Under the direction of James Sepulvado, associate director of music at PLHS, and music teacher Melissa Simmons, the evening of music was performed by the school’s 67-member concert band, a smaller symphonic winds section and for the first time “in a long, long time,” said Simmons, a separate string orchestra. The orchestra was made up of 16 students. Thirteen of the evening’s performers were members of the District Honor Orchestra or honor band and 16 of the students will be graduating June 15 with the class of 2009.
The event was held at Point Loma Nazarene University’s Crill Hall.
The concert and fundraiser also honored Dell Schroeder, a local musician, teacher and founder of Band at the Beach, whose lifelong dedication to music was instrumental in the resurgence of the music program in Point Loma’s schools after the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, all but eliminated the music programs.
PLHS Principal Bobbie Samilson presented a proclamation from the San Diego City Council that night, declaring May 29 Dell Schroeder Day in San Diego. As Samilson did, Schroeder had in her pockets two souvenirs — a newspaper clipping from the Sept. 6, 1992 Union-Tribune titled “Strike out the band - Elementary schools lose instrumental instruction” illustrated by instruments in a trash, and a rusty double-headed faucet from car washes she participated in over the years to raise money for local music programs.
“Dell gives the gift of melody, harmony and rhythm” to students, said Shawn Loescher, a former PLHS drum major, who gave a tribute to Schroeder during the event. This summer, for the 21st year, Schroeder will teach Band at the Beach and summer music camp from Aug. 3-7 at Correia Junior High School.
Louise Lucas, who served as mistress of ceremonies for the event, thanked the audience of mostly band members’ parents and boosters for their support.
“The audience is just as important as the band,” Lucas said, because “without which there would not be a concert.”
Keynote speaker and guest soloist was trumpeter John Wilds, an accomplished musician and teacher who is currently the principal trumpet of the San Diego Chamber Orchestra and the San Diego Opera. Wilds touted the PLHS band as “first class” because the students were “focused, devoted and willing to put in the extra time,” which, he said, “speaks highly of the community.”
Wilds said the band’s accomplishments were significant and went beyond the application of digital technology for garage bands and transcended history with “students bringing 19th century work into the 21st century.”
Plans are under way to convert a vacant 2,500-square-foot building at PLHS into a state-of the-art music center.
The building will provide a facility to accommodate the PLHS choir, concert and marching bands, and the all-city honor band, according to members of the PLHS Foundation.
The center will “also enable the development of a symphony orchestra, and provide capabilities for the recording and production of digital music for students and community members,” reads the foundation’s website
The center is being made possible by a partnership between the PLHS Foundation, PLHS and the San Diego Unified School District.
For more information on Band at the each, visit www.bandatthebeach.org.
For more information about the proposed PLHS music center, visit www.plhsfaa.org.