Meet the leader of the band
David Becker has been named director of the Lake Oswego Millennium Concert Band. Becker brings nearly 50 years of teaching and conducting experience in Oregon, and is thrilled to continue making music with fine adult musicians beginning with LOMCB's 21st season.
Becker was named director of LOMCB after Dale Cleland retired from the position at the end of the last season.
A native Oregonian, Becker says he started playing the piano at home in Corvallis, at the encouragement of his mother who was a talented amateur pianist. He later played in the school beginning band and "absolutely loved it."
"I took piano all through high school," he said. "I had a really good teacher who was a concert pianist, and the school band program was one of the top three in the state. In seventh and eighth grade and during high school all my friends were in the school band."
In middle school he played bassoon, and his best friend played the oboe. His best friend's father, Harvey Brooks, just happened to be the band director.
"My best friend had a sister, Kathy, who also played in the band," he said. "We all hung around together and later in high school our relationship became more serious." David and Kathy eventually married, and this past summer celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
On the advice of his father-in-law Becker pointed his career away from being a high school music director.
"He told me it was the worst job in the world," Becker said. Becker continued his education at University of Oregon majoring in music history and theory and continued to play the bassoon. During his junior year a colleague talked him into working with the oboe and bassoon players at his school once a week.
"I loved it!" he said. From his studies he could play almost every instrument and so began a career as a music educator. He taught two years in Lakeview, three in Silverton and another five at South Salem.
"At South Salem I built a reputation (for excellence for the band)," he said. "In five years we were one of the top bands in the Northwest." While at South Salem, Becker began working on his doctorate in music at UO, and learned there that he preferred working with older students. He applied for and was hired as Director of Bands at Lewis & Clark College, a position he held for 29 years, retiring in 2011. There he conducted the Wind Symphony and taught courses in music education, conducting, jazz performance and jazz appreciation. He also served as chair of the music department and worked with the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, supervising student teachers and teaching courses in the MAT-Music program. Through the college's Overseas Program he created and led five semester-long arts programs in London.
Even though music education has long been a career focus, Becker has been involved in adult bands most of his adult life, either as a performer or conductor.
"While I was teaching at South Salem friends developed a concert band in Salem, which became the Salem Symphonic Winds." He also played and/or conducted with the Portland Wind Ensemble and Oregon Symphonic Band.
Most recently he served as the conductor of the North Coast Symphonic Band based in Astoria. While there he enjoyed fishing on his boat dubbed Major Scales.
"Musicians can never spend too much time on the major scales," Becker quipped.
It was while fishing with friends that the idea of applying for the LOMCB directorship was presented.
They encouraged him to apply and Becker was selected.
"Lake Oswego Millennium Concert Band is bigger than Astoria," he said. "It is a fine band and I am really excited about it. It is so nice to be so close, too." His commute from his West Linn home to rehearsals is minimal.
"Dale (Cleland) is still playing with us and continues as conductor emeritus," Becker said. "He is great to have as a mentor."
LOMCB will perform concerts March 1 and May 3 at Lakeridge High School Auditorium, 1235 Overlook Drive, Lake Oswego, and the annual July 3 concert at Millennium Park Plaza in Lake Oswego. The concerts are free and open to all.
Learn more online at lakeoswegoband.org.
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