- Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine
Quality Entertainment: Local High School Performing Arts
Napa Valley is known the world over for the finest restaurants, and the wines produced here regale on the world stage; we are blessed to enjoy entertainment on the same order—in our intimate, local venues. But who would guess our local high schools . . . yes, you read that right, our local high schools also produce quality shows which will impress the entire family––whether you have students in them or not.
Many people are responsible for the performing arts programs––which include a variety of disciplines––Choral and Instrumental Music, Choir, Dance, and Theater; we’ve included insight from a few. Space limits the amount of information we can include. If we have missed your name, please know, your efforts don’t go unnoticed.
In the meantime, here’s your chance to learn a little about some of the hard-working people that guide the creative spirit of the youth of Napa Valley.
AMERICAN CANYON HIGH SCHOOL
From the desk of: Summer Heartt - Program Director, Theatre Arts
This spring, ACHS Theatre, Dance, Choir, and Instrumental Music will collaborate on our second-ever musical, Bring It On: The Musical. All of the productions are student-designed and run. As director and producer, Summer Heart sits in the audience during shows.
ACHS Performing Arts programs include Instrumental Music directed by Brendan Day, Dance directed by Amber McIntyre & Celine Brace, Choir directed by Jamie Butler, and Theatre directed by Summer Heartt. The performing arts programs will collaborate to produce the school’s, second-ever musical endeavor in as many years.
In March 2018, our Theatre Arts department was awarded the $10,000 NBC Rise grant, and matched by SHN (Owner of the Orpheum and Golden Gate Theatre) and NBC Bay Area, in order to fund a new Musical Theatre program, which led to ACHS’s first ever musical production, Bye Bye Birdie, last April. This year, the programs unite again to produce Bring It On: The Musical, a much larger and more challenging undertaking! Show dates are March 30, April 5-7.
NAPA HIGH SCHOOL
From the desk of: Mike Riendeau - Director of Instrumental Music
I started teaching at Napa High in August of 2009, and this will finish my tenth year at NHS. I started teaching in San Diego at a private school on September 11, 2001. Yes, “9/11” was my first day teaching music in school. In 2003, I was hired by Dee McFarland to teach music at a public school, Phillips Edison Charter Elementary in Napa. I taught there for seven years. After a strenuous hiring process, including a demo lesson in front of the Marching Band students, music, faculty and administration, I was chosen to teach at Napa High. I was hired after Mr. Cadelago, who held the position from 1993-2009, had retired. He was considered the 3rd Director of Napa High Instrumental Music Department. Before him, Mr. Crane, from 1958-1993, and Mr. Long, from 1949-1958, were the longest lasting Instrumental Music Directors. Mr. Long was also the Music teacher at Napa College and he brought in the Marching Band class.
I’m very proud the department is thriving, and proud to have been able to continue with this long-lasting, heritage program, amidst seasons of arts erosion in the public education system. The students in the program are intrinsically driven to work hard and play amazing. It’s a real honor for me to be their teacher. They are truly talented and hard-working young musicians, whom I care deeply for.
My goal is to support the students in a collegiate styled music program––setting them up for the option of continuing the pursuit of music––either educationally or vocationally. The program operates with multiple instructors and across many aspects of the school and community. We have Athletic Bands, Artistic Strings, Theatrical Symphonic Orchestras, smaller sub group ensembles, such as: Chamber Strings, String Quintet, Brass 10 and Wind Ensembles. We have a Jazz Combo, Pep Band, and a gigging Jazz Band performing throughout the school year. We have an AP Music Theory Class, an incredible Drumline, and 32 member talented Colorguard. All this requires a mountain of support financially in fundraising, teaching, facility support, parent volunteering, and running our 501c3 non-profit Napa High Band Boosters organization. This is a team of Boosters and clinicians who are here with one mind-set––to help these fun-loving, musical kids become happy, artistic, contributing members of our community.
VINTAGE HIGH SCHOOL
From the desk of: Brendan Galvin - Instrumental Music Director
Last year, the Vintage High School Instrumental Music Program held two concerts that had never been attempted before. One was a concert composed entirely of student-written pieces, for string orchestra, concert band, and symphonic orchestra. Not only did the students compose their pieces, they also rehearsed them in class and conducted them on stage. The other was the PhilmHarmonik concert, which featured professional level, movie-music performed by orchestra and band, including classic music from Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones. While the songs were played, scenes from the movies were projected on a screen behind the symphony. The concert was dedicated to those who lost their lives to suicide; all proceeds went to The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide.
For the first three months of the school year, the band performs as the marching band, playing at football games and competing in the Northern California Band Association (NCBA) circuit. This year, both the music and marching drill for the show was written completely by the marching band staff, which has not been done before.
One of the ongoing programs the Vintage Instrumental Music Program has held for four years is Band Buddies; founded by Brendan Galvin and a core group of high school music students. In Band Buddies, 4th and 5th grade students come to the high school and work with older students and teachers. The program will continue this year with plans to add more days per week of instruction. The Vintage Instrumental Music Program is going to start a middle school drumline at Redwood Middle School.