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Tributes for music teacher, Rodester Brandon who was known across South Florida for his tremendous work both in and out of class rooms passed away Tuesday after a battle with cancer.
LAUREN PASTRANA: All new now at 5:30, a tribute to a music teacher known across South Florida for his tremendous work both in and out of the classroom. Rodester Brandon passed away earlier this week, and the tributes of love and praise from those who knew him just keep coming.
ELIOTT RODRIGUEZ: Former students and friends tonight are sharing the tremendous impact he had on their lives.
Rodester Brandon lived to perform and teach music. A teacher, conductor, and mentor to many over the course of three decades, he passed away Tuesday after a battle with cancer. A former student at Miami Dade College shared his legacy.
ALAIN RODRIGUEZ: He really, really turned that school, like, into something amazing. Like the amount of opportunities that I as a student under his direction received were, like, crazy. He just wanted to share his opinion as a professional on, like, how you can better yourself as a musician, on your phrasing, on your musicality, on your technique, on your articulation, everything-- dynamics. Any aspect of music performance, he would take pride in how he would go about that and how he would study his scores and learn his music. And so he was so genuine.
ELIOTT RODRIGUEZ: The principal conductor and founder of the Miami Wind Symphony, Brandon loved teaching music as much as performing. He taught at the New World School of the Arts, Miami Dade College, and Homestead High School where he was band director. When he moved on in his career, he never forgot about those he left behind, always pushing his students to be better musicians but, most of all, a better person.
LEE MICHAEL MORRISON: I wouldn't be the man I am today and where I'm at now without Rodester Brandon. So Rodester and I had formed a friendship. He wanted to hire me at Miami Dade College, but it didn't work out, for whatever reason. However, we kept in touch. He started mentoring me because he had a lot more experience and he's an amazing musician and teacher. And then he let me know that his old position at New World School of the Arts had reopened and that I should apply for it. And I didn't think that I was qualified, but he really urged me to apply for that. And I ended up getting that position.
ELIOTT RODRIGUEZ: Friends say Brandon spent hundreds of hours mentoring students, reminding them of their potential but never asking for anything in return.
HIRIAM DIAZ: He kind of was the person who told me I could make a living playing this really interesting instrument and really galvanized a need to be a better musician, a passionate person, passionate for music, passionate for all of my endeavors, and that's just the man that he was.
His legacy will be of an incredible educator, an incredible mentor, but also an incredible friend and someone that you could trust with everything.
ELIOTT RODRIGUEZ: Brandon is survived by his wife, daughter, and granddaughter.