As the longtime music teacher at Kalamalka Secondary School, Brian McMahon has seen and heard his students go through just about every instrument, from squeaky-reed clarinets to out-of-tune guitars.
But with time, care, attention and fine-tuning, he has seen students play to success, whether at school concerts or at such venues as the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and even at Disneyland.
Some of his students have even gone on to have successful music careers after graduating.
About to shelve his baton with his retirement from Kal at the end of this month, McMahon is leading his students, both current and alumni, in one last concert.
Concerto Juno – The Grand Finale takes place at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Thursday.
“I am excited to showcase the spectrum of music the students create here at Kal,” said McMahon, who has taught in the Vernon school district the past 23 years, and 10 years previous in B.C. and Saskatchewan.
The past president of the Vernon Jazz Society, McMahon is also a well known musician in town, playing stand-up bass with the Legendary Lake Monsters and in various musical groups around Vernon and Kelowna.
He also isn’t giving up on teaching entirely and plans to substitute teach for the Kelowna, Vernon and North Okanagan-Shuswap school districts as a music teacher when needed.
“I don’t plan to be super busy with that. I look forward to having enough time to actually practice for the fun of it,” he said.
For McMahon’s last concert, students will perform selections from serious concert band music, Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean to Motown, punk rock, folk arrangements for choir, and jazz.
In addition to the Kal concert band, senior and junior jazz bands, and choir, who just returned from a four-concert tour of the West Kootenays, several soloists and combos will also perform.
“At least a dozen former students have expressed an interest in joining us on stage for the closing number,” said McMahon.
Concerto Juno – The Grand Finale will be held at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Thursday, June 4 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is by donation.