Music teacher Ricky Alegria joins MVHS Music Department

Jady Wei

Music teacher Ricky Alegria holds the baton he uses to conduct the bands. Alegria joined the MVHS Music  Department in early February. Photo by: Justin Kim.
Music teacher Ricky Alegria holds the baton he uses to conduct the bands. Alegria joined the MVHS Music Department in early February. Photo by: Justin Kim.

In two years, the MVHS music department had curtailed several of its classes.

Last year, Marching Band was discontinued because of a lack of student interest coupled with financial issues. Earlier this year, Jazz Band was also terminated due to the dearth of students who applied for the class.

Despite this course of diminution, the department is now amid a series of changes that brings the prospect of bolstering its curriculum and returning some of its dissolved programs.

A new addition to the staff team

On Feb. 2, the music department staff was joined by music teacher Ricky Alegria, who is replacing previous music teacher Jonathan Fey. Although he has only recently begun, Alegria has much experience with both music and instruction from the past. Prior to MVHS, Alegria had been the band teacher at Murphy Middle School and Sobrato High School, both located in the Morgan Hill Unified School District. Alegria settled there for about three-and-a-half years before joining MVHS.

“The first time I got to visit Monta Vista was actually in November,” Alegria said. “Ms. [April] Scott and Mr. [John] Galli wanted me to work with some of the kids and some of the bands before they made the official hire.”

As a part of familiarizing himself with the campus, music department and students, Alegria was invited to teach the music students in November before becoming an official teacher. From day one, he became impressed by their musical talents and learning capacities.

“I think [the students’] musical ability is definitely some of the best in the area if not in the state,” Alegria said. “I was really excited for the opportunity to come in and work with these kids. They seem very polite and respectful. I’m just thrilled to be here.”

Changes to the music program

In an effort to revive the classes that had been curtailed over the past years, the music department is working towards organizing a series of changes. It has already been determined that in the 2015 – 2016 school year, Jazz Band will be included in the program once more, and to accommodate this addition, Symphonic Band and Concert Band will be combined into one larger ensemble.

“Given that we have enough students to fill the class, Jazz Band is 100 percent on the schedule for next year,” Alegria said. “I know I’m very excited to bring it back to Monta Vista.”

In fact, Alegria will be the teacher to lead Jazz Band if it returns next school year. Amid the excitements to restore the class, many enthusiastic students have already begun approaching Alegria with inquiries, including students from Kennedy Middle School.

“From what I understand, it has been something that the administration and the community have always wanted to bring back,” Alegria said. “It’s always been in the works, but it’s just about finding the right time to do it.”

Prospects for the music department

With these promising changes to the music department, Alegria believes there is still so much more that could be accomplished at MVHS.

“From here, I want [the department] to get bigger, and I want to get better,” Alegria said.

A few of his short-term goals include bringing back Marching Band in the near future, as well as taking all band classes to more trips and traveling performances.

“From what I understand, when Mr. Galli was here full time, we had one of the best programs in the area,” Alegria said. “I definitely want to try to get back to that, as soon as possible.”