The M-A music program held a potluck for parents and students in the PAC on Monday to talk, enjoy food, and welcome new band director William Flaherty.
Arriving families set out a variety of homemade foods and baked goods on an outdoor table near the band room. Mac & cheese, salad, donuts, and ice cream quickly crowded the table.
Flaherty exchanged greetings with parents and students who were excited to meet the successor of Kent Kurrus.
“The school’s got a good music program with a lot of potential,” Flaherty said in an earlier interview. “There’s a lot of talent, for sure.”
Flaherty remains optimistic through the stress of moving to the Bay Area and starting a new job. He said, “I feel a bit like a chicken with my head cut off, just running around trying to get this and that done, but M-A is really nice. There seems to be a tight-knit community, and the students have all been very helpful and diligent in preparing their music.”
Flaherty was previously the band director at El Segundo High School in Los Angeles. Before that, he traveled across the world and taught music abroad in southern India. “I taught at a small private boarding school at the top of a mountain. It was a beautiful location that just happened to have a huge music program. It was kind of crazy,” he said.
Flaherty’s favorite musical genre is jazz. “When I was a senior in high school, I was just driving my car around with the radio turned on, and Miles Davis’ ‘All Blues’ came on. Something about it just spoke to me on a deeper level,” he said.
Nonetheless, he enjoys the musical gusto of every M-A group. “I like the wide-eyed energy of the freshmen in Advanced Band and the serious mindset and musical devotion of the Orchestra,” he said. “I also like the vibes of the top jazz band, and the second jazz band is very fresh and open to possibilities.”
Flaherty shared his hopes for the school’s music program. “I want everyone to enjoy the experience of making music, achieve high standards of excellence, and feel like they belong in a musical family,” he said.
Sophomore Katie Cueva, who plays viola for the Orchestra, said, “We’re only a week in, so I think he’s still getting to know all of the musicians and the bands, but I’m excited to see where it’s gonna go. We’ve already made great progress.”
Students are especially excited for new opportunities to display their musical talents outside of the classroom. Sophomore and Jazz I singer Kealy Bryman said, “He’s a really good teacher. I also think that he’s going to provide us with more opportunities because he’s giving us a lot more concerts and festivals.”
Upcoming performances include the Orchestra Halloween concert on October 30th and the Fall Concert on November 28th. Stay tuned!