In September of 1973 I had the good fortune to become the Director of Bands at Pasadena High School in Southern California. That marching band had a tradition of excellence that went clear back to the 1940s. They worked as hard as I could push them to excel and then begged for more. The success we enjoyed took us to Geneva, Switzerland in August of 1975 as the U.S. representative to the Fetes de Geneve. There’s an entry in the 1975 Congressional Journal from the California legislative delegation to commemorate the honor.
One of my music students was a trumpet player named Jim Clark. Both he and his younger brother Jon were performers in the PHS Band. Jim went on to become a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, retiring at the rank of Captain. He recently contacted me after some 39 years and we’ve kept in touch via telephone, e-mail and facebook. Jim is now an extraordinary teacher for the overseas American Armed Forces school system. I’m including a couple of links here that feature his excellent work, both inside and outside the classroom. One is a YouTube news feature story on his remarkable teaching methods and the other is a report from Stars and Stripes about his award as the VFW Pacific Region teacher of the year.
Needless to say, I’ve very proud of Jim’s educational service, and I’m very grateful for his service to our country as a United States Marine. Oorah! Thanks, Captain Clark!