Special concert planned in honor of former band director, Eric Seibel

PERRYVILLE – A special concert is planned to honor former PHS band director, Eric Seibel, who passed away in June. And a very special piece of music will be performed publicly for the first time during the concert – a commissioned composition written in honor of Mr. Seibel.



Eric Seibel


The PHS Band Concert will be held Tuesday, April 23 beginning at 6:30 pm in the Perryville High School gymnasium. The concert is free and open to the public. Former students of Mr. Seibel’s are especially encouraged to attend.


The new composition, “Good Morning,” was commissioned by current PHS Band Director Jerry Childers in honor of Mr. Seibel’s life and career. It was composed by Dr. John Prescott of Missouri State University, a former professor of Mr. Childers.



Dr. John Prescott, composer, with Janet Seibel


Mr. Seibel’s wife, Janet, herself a retired music teacher at Perry County School District 32, recently attended a rehearsal of “Good Morning” and met Dr. Prescott. She was moved to tears as she experienced the music performed live for the first time.


“In mid-January, Jerry Childers invited me to the band room, where he told me he had commissioned a composition to honor Eric’s life and career,” Mrs. Seibel said. “I gasped in total surprise! Mr. Childers described Eric to Dr. Prescott, telling of his joyful nature, dedication to music education, passion for inspiring students, and his impact on the community. 



PHS Band Director Jerry Childers conducts as the band rehearses “Good Morning,” the song composed by Dr. John Prescott to honor Eric Seibel, a former PHS band director who passed away in June.


“Two songs were chosen: Eric’s favorite hymn, ‘Lord Thee I Love With All My Heart’ and the PHS fight song. PHS was a big part of Eric’s life since he was a graduate of the school and taught there for 25 years. My thought was how was Dr. Prescott going to combine these two totally different styles and genres of music into one composition?”


Dr. Prescott told the band students that the answer to that question came to him at 2 am one morning. “I woke up and the answer was there. I had to get up and start writing or I’d lose it,” he said. “The answer was that the fight song and the hymn both have the same four-note descending pattern. That was it.”


Mr. Childers played a recording of Dr. Prescott’s composition, created by computer, for Mrs. Seibel. “It was a beautiful moment,” she said. “It starts joyfully with Dr. Prescott’s original material and then the French horns enter playing the hymn. Eric’s instrument of choice was the French horn. The music then transitioned to the PHS fight song, lively and energetic. The two selected songs are woven throughout the piece 2-3 times along with Dr. Prescott’s upbeat, humorous, and moving material. Finally, the French horn returns to play the theme of the hymn one last time.”


Mrs. Seibel said she was incredibly moved when Mr. Childers revealed the title of the piece: “Good Morning.”


“I had tears rolling down my face,” Mrs. Seibel recalled. “For those who do not know, ‘Good Morning’ was Eric’s greeting – no matter the time of day.”



Bill Fischer, a longtime colleague and friend of Mr. Seibel’s will play clarinet with the band at the April 23 concert in honor of Mr. Seibel.


Mr. Childers said that the students are looking forward to performing “Good Morning” at the concert. “Mr. Seibel continued to work with our band students,” he said, “so many of them knew him and are happy to be able to honor him this way, as are I and (assistant band director) Mr. Baggot. We can’t wait to share his song with our community.”