This is the second Hyllningsfest without Jay Steinberg, who died in May, 2015, after a grinding battle with cancer. A round, elfin-like man with the energy of Captain America, Jay taught music in the Smoky Valley Schools for decades. In fact, Jay was music for the schools, for the community, for Hyllningsfest, and was much a part of performances of the Men’s Choir.
Less is more, Jay always seemed to say, or play, putting woodwind to a perfect accent for, say, the choir’s soft baritone, polishing like a soft cloth, bringing luster to a chord, a movement.
He was originally from New Jersey, landed here more than 40 years ago and never left. Steinberg had been dean of the Smoky Valley Schools music faculty and an instructor at Lindsborg Middle School and Smoky Valley High School. He also taught at Wichita State.
At Hyllningsfest time, he was up with the sun and the town knew it as the band members, in practice mode, marched up the streets, Steinberg at the students’ side, shouting above the drums, checking the lines, checking the lines again, and when the band began to play, Steinberg would step away and slightly back, still marching, as the students strutted crisply ahead of him. He wanted them in front. He wanted them and their music to be noticed first, and always.
When those youngsters come marching this year, give them a wave – and a thought to Jay.