Choral director Steve Eubank's 37 years at Topeka High School ended on a high note Saturday as he conducted one last concert by current and alumni members of the school's Madrigals singing group.

Former students of Eubank's flew in from across the nation to rehearse Saturday morning and afternoon in the school's choir room, then celebrate his legacy by performing an evening concert in the school auditorium.

The gathering drew 140 Madrigals alumni from New York, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado and Kansas, said Jim Ramos, who was in charge of the reunion.

"It's just great that all these folks made all this effort to come," said Eubank, a member of the Kansas Music Educators Hall of Fame who has been Topeka High's choral director from 1976 to 1985 and from 1991 until this year.

Eubank said Saturday had been a great day for him.

"It's just wonderful to think about the legacy that Topeka High music has, and that I was able to be a part of it," he said.

Eubank has worked with more than 7,000 students at the school, according to a GoFundMe page set up to raise money to commission a piece of choral music to be written in honor of his work there.

Retired Washburn Rural High School principal Bill Edwards, a Madrigals alumnus who taught at Topeka High when Eubank started there, said the school was fortunate to have someone with Eubank's knowledge, skills, commitment, enthusiasm "and ability to relate to kids from a variety of backgrounds, like Topeka High has."

"He's just been a marvelous fit for this school," Edwards said.

Madrigals alumni Matthew Reynolds and Kalen Stockton, both of Lawrence, recalled how Eubank instilled in them a passion for music.

Stockton described Eubank as a "force of nature" who sometimes used well-intentioned shouting to try to get the best out of his students.

Reynolds said, "A lot of people don't know this, but he was a football coach, and I think that's part of the reason why choir at Topeka High got so good, because the same type of discipline that he taught football with is how he taught choir."

Stockton chipped in: "We weren't directed. We were coached."

Reynolds said Eubank also had an endearing side, which prompted his students to know him as "Papa Eubank."

"He taught us about so much more than music," Reynolds said. "He taught us about life."