OSS Beginning Band performing at China Night, 2016 – Taken by Julie Weatherston
Music has always been an important component to the Pacifica School District curriculum. Mr. Jerry Downs, the band teacher at Ocean Shore and Ingrid B. Lacy, has taught music in the PSD for 28 years, 14 years at Ocean Shore and IBL. On April 23, 2016, the OSS Beginning Band and the Advanced Band made the annual trek down to Mountain View for the Music in the Parks-Great America Music Festival Competition. This year was a little different, for the first time in the history of the band, the OSS Beginning Band took high honors.
Mr. Downs explained, “This group of beginning students have added another first to the history of the band at Ocean Shore. Now along with 3 Espirit de Corps (top award based on musicianship as well as group spirit) awards, the band also has a top overall (best group at their grade level) achieved at the Music in the Parks Festivals. This wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the example of excellence set by the advanced (7th & 8th grade) band.”
When I asked him what set this group of kids apart, he said, “[They] seem to have an extra something, maybe intensity. They learn quickly and want to be challenged. As all 6th grade students are required to take band, this is not always the case. This year, the ‘positive attitude’ seemed to spread to those who at the start of the year were just going through the motions. Upon hearing that another more advanced group was playing and performing one of the same pieces they were learning, the focus of the group increased, posture immediately corrected itself, and the rehearsal was so serious it was almost scary (in a good way). This band relishes a challenge.”
He added, “They’re already working on music and lessons that are normally associated with the advanced band. I have several of these beginning band students involved with more advanced efforts, performing with the marching band, drumline, and the wind ensemble that competes at festival. At the City of Vallejo Band Festival, those students, along with their seventh and eighth grade classmates, helped the marching band achieve their highest music score ever while taking home the first place award in their division.”
Congratulations to our sixth, seventh and eighth grade band members!! Your hard work has paid off. Also, a hearty THANK YOU to Mr. Downs for his tireless work in providing a rich musical education to our kids.
Photo below by Donna Fentanes