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Kara van Emmerik

“Through Mr. O’s faith in my voice, I built up the courage to audition for All State… [he] helped me to find my voice again through music, and I owe him everything for that.”

Former Student – George Stevens Academy – Class of 2012

Instrument: Saxophone, Vocals

Describe how music has impacted your life.
Music has been a crucial piece of my life since I was too young to know that I was even creating music. Singing was my first love and I sang in many groups. At 6, I started playing the cello, and I continued to do so until I picked up my first saxophone in 4th grade. From then on, jazz was my life. I remember every year looking forward to the trips that we would take in elementary school to watch the GSA holiday concerts. I remember watching Mr. O in awe, wanting desperately to be one of those “big kids” who played in the band. All throughout high school I played saxophone in the school band and in jazz combos. Mr. O also trusted me enough to contribute vocals to our jazz combo. Through Mr. O’s faith in my voice, I built up the courage to audition for All State. From this, I gained one of my favorite memories to date. I became one of the few from GSA to be selected to All State Jazz Choir. Mr. O helped me to find my voice again through music, and I owe him everything for that.

Describe your connection to Mr. O
Before I was in high school, I participated in jazz camps with Mr.O. I am now forever thankful to have been a part of Mr. O’s jazz program and the school band from 2009-2012. He still supports my endeavors to this day, by buying bagels almost weekly from my new baking business!

Describe Mr. O in three words.
Hilarious, Compassionate, Inspirational (only 3?!)

What is your most memorable story involving Mr. O?
Well, I have a large catalog of memories about Mr. O, however, one of my favorites is when he added a new section into one of our songs and we were kind of reluctant for some reason. He then yelled, “Come on! It will kick royal butt. Like the biggest butt you can picture in your mind!”

If you could ask Mr. O any question, what would it be?
If in an alternate world, you didn’t get into music, do you think you still would have ended up teaching in some manner? If so, what do you think you would teach?

Favorite Mr. O quote or phrase:
“Hot Puppies!”

 

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