“Name a more iconic duo than Mr. O and instilling love for music, I’ll wait.”
Former Student – George Stevens Academy – Class of 2015
Instrument: Drums, Piano, Guitar, Irish Pennywhistle, Calypsonian Panflute
Describe how music has impacted your life.
When not overt, music is the undercurrent of my life. I’ve been playing music since I was perhaps 7 years old, and have been surrounded by it since the moment I was born. It’s fueled a powerful conduit of creativity in my life, often acting as a lightning rod to other creative mediums – such as game development, which I’ve turned into a career. Not that my focus in games is the music, but I’ve had the pleasure of writing a lot of music for games – especially during my time at university; I even have music in The Strong National Museum of Play! Music has positively affected how I problem solve in my life, as well as how I simply exist. Music under Mr. O gave heat to the fire; his energy was addictive, and it paved the way for new adventures every day. I’m always trying to learn something new, picking up new instruments, new ways to look at and experience music, and it will continue to be a potent aspect of my life moving forward!
Describe your connection to Mr. O
I was in the George Stevens Academy band for all four years of high school, in various Jazz combo groups for three of those four years, and took a music theory course – in all, working closely with Mr. O in every aspect I could!
Describe Mr. O in three words.
Passion beyond measure.
What is your most memorable story involving Mr. O?
This is a hard one to pin down… so many of the memories that stick out to me involving Mr. O usually involve him hopping or skipping around the front of the band room, or showing true immersion in the moment by conducting accents in the music with his full body. His physicality and exposition of vitality when the music was playing is hard to ignore. Or in the Jazz combos, the way he elucidates how every piece works together, the philosophy behind putting oneself into solos, it made it hard not to become just as invested as he was. There may not be a specific memory that truly jumps to forefront, but an overall sense of presence really has stuck – he truly has a special and powerful way of being.
If you could ask Mr. O any question, what would it be?
You have 20 minutes (not including setup and teardown) to put together your dream Jazz setlist – what pieces are in it, and what instruments are in the combo/band performing it?
Favorite Mr. O quote or phrase:
“Effin’ A!” (“F and A!”)