Farewell Barnhill

You Will Be Missed


Mr. Mark Barnhill devilishly stands outside Room 4117, the Orchestra and Choir room, which was his home in the new building for five months.

Micah Via, Staff Writer

“Mark Barnhill is retiring.” Students dreaded ever hearing those words. At the end of the 2015-2016, after working at Northmont for 34 years, teaching for 37, and putting on 80 shows, Mr. Mark Barnhill has finally decided to retire.

“I love everything I do in my career but I’m getting out of it now before anything changes,” said Barnhill. “I love my job and students and I don’t want to change that.”

Barnhill first started his teaching career in 1979 at Marysville High school in Marysville, Kentucky. Three years later, he got a call from, Reg Richwine, who was director of the Northmont band program. Barnhill and Richwine had gone to school together.

“I was hired as the assistant band director for 26 years. In that time, I had revived musicals at Northmont. One of my favorite musicals was Les Miserables. We took that show to state in Strongsville, but the process included completely emptying out the band semi, taking out the shelves and putting in all the props and scenery,” said Barnhill, an Indiana native.

When Barnhill came to Northmont, there was no choir teacher, so took on that job as well. A few years later, in 1985, he also took over show choir from the previous director.

“We went to several national competitions. I often took them to New York and these trips prepared them for things in their future careers. I would give them a time to be back and turn them loose,” said Barnhill.

Barnhill started playing the saxophone in high school, but later began concentrating on the piano and vocals.

“My high school band director was a really good musician and he pushed me to do better and I thought that this was something I wanted to do for other people. I got into music education and never looked back,” said Barnhill.

Many of his students look up to Barnhill as an inspiration.

“I am friends with many former students on Facebook,” said Barnhill. “I have made unbreakable bonds with some of my students. I didn’t have any kids of my own but my favorite quote is ‘I always considered my students my kids, but at the end of the day they went home to mom and dad.'”

After Barnhill retires, he wants to go traveling and plans to continue working as Shiloh Church’s music director.

“A tip for my students is to never give up on yourselves. You might not get the role you wanted or get in the group you wanted the first time, but don’t give up,” said Barnhill.

Farewell, Mr. Barnhill. You will be missed.