Gary Ciulla, 62, a music teacher and band director for the Medina Schools for 35 years, died Thursday.
He retired as band director in
May 2015 and was replaced by Jason Locher.
Ciulla received the Medina City Schools Distinguished Service Award in honor of his 35 years with the district. He went on to become the band director at Ashland University before stepping down in 2017.
Many reached out on social media to express their feelings about Ciulla’s passing. The Brunswick High School Twitter page tagged the Musical Bees in a post saying, “Our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters in the @Musical_Bees and their teachers and staff.”
The Medina Musical Bees was using the hashtag #RIPMRC on Twitter.
“Mr. C was one of the most influential persons in my life,” John Blasko said on the Musical Bees’ website. “I wouldn’t be here without him. He’ll be missed but never forgotten by all the people he inspired and made better.”
A spokesperson said the district sends its sincere condolences to the Ciulla family.
When his retirement was announced, there was an effort for the school district to change its practice and rehire Ciulla. Parents and students sang his praises during a special comment session.
“Our band class is much more than learning how to play an instrument. Mr. Ciulla teaches us to love our instruments,” said Jim Fox, a then sixth-grader who played the trombone in the sixth-grade band.
“When he teaches, he really puts his whole heart into it and that makes me want to put my whole heart into it.”
The board ultimately decided to not change its practice.