Mr. Hess began his musical studies at the age of ten while attending Winnebago Grade School in Winnebago, Illinois. During his school years, Mr. Hess was involved in the Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Pep Band, and pit orchestra. Additionally, Mr. Hess served as the principal trumpet for the Rockford Area Youth Symphony. Mr. Hess sharpened his musical marching skills as a member of the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps.
After high school, Mr. Hess enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was assigned basic training at the Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. Upon completion of boot camp, Mr. Hess completed basic music training and was assigned as a trumpet player with the Quantico Marine Band in Quantico, Virginia. The next tour sent Mr. Hess to the Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia where he graduated from the Intermediate course of instruction and was assigned as a faculty member at the school.
During his tenure at the school, Mr. Hess taught classroom theory and ear training as well as studio trumpet. During his first year of instruction, Corporal Hess was awarded the William O. Florstedt award for instructional excellence. Mr. Hess was next sent to Okinawa, Japan for a one-year tour as a trumpeter player in the III Marine Division Band. Mr. Hess’s final tour was with the IV Marine Division Band in New Orleans, Louisiana. During his final tour, Mr. Hess was selected as the Marine of the Year for both the IV Marine Reserve Force and the Navy League of New Orleans. His personal decorations include the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal (third award), and the National Defense Service Medal.
After over 11 years of faithful service in the Corps, Mr. Hess separated and attended the University of Illinois earning a B. S. in Music Education. His first teaching experience was with the Atwood-Hammond School district. During his tenure, the High School band enjoyed over 400% growth.
Mr. Hess is currently the Director of Instrumental Music for Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School, Paxton, Illinois. He also serves as the Post Commander of the American Legion Prairie Post #150 Paxton and serves as treasurer for the local chapter of the American Legion Riders. On weekends, Mr. Hess becomes SSgt Hess and serves with the Air National Guard Band of the Midwest. Mr. Hess is married to the former Barbara Walters of Neligh, Nebraska and has four daughters: Catherine, Christina, Tabitha, and Jennifer.
Really Funny Richard...
Mrs. Nuss is the head director for the Cougar Jr. High bands. She came to Paxton in 1984. Mrs. Nuss has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Illinois……(GO ILLINI!) Mrs. Nuss began her teaching career in Forreston, Illinois in 1982. After coming to Paxton, she spent one year as assistant director, then became head of the Unit band program for grades 5 through12. From 1985 through 1996, Mrs. Nuss directed the beginning band and high school bands here in Paxton. In the fall of 1996, Mrs. Nuss came to the Jr. High to head up the Cougar program. Mrs. Nuss is a woodwind specialist having majored in saxophone while at the University of Illinois.