History of the Dos Pueblos Vocal Music Program
When Dos Pueblos High School opened in 1966, Amer Lincoln, was the first choir director. He had a knack for knowing exactly the right song for a group, and specialized in staging a group or soloist for performance. Most notably, Lincoln adapted The Navy Hymn to become our school’s Alma Mater which was posted in the gym for many years. After Lincoln’s last year as the choir director, Mr. David Potter came in as an interim teacher and created a group called The Company. It was an elite group of 16 singers.
Mr. Jack Huber became the director in the fall of 1974, and had several choirs, the largest choir, at one point, boasting up to 85 singers! Mr. Huber began a tradition of singing in the Candlelight Processional at Disneyland, earning a spot 27 out of the 30 times they applied. Two of which, the singers were invited as the Honor Choir and were showcased as part of the Fanfare Chorus. Mr. Huber served as our longest standing choir director, specializing in classical choral music and later pop music. He lead our school in song from the fall of 1974 to the spring of 1998 when Mr. Isaac Jenkins, affectionately called Mr. J, took over.
Mr. J had started as the band director at DP before he went to teach band at Santa Barbara High, and then returned to DP as the choir director. When Mr. J took over, he moved from classical and pop tunes to jazz tunes, creating an elite jazz choir that would take first place at the Reno jazz festival in 2001. Following this win we remained in the top 3 each year when returning to the Reno Jazz Festival, and took two trips to Europe, in 2003 and 2005, to go and compete in numerous jazz festivals overseas. When Mr. J retired in 2007, he handed the choral reigns off to Mr. Brian Slotnick-Lastrico
Mr. Slotnick-Lastrico continued in his footsteps taking the choir to compete in the Reno Jazz Festival, and for one more trip to Europe in 2007.
After the market crash in 2008, the choir took a big hit. While Mr. Slotnick-Lastrico tried to keep the choir afloat, it was challenging, and in spring of 2014, he stepped down as the director as the choir went through a short transition period. In the spring of 2015 Mr. J was asked to return in a final effort to save the choir, where he then invited his former student Courtney Anderson to take over the program. Courtney Anderson, now known as Ms. C, officially took over as the director in Fall of 2015. Ms. C was fortunate enough to work with both Mr. J and Mr. Slotnick-Lastrico during her time as a student at Dos Pueblos. The love of vocal music instilled in her by both directors propelled her to continue her studies of music and vocal jazz in college at Sacramento State University. She is thrilled to now have the opportunity to return to her Alma Mater and hopefully give this next generation of musicians the same opportunities that were given to her.
In the short time the choir has been with Ms. C, they have been hard at work learning lots of new music and reaching out to the community. The Choir participated in the 2015 Macy’s All School A Cappella Contest, walked in the Holiday Parade, participated in the Hospice event Light Up A Life, and were involved in the many jazz festivals throughout the community.
When Ms. C stepped in the current state of the choir had dwindled down to just one choir. Ms. C’s goal as the new director was to breathe new life into it and rebuild it into the program it deserves to be. The Choir has made a start in the right direction with the love, commitment, and enthusiasm of our current choir members.
2017 is a new and exciting year for the Vocal Music Department, inviting beginning and advanced singers to join together to create the new sound of DP. Singers are invited to join in this wonderful program to enhance their love for music and to create a loving community where everyone is accepted. Choir not only allows singers and musicians to come together, but it also emphasizes the importance of the arts in young people.
After several years of dwindling numbers resulting in choir classes being cut, Ms. C has finally jump started the program. For the first time in 6 years, there are two official classes that place students by level of singing providing a crucial part in practicing and developing skills. Mixed Chorus and A Cappella acts as a less intense training ground for higher level content. It is a great way to learn all of the necessary fundamental skills in a light environment where formations of new bonds and friendships are strengthened as the years go by. Madrigals is an advanced and rigorous class meant for students who have experience in singing and are able to be successful in this fast paced environment.
As the Vocal Music Program, we strive to do more than the previous years in order to fully restore the program to its full potential. Again, choir forms connections that will not only build a community within the program, but it will create friendships that will last a lifetime.