Music – Tech Clarinetist Performs with Local Group

In early March 2020 the RTSO – a  local amateur string group – was asked to join in a side-by-side performance the Tech’s Orchestra for their Spring Recital, adding their strings to ours.  Mr Allen, our recently retired Music Director, invited Zoe King, an accomplished clarinetist in the Jazz Band and a member of the Oakland Youth Orchestra and OEA Jazz Group, to perform as a soloist the Clarinet Concerto No. 3 from Karl Stamitz.  Students and adults were excited for the up coming combined performance, and were looking forward to the April Spring Recital.

Then, came COVID-19. And, everything changed.

As early Spring turned into Summer the RTSO reached out to Zoe and asked if she was still interested in playing the piece. She was!
We recorded this piece on August 2nd in the RTSO’s conductor, David Morris’ garden, along with members of RTSO that wanted to send in their own singular recordings and assembled as part of a larger video meant to be shared with Senior Residences around Oakland – you can see the recently released entire video at this link.

Here is the extract of Zoe’s performance:

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Opportunities – Youth Arts Contest

Imagine a celebrity performing your original song, dance, or writing!
On October 24, Arts for Oakland Kids will be hosting an online Made In Oakland Variety Show.
Celebrities and dignitaries will be performing original works created by Oakland students.
From July 14-August 10 we are holding a contest to find the original works that the celebrities will perform!

Contest details, information on prizes, and a link to the submission form are included below.
All submissions are due online by August 10, 2020 before midnight.
Proceeds from the variety show will fund grants to Bay Area arts organizations and teaching artists who provide arts education in Oakland’s schools.

If you are Oakland student aged 4-18, or you know a youth artist that might like to participate, please see below and share this information
We can’t wait to see all of your brilliant works!

Music – We Stand Together Event

This Thursday – 7/23/2020 – rising 11th graders and Oakland Tech Jazz Band members, Johnny Kaster, Benjamin Ard, Malcolm Best and Jack Riley will join Sheila E., Stevie Wonder Michael Franti, Angela Davis, Damian Lillard and other musicians and celebrities for a virtual benefit concert to raise money for Black Lives Matter, YP Media and Elevate Oakland.  

Link for more details and full line up:


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Music – New Instrument lockers!!

The New Music Lockers project was completed yesterday 6/25/2020.  This was a last upgrade we’ve been planning all year with Mr. Allen. We want to extend a great thank you to Mr. Allen, for staying and seeing this project through to the very end, including off-loading lockers, from the truck, painting the room, and installation!

Additional thank you to  the Jazz combos for their fundraising performance at Grand Lake Farmers Market and the parents that supported students during the fundraiser.  Abby Kaster, Cecile Chenevey, Christy Getz, Jessica Grey  helped the project with funding strategies, reaching out to various persons within the district and the OT PTSA and joined by Susy Hovland, who coordinated the project with Buildings and Grounds and Tech staff.  Once the lockers were ordered and arrived, off-loading helping hands were provided  by installation helpers Nick Hopkinson, Nathan Nakadegawa-Lee and Isamu Ishimaru Garcia.  And finally, Bret Harte music teacher Duane Worm who came over and helped Mr. Allen extensively with final assembly and earthquake bracing. 

We want to thank Mark Cavalli from Buildings and Grounds for providing the demolition, wall and floor patching  and the painting materials necessary to complete the work, and Ms. Pamila Henderson from Facilities, and Mr. Fairly.


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Performing and Visual Arts – A call for parents and community support

“We must come face-to-face with this new reality and prepare plans for how we intend to open our schools and what arts education – visual and performing arts – will look like.”
“Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is inherent in the arts, but it needs to be activated, [..] and intentional to have an impact”

[Our New Reality-Bob Morrison]

To that end we want to share a number of resources to help parents in their advocacy and support for our programs at Oakland Tech, so that they continue to fulfill our students needs and as programs they will continue to thrive and provide the enrichment needed for generations to come despite this pandemic. Our teachers have adapted their skills and courses on a dime this past spring to teach our children in  a different manner.  Let us all support them, in turn, and lend our voices to ask that the district not devalue their importance of these enrichment classes, albeit in a transformed  format, yet still providing all the educational benefits to our students, as they have always done and more.  Visual and performance arts have shown in repeated studies that they are the conduits through which effective Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) can be brought to the classrooms. And, all students will be in need of robust SEL our arts visual and performing arts are uniquely positioned to fulfill this need.

As a first action, please consider signing this petition to ask our district administrators not to neglect or overlook the visual and performing arts in their future plans: 

Also, check out the links below for additional ways in which you can support the visual and performing arts at Tech and throughout OUSD.


Drama and performances provide and improve:

  • academic performance
  • outperform non-art peers on academic testing
  • attendance and school culture
  • reading comprehension
  • building self-esteem
  • bridging the achievement gap

“The statistics from […] studies […] show that most of the public feels the performing arts play a significant role in our culture and communities and are important to America’s youth.”      [Benefits of Theater Education – American Alliance for Theater Education]
 For more information on advocacy of Theater Arts  check the American Alliance for Theater Education


Dance instruction provides:

  • Improved student achievement
  • Improved school culture
  • Teacher satisfaction

Additional information available at Advancing Dance Education in the Arts.


Music instruction is well suited to provide SEL to our students: 

For additional information please go to these links: 


Music – We Want to Welcome Tech’s new music Director

John Harrington has been a music educator in California for twenty years.He began playing trumpet at nine years old, earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music from California State University Fullerton, and has performed, recorded, and toured with a wide array of musical styles and groups.

Since 2008, Mr. Harrington has made his home in the Bay Area, raising a family while continuing to perform, record and teach music in OUSD at Redwood Heights Elementary School, Grass Valley Elementary School, and the OUSD Summer Jazz Camp. He has performed with Big O (OUSD Music Teacher Big Band) the SFJazz Monday Night Band, Stop Time, and Orbital Quintet. His latest project, Orbital Quintet Vol. 2, was recorded at the famed Fantasy Studios in Berkeley and released in 2018.

Mr. Harrington’s consistent dedication to music education, performance, and recording artistry have been his life’s work, and he looks forward to continuing to build the program and helping students at Oakland Tech achieve their educational goals.

Welcome Mr. Herrington to the Oakland Tech Music program.

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Music – A Fond Farewell to Mr. Allen

We want to bid a fond farewell to Mr. Allen, our Oakland Tech Music Director.

After leading the Skyline Music Department, Mr. Allen arrived at Tech in 2016, and joined Ms. Jack as the second member of the music faculty. During his tenure at Oakland Tech, Mr. Allen has worked to rebuild the department. He has brought the Jazz department to the prestigious Monterey and Reno Jazz festivals in 2018 and 2019, and has brought home accolades from these venues (2nd place Reno, 2019). He has also worked to rebuild a full orchestra which this year boasted 30+ students. And, has joined Oakland Tech to the choirs renaissance that Oakland schools enjoyed this year, but were prematurely cut from performing due to COVID-19.

Mr. Allen is a prestigious composer and arranger and those skills have benefited the OT music department with new arrangements and compositions that his students were able to debut, including our latest addition Yes We Can Can arrangement for the virtual concert. He brought to the classroom his dry sense of humor and chill demeanor along with his years of experience;  his ability to compose and provide arrangements for the most disparate and unconventional instrumentations. His persistent and unwavering dedication to music education, performance, and recording artistry have been his life’s work. He sought to connect and collaborate with fellow musicians within the district and outside of the educational environment fostering for the benefit of his students.  This year, the choir collaboration between himself and Adam Green, director of Music at Skyline and a former alumni of Mr. Allen, and the OT and Skyline choirs.

We want to thank Mr. Allen for everything he has brought to Oakland Tech’s Music Department. For his efforts in rebuilding this program. We want to wish him a wonderful and well deserved retirement with plenty of health, travels and musical explorations or wherever his next endeavors will take him be they musical or otherwise.

Thank you Mr. Allen.