Truckee band teacher recognized by state
The first time Truckee High School student Kenna Smith, 17, went to play music at a convalescence hospital with her band class she said “it was a little bit scary.”
“Because they are very sick and they have illnesses that make them look sick, and graphically it was hard for a sophomore but then you realize what you are doing for them,” Smith said. “They are just sitting there every day and when you bring music from their era that brightens their day you can change things for them.”
Truckee High’s Fine Arts instructor Dave Green said he believes that band students should share their music with the public not just practice in a classroom. To that end, he tours his band classes regularly to veteran’s clinics, retirement centers, children’s hospitals and nursing homes, he said.
Smith is one of many that the former pro-flautist has taken on the tours over his 19-year tenure at the school.
“It is really therapeutic for the adults and it’s good public service for the kids,” Green said.
Green’s band classes literally help patients heal, according to Lillian Nelson, volunteer services manager at Shriners Hospitals for Children ” Northern California.
“Community groups [like Green’s] are such a important part of our hospital because we believe people can make a difference,” Nelson said. “[The music] improves the healing process.”
The Sacramento children’s hospital that serves patients with acute burns, spinal cord injuries and orthopedic admissions is a regular stop for Green and his class.
Green, in February, won the California Band Directors Association’s Distinguished Service award that some of his peers consider to be among one of the most prestigious a band director can win.
“It is always nice to be recognized in front of your peers,” Green said.
But Dean Nordby, band teacher at North Tahoe High School, who also takes his students on public service tours, hinted Green was being modest.
“Outside of Lifetime Achievement, distinguished service is probably the top band director award in the state,” Nordby said. “That is really a high honor ” you’ve got a lot band directors looking at you. So, to get that you have got to be working pretty hard.”
The award is given to band directors who have served the California Band Directors Association for a number of years and “established themselves as outstanding educators,” said Lisa Butts, former president of the state organization.
Green is also the only teacher in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District to win the Linda Brown Fellows award twice.
“Dave Green has consistently received high nomination numbers,” said Executive Director Laura Abbey Brown, of the Excellence in Education Foundation, the organization responsible for issuing the awards. “He is very dedicated to the students.”
The fellows award carries with it a $2,000 stipend for use in the class and $1,000 personal spending allowance. Green said he already spent $2,400 on new stage lighting for the Truckee theater.
He said he bought the lights because then the award would reach more students and more community members.
“We put the money in there because that’s where we live,” Green said, who has been logging extra hours lately conducting the live score for the school’s spring musical “Grease.”
Green has played with the Reno Philharmonic, the Sacramento Symphony, the San Gabriel Valley Symphony and the Burbank Symphony along with various other orchestras and groups, he said. He has also played in four Rose Bowl events.
Before Truckee, he lived in Los Angeles, he has eight children and 16 grandchildren.
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