Vincent Bates — A Short Introduction
For much of my time growing up, we lived in Gandy, Utah, a collection of three farms out in Utah's western desert. It is just 30 miles north of Great Basin National Park. (If you don't know where that is, you can find it on Google Maps.) Gandy is a fun place to visit and my relatives rent cabins and take tours of the Crystal Ball Cave. If you are ever out that way, be sure to bring your swimming suits for a dip in the spring (here's another link) or at the swimming hole. Needless to say, this was a fun place to grow up with so much to see and do.
I graduated from West Desert High School back in 1985. My claim to fame is that I was salutatorian in my graduating class ... of two. It was just me and my cousin that year and we had to go back a few years to find a difference in our GPAs. We basically did the same work throughout high school. We even tried to teach ourselves trigonometry out of the teachers edition of the textbook. We must have done okay because we both did well on the ACT. In fact, our graduating class had the highest ACT average that year of any graduating class in Utah, and we had 100% participation! The picture below was taken by a newspaper reporter when our high school did a production of Annie Get Your Gun and took it on the road to some schools up in the Salt Lake City area. Some of us played an overture for the production and then acted in the play while one of our teachers provided the rest of the music on piano. I'm playing French horn in the middle and my cousin is on clarinet. The other three players are my sister and two brothers.
I decided I wanted to teach either music or art as a profession (all the adults I knew were either teachers or farmers, and there wasn't enough space for all of us to stay on the family farm). I eventually chose music and attended Brigham Young University where I earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree. I played horn in all of the bands and orchestras there and also sang in the Men's Chorus for a year when Mack Wilberg was still the conductor, before he became the director of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. In fact, Wilberg was my first conducting teacher at BYU. I found that I really enjoyed conducting and eventually continued at BYU for a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting. My masters project included directing the BYU Symphony Orchestra for two semesters. At the same time, I started teaching music in Eureka, Utah. Here's a picture of the band marching in Eureka for the annual Silver Festival (I'm filling in on bass drum).
I taught general music and band at Eureka Elementary School and band, choir, guitar, and visual art at Tintic High School (of special note, the Tintic School District includes two high schools: Tintic High School and West Desert High School where I graduated.) I taught at the elementary school every morning. The students came to music three times a week. We played a lot of singing games, danced, and learned to play some musical instruments (recorder and guitar). The elementary kids also sang for community events.
The biggest event of the year, for more than 100 years in Eureka, is the annual Christmas operetta. I don't have many pictures from these events, probably because I was playing the piano and couldn't take pictures at the same time. Anyway, this is a set I painted one year for the operetta. A lot of years I also collaborated with one of the elementary classroom teachers to write the script and songs for the operetta. I enjoyed the 12 years I taught in Eureka and was happy that I could teach all four arts there (music, visual art, dance, and drama).
So, I was 30 years old and living by myself in a small house on the the main highway that ran through Eureka at the base of the canyon. One of the English teachers at Tintic High School, with whom I collaborated on musical productions, wanted to set me up on a blind date with his wife's cousin. I had sworn never to go on another blind date, but I made an exception. I found out later that on the night I was supposed to meet the cousin, she couldn't make it, and so they called another cousin as a last-minute substitute. Long story short, that's how I met my amazing wife, Kristin. We taught together in Eureka for a year (she is a science teacher) and then we moved to Tucson, Arizona for a couple years where I earned a PhD in music and teacher education.
Later, we moved to Maryville, Missouri, where I taught elementary and general music methods and horn for six years. We thoroughly enjoyed living there and I loved the university. In 2012, however, we jumped at the chance to return to Utah where our kids could grow up close to extended family. That's what brought me to the teacher education department at Weber State University. Weber is great, great, great! I have wonderful colleagues here and am fortunate to teach so many outstanding and dedicated teachers.
We live in Layton with our four kids (Landon, William, Sophie, and Audrey). Landon returned last year from an LDS mission to New Zealand and now attends WSU as an engineering major. William graduated from Northridge High School last year, works at Cabelas, and just received a mission call to Juarez, Mexico. Sophie is a junior at Northridge and loves to paint and play piano. Audrey is our youngest and attends North Layton Junior High. She plays saxophone in the band there. It has been surprising how many of the students I have taught here at Weber over the past eight years have ended up teaching my kids either as their classroom teachers or as student teachers. This, of course, is less likely now that they are finishing up school. But, hopefully someday we'll have some grandkids in the schools.
My wife, Kristin, teaches 9th grade biology at Mill Creek Junior High School in Bountiful. She is recognized as one of the top science teachers in Davis School District.
Here's a picture of the family at Landon's high school graduation just a couple of years ago.
In addition to teaching here at Weber, I like to hike and garden. In the summers sometimes we try to spend at least a week at the beach in San Diego or Oceanside. We have been going there for probably 15 years. I used to read a lot of books at the beach or just sit and relax. Sometimes it was boring. But then I started making sand castles. Now I count sand castle making as one of my hobbies. Here's a small one from Pine View Reservoir three years ago and another from San Diego on the Fourth of July two years ago.