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Community bids farewell to Arlington High School's Forde
ARLINGTON — Lyle Forde prefers to stay out of the spotlight and for more than three decades he’s done a good job doing so.
But on Saturday, June 18, Forde couldn’t escape the glare as students, former students, family and friends made the popular music teacher the center of attention by honoring him with a tribute retirement concert at the Arlington High School auditorium.
Nearly 100 students from past and present crowded the bleachers on the stage and performed a medley of classics, ending with the Broadway classic “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
“I wouldn’t doubt it if he doesn’t shed a tear or two sometime tonight,” 1985 Arlington High School graduate Jose Gonzales said. “He is such an animated guy, but he has a soft side and tonight is going to stay with him for a long time.”
After each song, a former student or facility member took the stage and shared a Forde moment. Some of them were quirky and some were heartwarming. In all, it was a night of familiarity and emotion.
“I remember Lyle when he first came to work here at Arlington High School,” Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson said. “He was walking toward a classroom and I told him where he had to go for new-student registration. He just looked so young. I thought he had to be a new student. Tonight was an example of how our little community comes together. And Lyle ties it all together.”
Before bringing the beloved music teacher up to the stage, a movie screen dropped down and a video montage rolled featuring the best of Forde.
“I knew they were up to something,” Forde said. “Yes, this was a very special night for me. To see all those people and that video of me as a teenager, and now here I am retiring. It really shows you how fast time goes by.”
After reaching the stage, Forde, who was greeted by a standing ovation, joined the band and singers as they performed the ‘70s hit “Sandman,” by the musical group America.
“It felt great being up there,” Forde said. “I have so many fond memories of every show we’ve put on. It was a great time and I’ll never forget those times.”
At nearly 60 years old, Forde, a graduate of Cascade High School in Everett and Seattle Pacific University, holds his last class at Arlington High on June 23. After that he plans on spending time on his boat, at least until his next gig.
“I am not sure what’s next,” Forde said. “But I don’t think I am done teaching. I just don’t know where.”