“The Man is a Saint”

“Every one of our four children was fortunate to have had the influence of Dennis Pratt in their lives. My husband and I would always exchange a look at our kids’ junior high concerts—and say, “The man is a saint.” He took every child seriously, introducing them to their instruments, to written music, the concepts of practice and musical unity and performance—a man of great love and patience. He knew every child in every band by name—something that didn’t always happen on the high school level—and worked with them carefully. When my daughter wanted to change from playing her father’s clarinet to her mother’s flute in the middle of the year, he gave her a chance to do that. He recognized her talent and allowed her every chance to grow and learn. In the end, in her freshman year of college, she sat First Alto Sax in Synthesis, BYU’s premier jazz band—and much of the confidence and passion for music that got her there started under Mr. Pratt’s tutelage. “I have always been impressed with his ability to respond to the need of the family and the student. Some professional educators seem unable to leave protocols, making the system more important than the learner. This was never the case with Mr. Pratt. A man of thought and perception, he could run an entire junior high smoothly while serving the individual needs of engaged and unusual students. We respected him. Trusted him. Enjoyed our interactions with him. But most of all, we are grateful for the growth in both talent and discipline that our children achieved under his influence. This is a good man who loves kids and knows how to teach them. It was an honor for us to trust our kids to him.”