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Elizabeth Jones

“Mr. O saw something in me that I never saw in myself. He saw potential, pushed me to try new things, and created a safe space where I could flourish.”

Former Student – George Stevens Academy – Class of 2000

Instrument: Flute and Vibes

Describe how music has impacted your life.
Playing music and performing was an enormous part of my life in high-school and throughout college. I started playing piano when I was five, switched to flute when I was seven. In high-school, I wanted to be in jazzband, so Mr. O suggested I play the vibes. Music followed me to college where I played through college as first chair flute, and continue to play vibes in jazzband. Now, my love of music and performing has extended to my son (age 7) who loves to be on stage, plays violin, and sings.

Describe your connection to Mr. O
Mr. O was my homeroom teacher and the band room was quite literally my home during school. I spent more time there, with him, than I did anywhere else. He saved a shelf in his office where I could store my flute and mallets along with my books. He was so kind to share his space with me for 4 years. The thing is, Mr. O saw something in me that I never saw in myself. He saw potential, pushed me to try new things, and created a safe space where I could flourish. My best friends were made in the band room, including my husband who played trumpet! To me, Mr. O is a celebrity. Frankly, he’s a part of my family and I’m forever grateful for what he taught me about tenaciousness and optimism.

Describe Mr. O in three words.
Enthusiastic, Caring, Intuitive

What is your most memorable story involving Mr. O?
I have too many.

1. When he broke his brand new conductor wand in half when it was supposed to be “unbreakable.”2. Rolling around in his black van over hill and dale on our way to a gig with the rest of my combo mates and equipment. His yellow sunglasses!
3. Combo practice for “Flip Side” and his enthusiastic participation and focus to drive us to success!
4. Well, there was a time when he threw a chair to get attention. It worked.
5. Mr. O playing Coltrane “In the Fourths Dimension” on his tenor sax. This was for me and my husband, surrounded by loved ones around a bonfire prior to our wedding day. It could not have been more special for us and I’ll never forget it.

If you could ask Mr. O any question, what would it be?
Do you know how famous and loved you are?

Favorite Mr. O quote or phrase:
“Freakin’ A”

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