Adelante Andante

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The new PGHS band director, Mrs. Theresa Hruby.

Written by Oscar Scholin, Journalist

We welcome Mrs. Theresa Hruby, our new orchestra and band teacher. The sudden retirement and subsequent unexpected and devastating death of Mr. Dave Hoffman — PGHS’ longtime band director — left a gaping hole in the PGHS music program. Mr. Don Dally graciously stepped in for a year to allow the district time to find a long term replacement for Mr. Hoffman. Theresa Hruby-Percell was chosen to direct the band and orchestra of PGHS.

Mrs. Hruby’s ambition since she was 14 was to become a musical director. Her early high school years were greatly impacted by her music teacher: “I saw how much she [the music teacher] loved teaching us, and I loved her positive attitude,” remarks Hruby. In high school, she also realized that she “was completely in love with music and I  couldn’t imagine my life without it.” Most importantly, she knew, while in high school, that she “wanted to become a music teacher because I loved helping others to learn music.”

The PGHS Band, led by Drum Major Sierra Smith.

Hruby began teaching beginning piano students during her sophomore year and she also helped teach the sixth grade band. Hruby has a whopping 31 years of musical teaching experience under her belt: she has taught high school band and orchestra at Monterey Unified School District for 27 years, and at the International School of Stuttgart, Germany for 2 years, and in Illinois for 2 years. Hruby also taught at CSUMB for 10 years, and continues to teach band, chamber orchestra, and conducting classes there now.

Hruby chose to move to the Pacific Grove Unified School District because of its emphasis on the arts, and “knowing that the high school had a strong “feeder” program was the main reason I wanted to work here in PGUSD.”

Hruby feels that the PGHS Band and Orchestra are exceptionally stellar because of the quality of student leadership. Just in the few months Hruby has taught at the school, she has picked up on a unique bond between PGHS students because of the loss of Hoffman, with whom Hruby had gone to college and had known for 30 years. She believes that “music is something that can help us heal from this tremendous loss.”

Hruby has grand ambitions for the music program here, and the marching band is one particular element she wishes to develop. She wants to have the band compete (the last competition the band attended was 2 years ago) more frequently and with a color guard. Her “big goal is for our band and orchestra is to show them what it feels like to play in Carnegie Hall.” She also wants to create two jazz bands: a big band, and a Dixieland combo group. Moreover, her ultimate goal is to “give student opportunities to create wonderful memories that will carry through a lifetime,” and “to encourage students to continue their musical endeavours throughout their lives.”

On a personal note, something few people may know about Mrs. Hruby is that she met her husband in high school, and he was her piano accompanist for her clarinet auditions, and he continues to make music with her today. We are fortunate to have her at our side as we march forward.