Larry Hudson came out of retirement two years ago to restore the Placerville Union School District band program. The once-vaunted system was in danger of disappearing due to waning student interest and tight funding.
The Oregon-based teacher was more than qualified. Thirty-eight years of progressive success in every facet of music education appealed to the governing school board.
Hudson was adept at advising school boards, structuring budgets, developing musical curricula, organizing programs and conducting classes.
He knew the real job would be mentoring young people. Mere competence with an instrument wouldn’t be enough — the band experience would become a platform for the whole child. He would transform student musical interest into patterns of personal development.
“In my career I’ve seen many teachers make a positive difference in the lives of their charges,” Hudson reflected. “Some even produce great musicians. I strive to be a critical link for those kids who pick up their first instrument.”
“He knows the value of perseverance, pride and sacrifice,” said a long-time acquaintance. “And he’s produced many success stories across the years. His pupils have come from every walk of life … blind, no English, Special Ed, and disadvantaged — he has an emotional attachment to them all and boy do they respond.”
Hudson taught band in the Medford, Ore. schools for 30 years, spent 25 years teaching at the Trumpet Studio and worked with education majors at Southern Oregon University.
He sits on the board of directors for the Western International Band Clinic where he serves as the master of ceremonies. His bands have been featured twice at the WIBC as well as the Oregon Music Educators State Convention.
Upon retirement, Hudson began a consulting business, “EMT,“ (Educators Musical Techniques) providing school districts and music teachers with staff development, teaching methods, materials, curriculum development and evaluation services.
With all that, something was missing.
In his sixth year of retirement, living in the Oregon dream house he and wife Jan built, Hudson accepted the position of band director with the Placerville Union School District.
“I needed something more important to do. I needed to teach again,” Hudson said.
After two years, Hudson assessed the decision.
“It has worked well. We’ve already doubled the number of participants and hope to bring 25 percent of all students into the band program,” he said.
What about the budget?
Hudson explained the districts’ instruments were in serious need of refurbishing and new ones had to be acquired. With a trickle of contributions from the three schools in the program, plus outside donations, all the needs were met.
“We will provide musical instruments for interested kids, but we engage the parents on that issue as well. There are key benefits to a child who owns his own instrument,” Hudson said.
Larry and Jan Hudson’s eight children would probably agree. All developed important life skills as a result of being successful music students.
This band director looks back across his four decades of hard work and accomplishment with a grin.
“Truth be told, I never worked a day in my life. I enjoy what I do,” Hudson said.
Hudson encourages young musicians to, “Stay the course, never give up.”
Hudson has taken his own advice.
A renown trumpet player in his own right, Hudson appears regularly as one-fifth of the busy Sacramento Brass Quintet. Other members include Maurice Montgomery (trumpet), David Ahrens (horn), Lester E. Lehr, (trombone) and Bruce Nye (tuba).
Hudson has also conducted honor bands in California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska and offered clinics throughout the Western States, Florida, Maine and South Carolina. He holds a bachelor of science degree in music education and a masters in trumpet performance and music literature.
To find out more about the band program at the Placerville Union School District or to assist with the program call 530-622-0403 ext. 5552.