Music hall dedicated after late VMT instructor

Students and staff honor beloved VMT teacher at the Bobby Compton Music Hall dedication.


The Magnet Tribune: Luis Sanchez

Family and colleagues unveil the plaque and frame in honor of Bobby Compton.

Zoe Alvarez, Staff writer

The Laredo Independent School District held a ceremony to dedicate the Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts’ music wing in honor of the late Bobby Compton.

Compton’s orchestra students commenced the ceremony with a heartfelt performance followed by the presentation of colors and the Star Spangled Banner played by a VMT trumpet student.

To honor his memory, fellow colleague and low brass instructor John Reimund spoke on behalf of the VMT staff.

Family is the motif Reimund used to describe the impact of Compton on VMT. He described the staff, teacher, and students as one big family.

“We know that family is a complex concept, it’s very dynamic,” he said.

He explained that although many mourn his passing, it was a moment of celebration for all whether colleague or student, to honor his legacy at VMT. Reimund also took his time to thank the Compton family for their presence mentioning the long trip from Arkansas.

Reimund spoke of a big part of Compton’s life, the violin. His dedication to the instrument has given Compton a well-known reputation around Texas, he said. Although Compton suffered a stroke and lost significant usage of his left hand, he continued on his journey to playing music. He devoted his life to the violin artfully mastering it. He could play a piece by Bach and quickly switch to a hoedown which received admiration from his fellow musical staff, Reimund said.

“You could not go anywhere in the state and not know what Bob Compton did. Bobby Compton really was one of the most consequent violinists anywhere in the state and mind you he played in several orchestras,” he said.

Reimund shared a story of Compton’s determination to perfect his technique.

“On the day of his passing, when I went home, he was in his office at 4:30 and he was practicing. He was practicing. That’s the kind of inspiration he was on our musical family,” Reimund said.

Compton was a peaceful soul. He would help his colleagues regain composure as a group and assess any situation, Reimund added.

“He had such a calming effect on all of us. A lot of us are a little high strung from time to time; I think we know that and it was Mr. Bob Compton (that) was like ‘Let’s think this through.’ And he (gave) us the broader picture. I mean he had such a wisdom about him without being demeaning you know,” he said.

Compton was family to the students of VMT. His dedication to teaching the violin and various orchestral string instruments is what made him such an intricate part in his students’ musical growth, Reimund said.

“Just seeing him work with you all, well, work with anybody. I don’t think there was anything that that man would not do for you. You were very fortunate to have him in your lives. Not just as a teacher but as a mentor,” Remiund said to the students.

Reimund took a moment to explain how much Compton meant to him and his musical career. Through tears he said that not a day goes by that he doesn’t think of him.

Compton’s strings students were not the only group part that were part of his family. Bobby Compton also took part in leading the VMT Philharmonic orchestra in which students, from violin to trumpet gathered every Tuesday and Thursday to create music. Not only did he impact the lives of his orchestra students, he impacted the lives of all musicians at VMT. He aided in the creation of a long lasting VMT family for many generations to come, Reimund added.

“Be reminded that we become and remain family through the arts,” Reimund said.

Reimund included the plaque that would be dedicated to Compton in honor of the wonderful influence and love he spread in his lifetime.

“This plaque is a reminder of our departed family member and a reminder of why we dedicate our passion and energy to our art and why we channel that same passion to future generations of young artists, our students. It’s why we’re here,” He said.

Reimund then concluded his speech by offering his gratitude to his friend.

“Thank you Bob for being a good friend, role model and God bless you and God bless our family,” he added.

Compton’s violin student Shelby Yeary spoke on behalf of the VMT student body. Yeary was able to study under Compton for two years.

“From the moment I found out I had his class, I knew that would be the highlight of my high school years,” she said.

Compton was not only a teacher but a mentor to his students. He was patient and supportive in his students’ musical journeys in pursuing their instruments. He inspired students to become better musicians and grow as better human beings, Yeary said. Compton was a bright teacher always welcoming those who entered his classroom. He had a positive environment for his students, she added.

“(Students) described him as a beautiful soul, lovable, understanding, supportive, humorous, joyful, kind, brave and helpful,” she said.

The ceremony concluded with the revealing of a portrait of Compton that will be displayed in the newly dedicated Bobby Compton Music Hall.