LAKE PLACID - At age 82, Don Rand is continuing his dedication to the school where he's taught for most of his life.
Rand, a Lake Placid native, began teaching music at North Country School, a boarding school in Lake Placid, in 1959. Five decades later, he is still at the piano bench, giving lessons to students three days a week.
Rand's ties to the school date back even further, however. In 1954, he became a counselor at Camp Treetops, the resident summer camp that shares its campus with NCS. Before then, he had worked at Florida State University and Indiana University.
"I didn't like the competitiveness of university life," he said, "so I was pleased to come and work at this unique school."
More than 100 current and former trustees, colleagues, students, campers, and friends gathered in Manhattan Sept. 12 to celebrate the rich history of performing arts at NCS and Camp Treetops and to honor Rand's more than 50 years of service to the school and camp community.
In addition to a reception, dinner, and toasts, the evening included musical performances on the piano and violin. Rand joined his former-student-turned-Broadway-music-director, David Loud, for a piano duet.
"It's just a pleasure any teacher takes from seeing a very successful student," said Rand. "It was a fun experience."
Roger Loud, former NCS Head of School, longtime Lake Placid resident, and David's father, was one of many speakers to note Rand's versatility. Besides formal music classes, Rand also gave one-on-one lessons in piano, cello, clarinet, violin, voice, and more. By the time of his ostensible "retirement" in 1991, he'd chaired the English Department, served as admissions director, wrote school publications, and spent 30 years as a houseparent.
"Don is the quintessential Renaissance man," noted David "Hock" Hochschartner, Head of School and Camp, "and we've been so fortunate to have his array of talents all these many years. It's difficult to imagine this place without him -and luckily we don't have to just yet."