Alumni Spotlight: Joe Calderon

Joe Calderon marched with Pacific Crest as a charter member in the trumpet section in 1993 and 1994. While he did not age out of the drum corps, Joe has remained heavily involved with music both as a performer as well as an educator in Southern California.

Where are you currently teaching?

I am the Band Director at Gladstone High School in Covina, CA. When I was in school I wanted to be a professional musician and received my Master’s Degree in Music Performance. I was not an education major but I always taught private lessons and worked at other schools while playing gigs. As I was going through school, teaching became more and more prominent and I realized that I really enjoyed it so I decided to go back and get my teaching credential. [Music] evolved from loving to play from wanting to teach.

Has Pacific Crest influenced your professional life?

Being a part of Pacific Crest has definitely influenced my work ethic. I was always passionate about music and being part of Pacific Crest. At the beginning, we were small and the people involved were very passionate and their work ethic was great. It was cool to be with that group of individuals. We came from different backgrounds and different musician experience, but we worked hard to put out a product that we could be proud of. At that age, I did not know that Pacific Crest would grow to what it is now, I marched because I loved doing it and I knew it was something special – it was something that I wanted to be a part of. Being a part that higher level is an experience I carry into my teaching and my marching program. I tell my students and staff that I am not teaching music, I am teaching them how to be successful in life and music is the medium that we have chosen.

Who do you remember most from your years marching Pacific Crest?

Stuart [Pompel], who I maintain contact with today. He has been a great supporter of my program and my professional career. When I was on tour with PC a few years ago, I had a lot of meaningful conversations with him about my teaching and where I was, and he is always genuinely concerned with what was going on with my life.

I also really remember the members. Since we were so small, we all knew each other – a lot of the members were from Diamond Bar High School and I went to Walnut High School. I got to know them very well and I remember hanging out, watching drum corps and eating with them. We experienced drum corps together and pushed each other to be the best we could. I keep in contact with some of them today.

How has Pacific Crest impacted you personally?

It taught me discipline, dedication and passion on and off the field. I have always had love for music and PC was an opportunity for me to express myself physically and musically. It pushed me to be the best I could be, to put my best foot forward.

Do you have a favorite memory from Pacific Crest?

I remember taking the field for the first time in exhibition, I believe at the Riverside show. I remember being on the sideline and having them call us out and the feeling of ‘We are going to do this!’ I was a soloist that year so I was nervous. I had a pretty big solo, and I remember receiving it, it was just railroad tracks – 16th notes and runs everywhere. The first show the adrenaline was high, and we wanted to do our best.

I also remember the Rice Krispies, it was all about the Rice Krispies when we had snack! I still love them.

Why do you want to be more involved with PC?

I would like to be more involved to give back to the organization and show appreciation. I am proud to have been a part of it and to see where it has gone. I want the activity to continue to grow and be successful. If I can encourage a current member and put a smile on their face, to even be there and talk to them and support them it will be well worth it. Pacific Crest had such a big influence in my life and I am proud of that organization.

Joe currently works as the Band Director at Gladstone High School in Covina, CA and is also an Adjunct Professor at Citrus College in Glendora, CA. Joe and his wife Yolanda recently purchased their first home in Covina, CA and live with their son Joe Calderon IV. Joe has given back to Pacific Crest as a supporter, volunteer and participates in the Adopt-An-Ageout program and he is excited to become more involved with the corps as the season continues.