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The popular band director and music teacher at Sellwood Middle School has retired; will be missed

DAVID F. ASHTON - At the 2019 Sellwood Middle School 5K Run fundraiser, Sellwood Middle School Jazz Band teacher Dan Arrayan led the ensemble. Over the past 30 years, countless numbers of students have gained an appreciation for music at Sellwood Middle School (SMS), thanks to their Band Director, Dan Arrayan.

If you've enjoyed the SMS Marching Band as it performed through neighborhood streets in various parades, Arrayan was always there – on the side – letting the students' talents shine front and center.

THE BEE asked Arrayan about his background: "I grew up in the little town of Wahiawa on the island of Oahu, in the beautiful state of Hawai'i; and I moved to Oregon as a freshman in high school, and lived in the Milwaukie area."

Having earned his Music degree from Portland State University in 1988, Arrayan said his "original plan" was to become a band director in a high school.

"After being a substitute teacher at Sellwood Middle School, however, this position opened in 1990, and I thought I'd try my hand at it," Arrayan recalled. "I found out quickly that directing middle school bands is just as satisfying – or, actually, even more satisfying – than directing high school bands. "And the longer I taught there, the more I realized this was the best fit for me! Happily, I've been there ever since."

Teaching Beginning and Intermediate Band to Advanced Band, there was a variety of music to teach his students. "Directing the Marching and Jazz Bands was challenging and rewarding at the same time," the band leader told us. "I think the challenge of teaching music is keeping everyone engaged, at all times, within a class period.

"Rehearsals have to move along in such a way that every student is involved and learning, as part of a bigger group. Keeping the percussionists involved in a rehearsal takes different teaching techniques, as opposed to keeping the woodwinds and brass engaged – it's a group effort that is constantly in flow," explained Arrayan.

"It's been a total pleasure teaching all of the students who walked through that band room door at SMS these last 30 years," he reflected. "And I want to thank all the parents for volunteering, driving to gigs, hauling equipment, breaking down after a concert – chaperoning on buses to parades – and helping in every way possible to make the band program a complete success!" "Being part of the Sellwood community has been an honor and a privilege, as has seeing how our community has always supported the arts in education at Sellwood Middle School."


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