Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral service of long-time Gadsden County band director Randolph Bush.
The service was held on Quincy’s Corry Field on Saturday, April 18.
“It never rains on a Gladiator,” Catina Murray, a former student said, regarding the clear-weather that was temporarily offered to the mourners after a weekend of rain. “That’s what he always used to say.”
Murray was a flag girl at Havana Northside High School when Bush was the director there, and graduated in 1993.
Some of Bush’s former students from James A. Shanks Middle and High School said Bush also used to tell them, “It don’t rain on the Tigers.”
Some of Bush’s former students from East Gadsden High School, Havana Northside High School, and Shanks Middle and High met at what is now Shanks Middle School an hour before the service began.
Although it had rained on and off all morning, Bush’s words rang true – no rain fell on the Tigers or Gladiators that day.
Just before the band marched across the street to Corry Field, following Bush’s horse-drawn carriage, the rain stopped.
The procession was reminiscent of a homecoming parade.
Many people stood on the sidewalks watching, some wore memorial shirts with Bush’s picture on it, as the band consisting of Bush’s former band members performed.
Bush was a member of Salem AME Church in Greensboro.
He was the musician and musical director at Salem for nearly 30 years.
A 1975 graduate of James A. Shanks High School, Bush earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in instrumental music from Florida A&M University.
While at the university, Bush became a member of the percussion section of the incomparable Marching 100, and after graduating, Bush brought his talent back home to Gadsden County.
Prior to graduating from Florida A&M University, he was recruited by then Havana Northside High School principal John A. Williams, and was introduced as the school’s band director and music instructor.
After starting the first band at Havana Northside, he led the Havana Northside band for 18 years.
The band traveled immensely within the state of Florida, as well as outside of the state to participate in many competitions, band festivals, as well as Mardi Gras celebrations.
After serving as the band and choral director at Havana Northside for 18 years, Bush became the band and choral director at James A. Shanks High School.
After the construction of Gadsden County High School, he moved on to lead the new school as its band director, and served there until his retirement.
During his tenure and throughout his career, he is remembered for having inspired countless youth and individuals throughout Gadsden County and the surrounding areas.
Many expressed their gratitude via Facebook, and during his funeral.
“When you think of Bands in Gadsden County, one name comes to mind – Randolph Bush,” Quincy Mayor Ronte Harris said. “He arrived at James A. Shanks High School in the fall of 1997, my senior year, after nearly two decades at Havana Northside High School. In that one year, he maximized my potential as a student musician and his influence has lasted a lifetime.”
Harris said it was Bush who influenced him to change paths as a young psychology major, and to consider a career in musical education.
Bush’s children said playing music for his church and educating the students of Gadsden County were two of his greatest passions, but he was also a devoted and loving father.
“My dad was an outstanding father,” Lakisha Bush-Eutsay said. “He loved his children unconditionally, and would always give us praise for supporting him.”
Bush-Eutsay said her father was not just a father to children, but he also acted as father-figure to many children in the Gadsden County Public School system.
“He was a legend, a maestro, but he was a dad – not only to us, but to the kids in Gadsden County,” Bush-Eutsay added.
Natalie Bush added that she is grateful to have grown up with Bush as her father.
“It was a privilege to have him as a father,” Natalie Bush said. “He has always been active in our lives, even as adults.”