Sunday, November 13, 2011

Family, Friends, Teachers, Community

Larry Maddox, Bob Waner, Mel Smith, me, Jeff Tower, Bob Anderson
The Commodores are currently on a three-week tour of the West Coast. For more information, visit our website.

Going home is always special to me, but yesterday was surreal. I was filled with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for all of the people who have continued to support me and believe in me as I strive to reach for my goals.

After performing at Disneyland the day before and getting to visit with my dear friend from band camp that I hadn't seen in 20 years, my sister drove up from San Diego to pick me up and drive me to our other sister's house. I was able to hang out with my nephews and niece in the morning and eat some authentic southern Californian breakfast burritos!! Yum!! They just don't make 'em like that back east.

Next I headed over to my alma mater, Hemet High School, to give a clinic to the HHS jazz band.
I was met by the band director, Dan Boulton, who I grew up with and played with in band through high school. The students graciously elected to come in on a Saturday morning for a clinic. Dan and I tag-teamed and worked with the students on several songs. It was truly bizarre to be back in the band room with my former classmate rehearsing the band instead of sitting in it!

"It never rains in California!"

Well, unfortunately, every once in awhile it does. We were supposed to play at the historic and beautiful outdoor Ramona Bowl amphitheater. It would have been a perfect back drop to an afternoon jazz concert, but the weather did not cooperate. Thankfully the community rallied together to secure a rain site and we played at the new (a relative term, since anything that has been built in the last 20 years in Hemet is new to me!) West Valley High School.

Spidey and his new Hemet High sweatshirt
As the concert began, my emotions were high. Sitting in front of me was my whole family, many high school friends, band parents and community members who I hadn't seen in years, and all of my band directors from elementary school through high school. Larry Maddox, Bob Anderson, Bob Waner, Mel smith and Jeff Tower. Each one of these gifted teachers left a special mark in my life. Through the years they encouraged me to follow my dreams. They never let on that being a professional musician would be a difficult pursuit. They instilled the belief that hard work, dedication and persistence were the keys to success. They advised us that whatever it is that you feel passionate about, can be achieved with hard work. They also knew how to get the community, band boosters, parents and families involved in the educational process. Not just in molding young students into musicians but more importantly into conscientious citizens who would in turn give back to their communities.

Music is about so much more than I ever dreamed. The opportunity to reach out to people from all over the world and connect in a special way is one of the best things about my job in the Navy. I want to thank everyone who came out to the concert and made it a success as well as all of those hard working band directors, parents, families, and communities who support the arts and make it possible for a girl from the small town of Hemet to pursue her dream of playing trombone all over the world.

On to the next half of the tour. Leaving at dawn for a long drive in our equipment truck up to Monterey, Calif., with fellow trombonist Matt Neff. It's always an adventure! Gotta love it!

Musician 1st Class Jen Krupa plays trombone and is the leading petty officer of the Commodores.


Linda K said...

Great blog. Thanks to the band for an awesome afternoon of music and fun. A memorable day that was enjoyed by so many people in our community.
Linda Krupa
Jen Krupa's mom

Marc McCall said...

Maddox.. Anderson... Mel Smith... Towers... I can't believe I am seeing them all in this photo

Wow, memories! Mr Smith's coffee cup... going to disneyland with band members with Mr Anderson... Saxophone lessons with maddox...
9 years of music instruction at what was at the time the best public school music program in the US. Hemet was a great place to grow up in the 80s :)

Marc McCall said...

I cant believe i found a photo of all my music teachers while growing up!


maddox, anderson, smith, towers... best public school music program in the country. God, I loved growing up in Hemet in the 80s :) Such a different place than it is now

Man.. I would love to say thankyou to these guys, like you, they made a huge impact in my life.

Thanks for the pic and for your service!

Best regards,

Marc McCall - HH class of '88