Robert Spiegelman, the longtime director of the Lindbergh High School Marching Band, died Sunday following a long battle with cancer. He was 54.
He never let the parade pass him by.
Mr. Spiegelman was a tireless promoter of the high school's Spirit of St. Louis Marching Band, leading it to the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA twice, in 2005 and again on New Year's Day this year.
The weeklong Rose Parade trip at the end of 2010 was an especially poignant journey for Mr. Spiegelman who, despite suffering from lymphoma, was determined to make the trip to Pasadena and march alongside his band on New Year's Day. It was a personal triumph that he was able to walk almost all of the 5.5-mile parade route.
"During the week's activities, he would rest and allow his body to be ready for when the kids needed him," said Lori Picillo, of Fenton, after the band returned home. "He was at every event, and you could see the joy on his face.”
Mr. Spiegelman's post-parade life was a struggle. While everyone else was unpacking from the trip and going back to school, Spiegelman was headed to the hospital for a series of cancer treatments.
"Bob is an amazing, dedicated director who has a heart for every single one of his students and has influenced the lives of thousands during his years at Lindbergh High School," said Beth Cross, director of community relations at Lindbergh.
A former band parent, Sally Tippett Rains, recalled many good times with the band under Mr. Spiegelman's leadership.
Mr. Spiegelman was in his 29th year as a music educator and 18th year as director of bands at Lindbergh High School. He taught music at the high school and directed the Spirit of St. Louis Marching Band and the Jazz Band. Prior to teaching at Lindbergh, Mr. Spiegelman was director of the St. Charles West High School Band in St. Charles. He holds bachelor and master degrees from the University of Missouri.
"Some of our family's happiest memories involved Bob Spiegelman as we got go to Hawaii when our son B.J. marched with the band in the King Kamehameha Parade," Rains said. "And we were in charge of the fundraising for our other son Mike's trip with the band to the Rose Parade in 2006.
"Bob brought members of the band to play for the children with cancer at our Rainbows For Kids parties at Cardinal Glennon each year, and he was a friend to our family personally" Rains said. "We are sad to see him go and encourage everyone to pray for a cure for cancer."
During his long career, Mr. Spiegelman has served as president of the Missouri unit of the International Association of Jazz Educators and was instrumental in creating Missouri's first All-State High School Jazz Ensemble. He also served as Missouri chapter president-elect in 2005 of Phi Beta Mu, the professional band director fraternity. He was a member of the Music Educators National Conference, the Missouri Bandmasters Association and the National Education Association.
Mr. Spiegelman's career mileposts included performing for President Ronald Reagan, the NFL football Cardinals and the St. Louis Cardinals. He and his bands also performed at the World Series, the Paris Air show, a U.S. Ambassador's residence, in the King Kamehaheha Parade in Honolulu, and at the two Tournament of Roses parades.
Funeral arrangements for Mr. Spiegelman are pending.