By Kelly Daggs
Bruce Lengacher is the director of choral activities at Acalanes High School. He teaches AP Music Theory and is the producer of the annual spring musical. He has also served as the VAPA Department Co-Chair.
We recently asked Bruce Lengacher some questions:
Q. Bruce, tell us about yourself and where you are from:
I was born in South Bend, IN and moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 1980. I lived there for 8 years where I attended L.A. Valley College and worked in restaurants and motion pictures as a chef. I sang in the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in L.A. In 1989 I got married and moved to the Bay Area, where I received my Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Arts in Secondary Education from San Francisco State University. I began teaching at Acalanes in the fall of 1999.
Q. What inspires you to teach music? What inspires you about your students?
For me, it’s the opportunity to give my students a medium that allows them to synthesize information from many different disciplines through the process of learning, connecting to and performing music. It allows them not only to use things they know, but to intellectually and emotionally connect to something that is meaningful. It teaches them how to be vulnerable as performers and as an ensemble. Instances when we all “get” something in rehearsal and know that we “got” it is, for me, is the reason I do what I do.
Q. What inspires you about your students?
Each and every one of them brings their own unique talents to the ensemble. Rehearsals are very interactive and they are encouraged to think critically and express their opinions. Some of the insights they come up with are mind blowing. They inspire me because they provide opportunities for me to learn on a daily basis.
Q. What do you think are some of the most valuable things that students learn in music?
Well, first of music literacy, a vital skill that allows them to continue making music for the rest of their lives. Perhaps, more importantly, they learn how to communicate, problem solve, think critically, work collaboratively, create art and how to be vulnerable and human.
Q. How can students get connected with music?
Sign up for a choir at Acalanes. NO previous experience is necessary, ANYONE CAN SING! We also have a new course next year called Exploratory Voice Lab that allows students to learn about their voice by learning the music they choose.
Q. How does LPIE help the Acalanes music department?
LPIE provides funding for the purchase of music, our accompanist and our master voice teacher.
Q. Do you have anything to add?
Over the past 20 years, our ensembles have toured to England, Switzerland, France and Vancouver internationally and New York, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles. They have competed in national and regional choral competitions and have place at both the mixed and women’s NorCal Golden State Choral Competion the last 14 years. Many of our alums are professional singers performing in Europe and across the United States. I feel so blessed to teach in a community that truly values the arts and am thankful to LPIE for supporting our choir program.