Grapevine High School Mustang Band is busy warming up for when school kicks off Monday.
However, the Grapevine program will feel a little emptier this year after the death of Brandt Samuel Leondar, the high school’s longtime and beloved assistant director of bands.
Leondar, 53, who was affectionately known as “Mr. L,” died July 5 after a brief illness. He retired in June after 30 years of teaching in public schools in Texas, beginning his Grapevine High School career in 1990.
Stratos Maragoudakis, clarinet section leader and senior representative of the school’s band council, recalled the educator.
“I remember how passionate ‘Mr. L.’ was for the program,” the senior said. “He was always getting there early and staying late. He really cared about his students and establishing a friendship with them.”
In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made to The Brandt Leondar Memorial. The memorial provides financial assistance to band students there, enabling them equal access to the music program and assisting students with marching band fees, private lessons, band trips costs and other activities.
Leondar was remembered in a Star-Telegram obituary as being “well loved by his students.”
“He was committed to not only teaching students to love and aspire in music, but he was there for them on a personal level — encouraging them in school, in life, in relationships,” the obituary read.
According to the district’s website, Leondar’s accolades included receiving Grapevine-Colleyville I.S.D. Distinguished Teacher Award in 2001, 2013 and 2014.