WHS Band Director Mary Oser Retiring After 33 Years

Retiring Wellington High School Band Director Mary Oser.

After more than three decades on the job, Wellington High School Band Director Mary Oser is retiring at the end of this school year, leaving behind a legacy that includes building one of the strongest, most respected high school band programs in South Florida.

Over the past 33 years, Oser has instructed thousands of talented student musicians. She has conducted student performances from Pearl Harbor at the 2004 National WWII Memorial Dedication to the 2023 London New Year’s Day Parade.

Oser’s dedication and passion toward music and the young people she trains has solidified her legacy.

“Ms. Oser’s influence is felt not just in the notes played or the performances given, but in the lasting bonds she has forged with her students. She has been a source of inspiration, encouragement and support, guiding them through challenges and celebrating their successes with pride,” WHS Principal Cara Hayden said. “The impact on her students has been profound. Through her unwavering commitment to excellence, she has instilled in them not only a love for music but also a sense of discipline, teamwork and perseverance. Her mentorship has not only honed musical talent but has also nurtured character, fostering a spirit of creativity and passion that extends far beyond the classroom.”

Music has always been an important part of Oser’s life. She learned to play the piano at age four, and by five years old, she knew she wanted to become a teacher. With both parents being educators, after graduating from Florida State University, she also became a teacher in 1988 as the assistant band director at Palm Beach Gardens High School. In 1991, she took the helm at WHS and embraced her role as band director.

“It was always a highlight to perform for Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Music was one way we could honor and thank the people who have devoted their lives to serving our country, and patriotic music is always great to perform,” Oser recalled. “Our annual ‘Surround Sound’ spring concerts have also been my favorite events, since they included a wide variety of music and ensembles, and the band students here have been so creative in arranging and performing their own favorite pieces for these concerts.”

Oser is an accomplished musician, primarily playing the piano and bassoon, but she also loves the French horn and played bass drum in the marching band.

“Ms. Oser’s retirement is a significant moment for our school community, one filled with a mix of gratitude, nostalgia and admiration,” Hayden said. “Her 33 years of dedicated service have left an indelible mark on our school, staff and students, shaping the very fabric of our music program and enriching countless lives along the way.”

Oser said that after catching up on sleep and taking a dream trip to Scotland and Ireland, she is looking forward to continuing her work with area bands and as a mentor for young band directors.

“I will miss these students tremendously,” she said. “They made my decision to retire very difficult. But I look forward to hearing about their future musical achievements under the leadership of their new director Mr. [Nickolaus] Hofmann. I know they will continue the great legacy of the Mighty Wolverine Sound.”  

Hofmann, a Palm Beach County native who graduated from the University of Central Florida, is currently the band director at Seminole Ridge High School. He has taught band for eight years and is excited and inspired to follow in Oser’s footsteps.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to grow, and push myself by going to WHS. I want to have the chance to continue the legacy that Ms. Oser has set,” Hofmann said. “She helped me be the best band director at Seminole Ridge High School that I could be. She’s going to be a fantastic resource for all the directors in the area to up their game.”

Hofmann explained that in the niche community of band directors across Florida, everyone knows that Oser is perhaps the best to ever work in their field. She is so respected that the Palm Beach County Band Director’s Association chose her to conduct the ninth and tenth grade all-county band performance at the Kravis Center this year.

“All successful teachers owe thanks to every teacher and principal mentor they’ve encountered in their lives,” Oser said. “I am so grateful to all the Wellington band parents over the past 33 years who volunteered many hours to make sure that the WHS band had everything it needed to be a great band.”

Hayden said that Oser will be more than missed, but also cherished by generations of musicians.

“Overall, Ms. Oser’s contributions to our school community cannot be overstated,” Hayden said. “Her dedication, talent and compassion have left an enduring legacy that will continue to resonate for years to come. As she embarks on this new chapter in her life, we extend our heartfelt gratitude and best wishes for a joyful and fulfilling retirement.”