Out With the Old In With the New

Farewell Pianist of Ten Years


Bayleigh Koch

Always A Bright Side: While the departure of Mr. Paul Rath has been upsetting, it has also brought new oppritunities to Ms. Boes. Hoping to learn as much as she can, Boes took the open accompanist spot. Boes is excited for the new high school being built and what jobs it could bring for her. (photo submitted by Ms. Boes)

Cutting Cat Chat: Upset over Mr. Rath, GHS accompanist of ten years departing the district, Alex Goff 21’ shares his favorite moments. “My favorite memories with Mr. Rath were when we would go into the auditorium and work on sectionals and we would just have a good time talking with him,” Goff said. “We’d talk about the music, about show choir, or even his cats.”(photo by Bayleigh Koch)

The recent exit of Mr. Paul Rath, the GHS choir pianist of almost ten years has been a bittersweet experience for the choir and performing arts participants. Mr. Rath transferred to Wahoo this month to help a former student, Mr. Logan Langholdt. Mr. Langholdt, student choir director at Wahoo High School, lost his accompanist, and after talking with Mr. Patrick Ribar and the administration, Mr. Rath agreed to help out the former student. Mr. Rath hopes to return to GHS next year.
“We had the need for an accompanist nine years ago,” Mr. Ribar said. “He answered the call, he played anything I put in front of him, he’s a great voice. And I spoke with the administration and they were looking for my recommendation. I had met him that first day and he was a fabulous musician. That’s how I met him, and he was hired here and to this day he is a brilliant musician, voice, and piano. We were very fortunate to have him and still are because he hasn’t really left.”

Berck Bears Beliefs: After hearing the news and expierencing the recent leave of Mr. Paul Rath, Erin Berck 21’ shares her feelings. “I’m a little sad I didn’t get to finish out senior year with him here,” Berck said. “But I know he’ll get to play more somewhere else since we have many people and I will definitely miss him and his big heart.”(photo by Bayleigh Koch)

While the temporary goodbye to Mr. Rath has been difficult, it has brought new opportunities for the performing arts department. It was a win-win situation for everyone involved as health conditions worried Mr. Rath and Wahoo’s need of an accompanist.
“I worked six years with him,” performing arts teacher Mr. Brandon Shostak said. “He was already here when I started as a para but it was close enough that we were both somewhat new hires. It is a little bittersweet. Bitter as in I don’t want to see anybody go, sweet, because he wasn’t able to get the hours that we were able to get him. But then we were able to find him more hours of a job that he knows how to do perfectly. It’s a mixed bag of emotions. If it wasn’t a pandemic, if it wasn’t his current status of health, I think that he would be doing the same thing here.”
In replacement of Mr. Rath is show band director and choir accompanist Claire Boes, the newest addition to the choir and band family. Ms. Boes graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after majoring in music education with an emphasis on the saxophone. She previously student-taught at GHS and worked with the band during the spring semester of 2020.
“I enjoy Gretna just because it is so well supported and the arts are more represented than any other school that I have had the experience in,” Ms. Boes said. “Also I have never had issues with students or even staff being unfriendly or uninviting and you guys have just been super inviting and there for me.”

Parting Perry Prattles: Saddened by the news that Mr. Rath, pianist of ten years departs, Jeremiah Merriman 21’ reminisces in the moments that he and Rath shared. “My favorite memory with Mr. Rath is that before COVID I would give him a hug every day before class started and then we would talk about old TV shows like Perry Mason,” Merriman said. (photo by Bayleigh Koch)

While only knowing Mr. Rath for a short period of time, she too connected with the him due to their love of music. Like the rest of the choir family, she is grateful to see Mr. Rath get more hours in a new position as he had lost some due to her arrival.
“I think that he has the skill and the experience to leave on such sudden notice that it is in his best interest to get more hours elsewhere,” Ms. Boes said. “Especially since his hours here were so limited to me coming in and then I also get that experience that I need in case I want to do this at a different school.”
Ms. Boes plans to stay at GHS until a position opens up elsewhere, Boes is hoping to stay in the Gretna district and possibly transfer to the new high school. This year has been a learning experience for Ms. Boes as she is not only the director for the showband but also an accompanist for the choir.
“For show choir, this is the first time I have actually ever dealt with it,” Ms. Boes said. “I was never involved in choir or anything in high school and college. So being the director of the showband has been simultaneously very overwhelming, and very rewarding, especially during this first COVID year. It is a skill and experience that I can take with me literally anywhere.”
The temporary goodbye to Mr. Rath has brought Ms. Boes an opportunity to join the GHS performing arts family. Mr. Rath is hoping to return next year to GHS if everything goes according to plan.