Tune In

Lela Varner, Staff Writer

Duncan McMahan is as close to a choral legend as it gets. As Area Chair, a huge honor in the choir world, a talented accompanist and a dedicated teacher, his skills on the piano gained him the title of The Texas All-State Choir accompanist three years in a row. He taught in Granbury for 32 years before he retired. He even has a wing in Granbury High School named after him, The Bagby-McMahan Performing Arts Center.

Over the many years McMahan has worked there, he says, “The choir has grown into a large program with plenty of notoriety.” His biggest accomplishment in his career is having the privilege of teaching the talented students who attended Granbury High School. Many of them have grown up to be exceptional musicians. The choir program is so big and well known that they had the chance to go on out-of-country trips that most people only dream about.

McMahan has been retired for 10 years, but still stays extremely active in the choral arts taking on long-term choir subbing jobs, accompanying the TMEA All-State Choir concerts, and joining choirs outside of school/work.

“Azle and Granbury are similar in size and ethnicity,” McMahan said.

Under the circumstances, he expected the way that students would react to him and his teaching methods and that they would compare him to Mr. McCartney.

“Some students have taken to me very well,” McMahan said.

He also commented on the choir students aside for a select few treating him well considering the temporary change in directors.

“They are learning to cope with me,” he said, adding that he intends to keep students busy and that he likes to keep to a tight schedule like his own mentor, Kyle Bagby, did. His entire teaching method is based on his mentor’s teaching method and skills.

Having subbed all over the place in Texas and jumping from small choirs to All-State he says it’s not too big of a jump going from a school like Granbury to Azle because both schools are extremely similar.

“The students are a great plus for this school,” McMahan said.

He also commented on how open and kind most students have been to him.

“Even those who aren’t in the choir will come in, expecting to see Mr. McCartney, see me and still stay and talk for a few,” McMahan said.

He also notes that he has a few former students working here at Azle High School, one of them being Head Band Director Aaron Martin.