A free concert will be this weekend as a tribute to one of the area's finest musicians.
Kanawha Valley Community Band and Mountain State Brass Band will present the Robert Leighty Memorial Concert 3 p.m. Sunday at Scottish Rite Temple, 406 Capitol St. in Charleston.
Robert Michael Leighty died Aug. 14 at his South Charleston home at age 74. He was a retired music educator for Kanawha County Schools. During his teaching career, he served as band director for Herbert Hoover High School and itinerant music teacher for elementary schools in the South Charleston area.
During his 44-year career as a professional musician, he played with Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Accents and River City Jazz Band. He also sang with Kanawha Kordsmen. In 1998, he was among founders of Mountain State Brass Band. In 2004, he became director of Kanawha Valley Community Band.
Greta Carpenter Leighty, his wife of 30 years, said her husband always loved music.
He grew up in St. Albans and was influenced by his father, who was once band director at St. Albans High School. He bought his first drum set with money he saved from a paper route. He played drums for St. Albans High and Marshall University.
Greta Leighty will be playing clarinet in the concert on Sunday. She had stopped playing the instrument after high school but took it back up nearly two years ago.
"Bob encouraged me," she said. "I am playing his Daddy's clarinet. He started me on private lessons each week. This will be my second season with the community band."
Aside from a love for music, she and her husband also enjoyed gardening and spending time with family, including three grandchildren ages 5, 3 and 1. She said he was a wonderful stepfather to her son from a previous marriage, Robert Russo.