Hello, band family,

Today I was offered and have accepted the position of Adjunct Assistant Professor in the UCLA Department of Music. This is an interim position that should last one or two years. My responsibilities will include running a Division I marching band and varsity band and overseeing the university's symphonic band.

I was honored and humbled last April when my mentor Gordon Henderson, the long-standing director of the UCLA Marching Band, asked me to consider applying for this position, as he is planning to retire after 37 years. I spent many years under his guidance, serving as his drum major for four years and as his teaching assistant in graduate school.

At UCLA, I will have an extensive staff to work with who will cover any outside conflicts with the position. At Samohi, I will reduce my teaching load to 80% this year to accommodate the afternoon and evening commitments involved in the UCLA appointment. Many thanks to Evan Fujinaga for understanding my need to resign from golf coaching duties this year to accommodate this schedule. I will also be taking a leave of absence this year from my position at UC Irvine.

I have already had some great conversations with our incredible marching band staff to get a game plan for the fall season in regard to any scheduling challenges or conflicts arising from my new position. This will be explained in more detail during band camp, but rest assured that we will have another strong marching season together! I will also be teaching my usual concert band and piano classes.

I would like to thank Dr. Shelton, my department chairs Joni Swenson and Jason Aiello, Dean Catherine Baxter, and district VAPA coordinator Tom Whaley for recognizing the importance of this unique opportunity and encouraging me to apply. Their support is invaluable.

I would also like to thank those key band parents who lent their ear to my interest in this new challenge, and told me to go for it! (Followed by, "When are you going to sleep?")

Finally, I hope this new appointment will bring great respect to our Samohi community. As a Samohi teacher and alumnus, I recognize how rare it is to get an opportunity as nationally recognized and significant as the Athletic Band Director at UCLA. This would not be possible without the high standards set by the Samohi music program.

Now I have not one, but two of the best jobs on the planet!

Go Vikings and Go Bruins! ❤


Kevin McKeown
Samohi Bands