David Matchim checks all the boxes when it comes to being an impactful and inspiration educator. So it wasn’t surprising to learn that his students at Centennial High School did not let the pandemic stop them from performing. “These are tough times, but our students are flexible, resilient and enthusiastic,” Matchim said. “During the one-week virtual marching band camp at the end of summer, they worked hard to preserve the strong community we have established. They are recording and producing amazing recordings. I’m proud of their grit — their ability to find solutions and persevere.”
Together they produced a virtual show, which was a true team effort with “student leaders teaching during sectional breakouts, the visual team teaching choreography virtually, students sending in recorded video and audio, and in-house directors editing all the pieces together,” Matchim said.
Another area where Matchim encourages teamwork is community outreach. He helped to revitalize the Tri-M Music Honor Society, which has grown to over 150 students. “These student volunteers are always seeking opportunities to support the music community,” Matchim said. “Even in the virtual world, they are sharing performances with nursing homes and providing tutorial videos to younger musicians in our feeder system.”
Inside the classroom, Matchim and his fellow band director make thoughtful repertoire selections showcase diversity and inclusivity. Last year, his band performed Julie Giroux’s “Bookmarks from Japan” and Arturo Marquez’ “Danzon No. 2, and this fall, they performed Scott Joplin’s “Sunflower Slow Drag” virtually. “Like most organizations, we are reflecting and recognize that we need to do better,” he said. We are working with our students to find pieces that ‘speak’ to them and their diverse backgrounds.”
Under Matchim’s leadership, the music program has more than doubled with 600+ students participating. “While I wish I could take credit for the growth in our music program, it takes a village,” he said modestly. He credits an “amazing” feeder system, a supportive administration and parent community, his band director colleague James Kranz and a dedicated team of music teachers. “We work together with our choir and orchestra colleagues to give our students a great musical experience. We’re a family. We feel it, and the students do, too.”