‘The Music Man of Wheat Ridge’

Larry Wallace (Jan. 23, 1928 - Jul. 14, 2012) was known as “The Music Man of Wheat Ridge.” He led one of the top high school bands in Colorado history from 1958 to 1987, impacting many hundreds of people who have carried the lessons he taught into their adult lives.

Longtime Denver sportscaster and star athlete at Wheat Ridge High School, Dave Logan, played trombone in Wallace’s band. “I will always remember that he was good with people. He treated people the right way, which made an impact on me at an early age,” said Logan.

Though he loathed the limelight, Wallace received numerous honors including the American Bandmasters Award and an induction into the Colorado Bandmasters Hall of Fame. His was the only high school band that the Colorado Symphony (then, the Denver Symphony) ever performed a joint concert with, in 1972. For many years, his students dominated All State Band and the winds and percussion of All State Orchestra.

Upon Wallace's retirement in 1987, the Wheat Ridge High School band was invited to play at Carnegie Hall, which they did the following year. After retiring, he mentored college students and donated countless hours teaching music theory classes at local high schools.

As Kids’ Music Week wraps up, CPR Classical host and former Larry Wallace student Monika Vischer has this tribute to a man who’ll forever be remembered as one of Colorado’s most beloved high school band teachers. It begins with Dick McGee, who chairs the Fine Arts Department at the College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas.

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