eager to go to work … because I can show them what music has to offer,” he said. “To most people, a piece of printed music is a bunch of black symbols on a white page. But it’s up to us to bring that to life. That’s what I try to get my students to think about. It’s been a career that I’ve loved, but I figured it’s time to move on.”
He said he is pleased with Temple ISD’s progression in its fine arts department — continuous improvements he hopes the district can continue.
“There have been times when I didn’t feel the best about the district, but I feel really good about where the district is headed … and I’m really going to miss the district and all of the staff.”
Temple ISD Superintendent Bobby Ott said Flowers will be greatly missed across the district.
“James Flowers is one of the most influential and steady forces we have had in all of TISD,” Ott said. “He is a kind and talented leader that invites total admiration. He is a one of a kind and will be greatly missed by all.”
However, Flowers said he will remain an active participant in the Temple community.
“I’ve been trying to prepare myself both mentally and spiritually … because I’m really just transitioning into another phase of my life,” he said.
Flowers — a performer and director with the Temple Symphony — said the bulk of his future will be dedicated toward his personal explorations with music.
“I will continue doing freelance music jobs … but during COVID, I watched a lot of YouTube videos on music production,” he said. “With the advances in equipment affordability, I feel like I have the experience and technical expertise to get into that. So I’ll be doing some music production, playing in ensembles, other freelance music jobs, UIL judging and anything else that might strike my fancy.”