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Strong musical tradition draws band director
Kathleen Smith, new Bartlett band director
Born and raised in Visalia, Bartlett Middle School’s new band director, Kathleen Smith, said she wanted to come to Porterville because of the town’s strong musical tradition and community support.
“Growing up I had heard of the musical traditions in Porterville especially the band programs. It is very exciting coming into a community that has such pride in its band programs and encourages these programs to grow,” Smith said. “In these times of budget crisis, more and more school districts are cutting music programs and it is such a blessing to me and the community to be in a school district that is still musically strong and wants to continue its music education.”
Smith, who started playing piano in third grade and the cello in fifth, graduated from El Diamante High School in Visalia.
She received her bachelor’s of music from CSU Stanislaus with an emphasis in instrumental music. While there, she was heavily involved in the music program, joined Sigma Alpha Iota international Women’s Music Fraternity and was voted president during her last year. Smith performed in Masterclasses with Matt Haimovitz and Amit Peled, and studied cello with Valerie Walden, Daniel Davies, and Thomas Lowenheim, before earning her credential from CSU Fresno.
After teaching private lessons while in high school, she went on to enjoy a number of music-related jobs, including being employed as part of the tech crew for the university music department, working for an after-school music program teaching orchestra classes in the Stanislaus Union School District and working for the non-profit Healing Nations teaching violin and directing music for its annual Christmas Concert. She also worked for three summers at CSU Stanislaus’ music camp.
After student teaching at Green Acres Middle School with Rodney Yokota, and Michael Tackett at El Diamante High School, Smith became the band director for Bartlett Middle School.
“The Bartlett Band is a very special group that holds wonderful musical traditions. I plan to continue these traditions to make the band the best it can be and support the students in their future endeavors,” Smith said. “It is very exciting to get to direct these students and continue these traditions. I aim to make these students the best musicians they can be.
The Bartlett Bobcat Band — with 67 band members and 32 auxiliary members — took part in the Exeter Fall Festival and more recently, in the Fowler Band Review, where they placed third in its division. In addition, the band’s drum major, Lorna Mendoza took second place among drum majors in the band’s division.
Upcoming performances include Veterans Day Parade and the Buck Shaffer Band-A-Rama, the Porterville Children’s Christmas Parade and the PDC Parade.
In the spring, the band will play at the California Music Educators Association Festival, the school’s Spring Concert, Cinco de Mayo Parade and at the Kingsburg Band Review.
“The community will also be able to see the Jazz Band, Prep Band, and Orchestra at a Winter Concert on December 12,” Smith said. “I am very honored to be directing so many talented young musicians.”
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.