Arrested Teacher Deyshia Hargrave is a Chalkboard Champion

Like many others, I was horrified by the news report of a Louisiana teacher who was removed from a school board meeting and subsequently arrested earlier this week for merely questioning a proposal to give a new contract with a pay raise to the superintendent. The teacher, Deyshia Hargrave, teaches Language Arts at Rene A. Rost Middle School in Kaplan, in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana.

“I have a serious issue with a superintendent or any person in a position of leadership getting any type of raise,” the teacher told her school board. “I feel like it’s a slap in the face for the teachers, the cafeteria workers or any other support staff we have.” When the school board objected to Deyshia’s comments and called the marshal to escort her from the room, the teacher voluntarily left. But in the hallway, the marshal put her under arrest and handcuffed her. The action shocked those in attendance at the meeting, many of whom had been expressing support for the courageous teacher.

The Times-Picayne reported that the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana (ACLU) is concerned about the arrest. “Deyshia Hargrave’s expulsion from a public meeting and subsequent arrest are unacceptable and raise serious constitutional concerns,” the news outlet quoted from an email sent to them by the organization (see Times-Picayune).

As a biographer of America’s chalkboard champions, I have often asked questions about what teachers can do in highly charged social or political situations. I have written about many examples of teachers who have gone above and beyond to support causes of importance, sometimes at their own peril. In this case, the teacher was merely exercising her Constitutional rights. She was doing this is a respectful manner at an open community meeting. No wonder the onlookers were shocked, and the ACLU is concerned, for if educators are expected to instruct our students about the workings of a democratic society, they must not be punished when they themselves participate in the democratic process. The school board, and the marshal, owe this particular chalkboard champion a huge apology

To read more and view videos about this incident, click on this link by NBC News: Louisiana Teacher Handcuffed, Arrested.

Honoring Talented High School Band Directors who Appeared in the New Year’s Day Rose Parade

In today’s blog post you can read more about the talented and dedicated band teachers who directed their students in this year’s New Year’s Day Rose Parade.

With appearances at five Disney theme parks and on five continents, the Pennsbury High School “Long Orange Line” Marching Band (above) hails from Fairless Hills, Pensylvania. The group was led by Band Director Mr. Frank Mazzeo. Frank earned his bachelors’s degree in music education from West Chester University and his master’s degree in music performance from Temple University. He has been a teacher in the Pennsbury School District since 1986. While there, he has implemented a 4-12 curriculum, initiated such programs as Pennsbury Community Band, the Symphonic Winds Soloist Competition, the Pennsbury Bands Festival at the Kimmel Center and Trenton War Memorial, the All Pennsbury Elementary Festival, the Pennsbury Middle School Honors Festival, the Pennsbury Summer Music Program, the Pennsbury Symphonic Orchestra, and the Pennsbury Symphony Orchestra.

Also traveling to Pasadena to appear in this year’s event was the Ronald Reagan High School Band (above) from San Antonio, Texas, led by Band Director Mr. Dan Morrison. Dan graduated from the University of Illinois with both his bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music education. Impressively, he has garnered the Daniel J. Perrino School of Music Award for excellence in music education. The 300-member group from Reagan High School includes performing arts students pulled from color guard, choir, and dance classes, and outstanding musicians playing brass, woodwind, percussion, and orchestral instruments.

Making another appearance in this year’s Rose Parade was made by the Bands of Santiago Sharks (“BOSS”) (above) of Santiago High School, hailing from Corona, California. Two dedicated educators share the task of directing this impressive group. The first is Mr. Kris Parish. Kris earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Oral Roberts Uni­ver­sity in 1980, and his master’s in secondary education from Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity, San Bernardino, in 1985. Mr. Parish has served his entire  38-year teach­ing career in the Corona-Norco Uni­fied School Dis­trict. The other co-director is Mr. Joe Dudek. Joe graduated from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in music education. He returned to CSUF to complete his master’s degree in instrumental music conducting in 1996. The BOSS is comprised of four large concert bands, three full jazz bands, a number of jazz combos and chamber ensembles, a drum-line, and an award-winning color guard.

Hailing from Saratoga Springs, Utah, was the Westlake High School Marching Thunder (above). This group was led by Mr. Brek Mangelson, Director of Bands. Brek  Mr. Mangelson earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Brigham Young University in 2006. In 2015, he completed the requirements for his master’s degree in instrumental conducting from the University of Utah. Westlake’s band was founded with just 40 members in 2009. This talented group has grown to over 170 members today. The Westlake Band is a two-time Utah State Marching Band Champion, and has been named a Bands of America regional finalist six times, while their color guard currently reigns as Utah Winter Guard State Champions.

Learn more about all the wonderful performers, participants, and floats,  featured in this year’s Rose Parade at this link: Rose Parade 2018 Lineup.

As Promised, More Great Band Teachers from this Year’s Rose Parade

Yesterday I described some truly great band directors who led their students in this year’s Rose Parade. There are so many of them, I couldn’t fit them all in one post. Here are some more.

An annual favorite since 1972, the Los Angeles All District High School Honor Band, directed by Mr. Anthony White, made its annual appearance in the Rose Parade. Pulled from all high schools in the LA Unified School District, these 250 or so young musicians are known for their energetic marching style, powerful brass and percussion sound, and for playing contemporary selections. Anthony, who is also a professional jazz musician, graduated from UC Riverside in Riverside, California, and earned his teaching credential at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, California.

The 215 members of the Lindbergh High School “Spirit of St. Louis” Marching Band traveled from St. Louis, Missouri, to make their school’s third appearance in the annual Rose Parade. This hardworking group of young people was led by Band Director Mr. David Wyss. David earned his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 2000, and his master’s in education from Southwest Baptist University in 2009. The Lindbergh students dedicated this year’s performance to their previous beloved band director, Mr. Bob Spiegelman, who passed away from lymphoma in 2011.

Also participating in the event was the 265-member Londonderry High School Marching Band and Color Guard hailing from Londonderry, New Hampshire. These stellar student musicians were led by Music Director Mr. Andy Soucy, a graduate of Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire. This is the school’s fifth appearance in the Rose Parade, and under Andy’s leadership, the group has also played on the Great Wall of China in 2008 during the Beijing Olympics, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York, and both inaugurations of President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.

Band Director Mr. John Cisetti directed the Louisburg High School Marching Wildcat Band from Louisburg, Kansas, in their first appearance in the Rose Parade. This dedicated educator, who has led the Marching Wildcat Band for the past 39 years, attended the University of Missouri at Kansas City Conservatory of Music where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music education, his master’s degree, and a degree as an educational specialist. Louisburg High sent 189 talented student musicians to Pasadena this year.

In tomorrow’s blog read the final installment of this year’s list of wonderful band directors who led their students in the 2018 Rose Parade! Learn more about all the wonderful performers, participants, and floats,  featured in this year’s Rose Parade at this link: Rose Parade 2018 Lineup.


Some of the Talented Band Directors who Led their Students in this Year’s Rose Parade

Another fabulous New Year’s Day Rose Parade has come and gone, and once again, I was completely impressed by the caliber of the musicianship displayed by our nation’s high school students, under the direction of some very talented professional band directors. Here are some of this year’s participants, listed in alphabetical order.

Leading the Air Academy High School Marching Band from Colorado Springs, Colorado, was Director of Bands Mr. Stoney Black. Stoney earned his bachelor’s degree in Percussion Performance from Colorado’s Adams State College in 1994. In 1998, he earned a second bachelor’s in Music Education from Metropolitan State College in Denver, and he completed his master’s in conducting from the American Band College at Southern Oregon University in 2007. The Air Academy’s stellar band program, originally founded in 1957 with only 20 members, has grown to nearly 200 members today. This amazing group of young people has been recognized as Colorado State band champions ten times within the last two decades. The most amazing thing about them is that all Air Academy students are allowed to join the band without having to go through an audition, even if they have had no previous musical training.

Nearly 300 students who form the Albertville High School Aggie Band from Albertville, Alabama, also traveled all the way to Pasadena for the New Year’s Day event. This impressive group of musicians, color guard members, and dance line participants were led by Mr. Chris Lindley, who has been their band director for the past 21 years. Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in music education at Jacksonville State University in 1996 and his master’s from the University of Alabama in 2004. Assisting Chris is Mr. Taylor Cash, a graduate of Jacksonville State University and Boston University with both a bachelor’s and a master’s in music education. Also assisting Chris is Missy Lindley, who earned her bachelor’s in music education from the University of North Alabama.

Also appearing in this year’s New Year’s Day Rose Parade was the Homestead High School Mighty Mustang Marching Band hailing from Cupertino, California, located about 40 miles south of San Francisco. This impressive group of student musicians was led by co-band directors Mr. John Burn, Music Department Curriculum Leader, and Mr. Eric Weingartner, music instructor.

Tomorrow I will write about some of the other dedicated and talented educators who led bands in this year’s parade. Learn more about all the wonderful performers, participants, and floats, featured in this year’s Rose Parade at this link: Rose Parade 2018 Lineup.