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S E C T I O N 2 Community May 12, 2010 ■ News of local people and events A LSO INSIDE C A LE N DA R 24 |C in the community. LA SSI F I E D S 25 |R E AL E S TAT E 2 8 Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac rank oura F M With his trombone as his companion, Frank Moura instructs the freshman jazz band during a practice session in the Menlo-Atherton High School performing arts center. hands over the baton LEGENDARY UP 39 YEARS  JAZZ BAND DIRECTOR WRAPS AS A MUSIC TEACHER AT M-A By Michael Abramson A Junior, M-A High School 1968, when I started, I said, man, if I fter 39 years as the ever make it to 65 years old I’m going director of the Menout,” he says. “I don’t think it’s fair to lo-Atherton High the kids.” School Jazz Band and Mr. Moura’s successor should be a music teacher, Frank Moura announced soon, he says. will retire in June, a legend in the view of many of his students, colleagues and fans. Making it fun During those years, the bands, By all accounts, he has his which frequently toured in the own distinctive approach in the United States and abroad, won classroom, both fun and serious, more than 150 awards, and that results in quality musicians about 30 of the band members while still allowing him to relate went on to become professional to students as more than just their musicians, he says. teacher. Frank Moura, known to most Frank Moura in 1981 teaching a jazz band “I try to make it fun for them, simply as Frank, was born and raised class at Menlo-Atherton High School. but also make it feel like a family,” he says. “We’re trying to make a whole in nearby San Leandro. He took up from a bunch of different parts.” the trombone at age 6 and was playExplaining how he pulled all of those parts together, ing with local symphony orchestras by the time he was 12. After graduating from San Francisco State University he talks of the need “to get the images in their heads of in 1968, he decided to take the position of band direc- the sounds that I want.” He uses, he says, “a lot of very silly stories or strange saytor at Sequoia High School in 1968. Three years later, he moved over to Menlo-Atherton, where he has been ings or motions to get them to feel what the piece is really about — because music involves the whole body.” teaching ever since. This out-of-the-box style of teaching, students say, is This year, that long tenure is coming to an end. “Back in part of what has kept the band strong for so many years and has allowed Mr. Moura to connect so well with generations of M-A students. “Frank isn’t so much a teacher as he is an experience,” says junior saxophone player Jake Lindquist. Another band member, junior drummer Sam Hausman, praises Frank as “a vault of knowledge and experience,” a man who “off the tip of his tongue can call back specific songs played on specific stages 35 years ago.” There have been plenty of stages. Under his leadership, the M-A jazz band has traveled to local venues such as Clovis and Reno; to tropical locales such as Hawaii; to prestigious European events such as the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, and the Vienna Jazz Festival in Austria; and to the Czech Republic and France. In 39 years, it is easy to lose track of awards, but Mr. Moura estimates the band has won at least 150 of them, most recently a first-place finish at the Reno Jazz Festival in April. While he estimates that at least 30 professional musicians have come out of M-A during his tenure, that isn’t the point of his class, he says. “I don’t try to raise music majors. I try to See FRANK MOURA, page 19 ■ FAREWELL CONCERT The Menlo-Atherton High School Jazz Band will play a farewell concert, under Frank Moura’s direction, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 19, at the new performing arts center on the school’s campus at 555 Middlefield Road in Atherton. The event is free and open to the public. May 12, 2010 ■ The Almanac ■ 17

The Almanac 05.12.2010 - Section 2

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