No wonder the teacher, Dan Holmes
, feels claustrophobic.
Teaching high school band has been a lifelong dream of Holmes'
, but now that he's
facing on a daily basis the woefully inadequate facilities at PV, it seems more and more nightmarish. When he was in high school, Holmes was the drum major of the band at Yuba City High School, where he graduated in 1972.
Even then he
wanted to teach music and especially band as a profession.
It took him a while to get there.After a stint in the Army, he graduated from Chico State University and went to work selling rice drying equipment, making a very comfortable living and starting a family--until the bottom fell out of the rice market over 15 years ago.
Taking that as a sign, he
decided to go back to school and get his
teaching credential.After that he
began teaching music at Bidwell Junior High. There he was a creative and popular teacher who introduced up-to-date multimedia technologies to his guitar classes as well as encouraging students by taking an interest in the music they liked to play. At least once during his 14-year tenure at Bidwell he applied for teaching positions at both PV and Chico High School.He
was turned down.
More recently, PV
had gone through a couple of band teachers in a short time.Last year, when Principal Mike Rupp was facing yet another vacancy in the position, several parents of students who'd attended Bidwell recommended Holmes, the man he'd earlier given the thumbs-down.
This time Rupp called Holmes
to offer him the job, and Holmes
arrived at Pleasant Valley
with a distinct advantage: Bidwell is the main feeder school for PV
, so many of his
former students were there.He's
had no trouble attracting students to band, despite the raggedy uniforms, malfunctioning instruments and cramped, stuffy practice space. Holmes
is trying to do something about the problems.He
and a group of parents called the Band Boosters have gone to the community for financial support.In two years they've raised $13,000, about half of which has been used for uniforms and to repair instruments.But the crying need is for a decent practice space.
School district trustees say that they fully support the band and would like to help but their hands are tied by lack of funding.
is keeping his
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