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.
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.
“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”
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:http://chng.it/HBfFdrYZ
Also, check out the links below for additional ways in which you can support the visual and performing arts at Tech and throughout OUSD.
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.
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.
The Music Department came together one more time to create a version of the Pointer Sisters’ Yes We Can Can, by Allen Toussaint, and the participation of students from Jazz Band, Orchestra and Choir .
After the cancellation of many of the years usual performances due to COVID-19. Our students came together one more time. We want to thank Mr. Allen for assembling and putting this performance together from providing arrangements, to coordinating students, and the innumerable hours of assembly required for this video. Thank you!
The music department’s virtual performance of “Yes We Can Can” will be part of the graduation video productioning streaming at 6:00 pm Wednesday evening. (tomorrow 5/27). A cool coincidence – one of the celebrities speaking during the graduation is Anita Pointer, of the Pointer Sisters! (You can’t plan this stuff, sometimes it just happens!)
Other contributions from the music department will include Emile Serper’s terrific cello ensemble production of “Eleanor Rigby” and Tyler Jeung’s piano performance of “Pomp and Circumstance.”
During this time of social separation for the good of the community, many future performances have been cancelled across the school district and this affected our students participating in Muse VIVO! Their March 24th forthcoming final concert was also cancelled.
So, on March 12th, they came to gether at their thrusday afternoon for one last rehearsal. We captured them performing for eachother and in making music together perhaps provide some solice in music in a time of great uncertainty.
We want to thank Ms. Beth Vanervennet, Ms. Stephanie Holmes, and Ms. Linda Green our stalwath leaders for providing this year’s musical selections that have elevated our students’ musical skills, self confidence and leadership yet again, and for their continued support and enrichment of our music students accross the the district.
To next year!
Please enjoy the videos captured at the links below:
According to a directive issued by the district this afternoon there cannot be any off-site fundraising events until after spring break. Because of this we will have to postpone our event at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle that was scheduled for Friday, March 13.
We hope to reschedule the event in late April or May. All tickets sold so far will be honored at that time. If we are not able to reschedule, we will refund patrons for tickets already purchased.
Oakland Technical High School
The music department’s annual fundraising event is quickly approaching on 3/13, please join us. This year we want to provide support for our future and the expansion of the program, and in that vain are raising money for new music storage lockers. Please consider joining us in supporting the performing arts at Tech, and in particular the Music Department.
On March 04, the OUSD Orchestra Festival took place at Roosevelt Middle School. Nine schools, six choirs over 400 student musicians from both High Schools and Middle Schools across the district participated at the festival. After a pre-performance rehearsal of the all-student pieces, under the baton of Maestro Michael Morgan of the Oakland Symphony, the students were provided with dinner.
The Oakland Tech orchestra, this year 30 musicians strong, performed the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofe, arranged by Douglas E. Wagner. We also have several musicians that joined the MUSE VIVO Orchestra for their rendition of Hungarian Dances of Bela Bartock. And, finally, our musicians joined the the OUSD Grand Orchestra and Choirs for a beautiful rendition of Glory – arranged by Mr. Allen – and, Ode to Joy, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
We want to thank Roosevelt MS for, once again hosting our schools for this yearly festival and showcase our students’ talents; Maestro Morgan and the Oakland Symphony for supporting music education in OUSD; The VIVO orchestra mentors; Mr. Allen for working with our students and re-establishing a strong and thriving music program at Tech, and all the parents that support our music programs throughout the district and at Oakland Tech.
On Sunday, February 16th, our Oakland Tech students that participate in Muse VIVO – the city-wide program for orchestra sponsored and supported by Oakland Symphony – joined the Oakland Youth Orchestra, under the direction of Omid Zoufonoun, the principal conductor for the Oakland Youth Orchestra. The students from Oakland Tech are: George Kong (Viola), Tiffany Le (Violin 1), Timothy Mai (Viola).
This is the third year in a row that Oakland Symphony has provided opportunities for these musicians to participate in side-by-side performances. The combined orchestras provided a moving and energetic performance of Arturo Marquez’ Danzon No.2
The Muse VIVO orchestra is composed of students from Oakland schools and are under the extraordinary batons of Ms. Stephanie Holmes (Edna Brewer MS), Ms. Beth Vandervennet (Oakland Symphony), and Ms. Linda Green (Thornhill Elementary).
The Muse VIVO orchestra will be performing at the Orchestra Festival on March 4th, and at their concert at Oakland High School on March 24th. Come listen and support the work of these wonderful young musicians.
The performance below was generously provided by Pascal St Gerard, Muse VIVO parent.