Michael Allard, Ph.D, who’s an acclaimed Professor of Music, has taught for more than 44 years, in Nevada, and California, Hawaii, and Texas.
He will be retiring after the Winter Concert, today, at Harmony Magnet Academy at 7 p.m.
He’s taught almost 20 years in Porterville Unified School District, teaching high school, middle school and elementary school students, including his 12 years at Harmony Magnet Academy, when the school opened.
Before teaching in Porterville, Allard started an orchestra program in Nevada. He also taught at Punahou School, in Hawaii, and taught at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.
He said between teaching and directing orchestras over half the United States, teaching in Nevada and Porterville, and elsewhere he has probably helped teach more than 100,000 students during his musical teaching career of 44 years.
He has met many of his former students who are now retiring, many who have played at Carnegie Hall.
He’s extremely proud of his famous students, a few who are world renowned conductors and musicians. Some of his students were: Jason Fitz, a grammy winning violinist; Sarah Hicks, a world famous conductor; Danny Falcone, a band leader and trumpet player, and many more.
“After I retire, I have conducting spots, one in Arlington, Texas, and the other in Las Vegas. Otherwise, I’ll be doing what my wife tells me to do,” Allard said with great humor.
“I tend to brag about my kids (students). It’s like parenting. It’s the same. When they are doing the right thing, they are all beautiful kids.
“It doesn’t hit you, that you are finishing a whole era.”
Allard spoke about working (conducting the orchestra), with famous performers on stage in Las Vegas, like Glen Campbell, John Denver, Vic Damone and Elvis. “Just about everyone going through Las Vegas,” he said.
The school system in Nevada has about 40 different high schools, and 25,000 students in the Las Vegas District. When he was working in Las Vegas and with the school district he said he also met a lot of politicians, and they even asked him to run for Congress, to which he politely declined. It might have to do with his brother, Nick Allard, who helped prepare Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the Supreme Court.
Allard received his Ph.D in Music Education at the University of Texas, Austin, while studying and teaching all over the country.
His youngest daughter, Kristen Allard, is a professional golfer, and he said the Porterville Recorder helped revolutionize women’s golf with their coverage of her events, helping girls realize they could compete professionally and win. Allard’s older daughter, Allison Allard, with her orchestra in Arlington, Texas, won the National Orchestra Competition in 2018.
“Our job is to make sure that our students have opportunities in music and life,” Allard said, “to have creative and academic achievements to help make them more rounded human beings. I believe in learning about everything, meaning a well rounded education.”
The Winter Concert is from 7 to 8 p.m. today at Harmony Magnet Academy in Strathmore at 19429 Road 228.