Two popular Grand Junction educators, Travis and Angie Swanson, will be leaving the valley to pursue new career adventures. The couple, both music educators, recently announced their decision to accept an opportunity out of state.

Travis, who teaches at Orchard Mesa Middle School, and Angie, Band Director at Grand Mesa Middle School, will be leaving at the end of the academic year to follow their hearts to new adventures in Big Piney, Wyoming.

The couple made the announcement of their departure during last week's rehearsal with the Western Colorado Jazz Orchestra.

Earlier today, Travis Swanson sent out this very touching letter. In it, he shares his pride in the accomplishments of his students over the course of his tenure in Grand Junction.

Dear Orchard Mesa Family, When I became the Director of Bands in 2005, I had high expectations for the students and our program. After looking back, I well up with pride and excitement about the level of quality and passion we have for music.


I knew we would have excellence, but there are two things that amaze me about my experience here:


1. What my students have taught me, and because of my students the past 11 years; I am a better teacher, musician, and especially a better person. I know I have been able to impart my wisdom to many a student, but it is truly them that have taught me. I am full, rich, and inspired because of them. I know that sounds a bit cliché, but the more I teach, the more the students teach me.


2. Above all: The relationships that have been forged between students, between parents and me, and the special bond between my students and me. I am humbled and honored to know and be a part of their lives. Life is short and precious, and I have enjoyed watching each and every student mature into amazing humans. Every performance we have had has renewed my faith in humanity. Over the past 11 years, we have received over 60 superior ratings, eight exemplary band awards, and an appearance at CMEA. I am amazed at the commitment, dedication and love our students have for music.


With this being said, I have been called to a new chapter in life. I have accepted a position in Big Piney, Wyoming. My wife, Angie, and I made this decision to move closer to her family, start a family of our own, and to follow where we believe we are called.


It is a 5-12 Grade Band position in a small town. The facilities are amazing, with a fine arts center and a brand new 550 seat auditorium and two band rooms.


From talking to former and current teachers of the district; it is an amazing place to work. The area is 80 or so miles south of Jackson Hole. Surrounded by beautiful country. One of the current teachers told us that once you move, you’ll never leave…hopefully not in the “Hotel California” sense.


Everyone has been asking what my wife will do; she will help me with my program and sub, or until something opens up (baby Swanson or teaching job) in the Big Piney School District.


Although we are excited to start our new chapter, we are saddened at moving away from such a great place. My wife and I cannot Thank You all enough for the amazing experiences you have given us; it has and will continue to shape who we are and in our endeavors in teaching.


I encourage all members to continue playing for the love of music. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for the best experience I could have asked for. I will always be an OMMS Knight at heart. God Bless."

- Mr. Swanson

Both Travis and Angie Swanson will perform with the Western Colorado Jazz Orchestra on Friday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m., at 'A Taste Heaven Catering' at 2817 North Avenue.

Grand Junction will certainly miss you both. Thank you for your service and dedication to our young music students, and good luck with your new adventure.