Kodiak Daily Mirror - Kodiak says farewell to acclaimed jazz band instructor
  
Kodiak says farewell to acclaimed jazz band instructor
by Nicole Klauss
Jul 16, 2012 | 129 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Michael Remy grins as he directs the Kodiak Middle School beginning band during the playing of "The Night Flight of the Gargoyles" during the borough-wide school band concert Tuesday night, April 24, 2012 in the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium. Students from fifth grade through 12th grade took the auditorium stage to demonstrate their skills for parents and spectators.
(James Brooks photo)
Michael Remy grins as he directs the Kodiak Middle School beginning band during the playing of "The Night Flight of the Gargoyles" during the borough-wide school band concert Tuesday night, April 24, 2012 in the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium. Students from fifth grade through 12th grade took the auditorium stage to demonstrate their skills for parents and spectators. (James Brooks photo)
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Michael Remy, the much-loved jazz band teacher, has left Kodiak, but not without leaving good memories in his wake.

Remy resigned from his job with the Kodiak Island Borough School District to fulfill his dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail.

During his four years in Kodiak, he impacted the lives of many students with his teaching and musical expertise.

Band teacher Dale Lhotka worked closely with Remy, and credited him with bringing in the majority of the school’s orchestra students.

“All of the orchestra students we have now, we wouldn’t have had them if not for him,” Lhotka said. “He was able to recruit all these kids.”

When Remy first moved to Kodiak, Lhotka was teaching the jazz band. The following year, Lhotka turned over the jazz band to Remy.

“He has a really good foundation on teaching improvisation,” Lhotka said. “I’ve known a lot of really good jazz band teachers at the collegiate level. He’s the best.”

Remy challenged the jazz band to learn to difficult charts that were at the collegiate and professional levels. This past February, five of his jazz band students were selected for the 18-member All-Alaska jazz band during a festival.

“I’d say this past year the band was on par with a decent collegiate band,” he said.

Remy’s impact on students extended beyond just teaching. He came in at a time when the arts were gaining momentum in the community. The Kodiak Island Borough School District had reinstated instrumental music in elementary schools, and kids were getting excited about music.

“He didn’t just provide good instruction,” assistant superintendent Marilyn Davidson said. “He provided a great example to them in his commitment to the art form and learning.”

Remy also shared his musical talents with the Community Baptist Church. He lived and worked for the church as the Church Keep and played with the church’s worship team.

“He introduced some new instrumental life into the church,” said Pastor Todd Putney. “He was willing to do whatever anyone asked him to do, and was very willing to be involved.”

Remy isn’t sure if he will return to Kodiak or not, but he is certain the culture he helped create will live on. “We established a culture centered around art,” Remy said. “Kids were much more passionate about school in general and learning. I know I won’t be there, but I know this atmosphere will remain.”
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