Port Townsend schools’ new orchestra teacher looks to spring concert
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Dan Ferland, who took over as orchestra instructor at Port Townsend High School and Blue Heron Middle School, conducts the class Wednesday. Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Three months after the Port Townsend School District’s orchestra teacher resigned, another instructor has picked up the baton.

“I’m very impressed with the fact that the district has kept the orchestra program going because it is often the first thing to get cut,” said Dan Ferland, who most recently worked at the Central Kitsap School District.

“The fact that a town this size and a district this size has an orchestra program is really great.”

Ferland divides his time between the high school and Blue Heron Middle School, teaching orchestra from basic skills to performance, with the hope of presenting a concert sometime in the spring.

Ferland succeeds Russell Clark, who left in November and moved to Texas to care for his mother.

Clark, who taught in the district for two years, presented an orchestral version of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in April and May last year, preceding the Beatles’ 50th anniversary of appearing on CBS’s “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Feb. 9, 1964.

Ferland has not yet decided what might be performed this year but feels he has enough time to pull together something special.

“I have a new batch of kids who haven’t played together, but I’d really like to see if we can make something like that happen this year,” he said.

“It’s tough to pull together a concert, but I think we can pull something off,” he added.

He wants to “find something that the kids are familiar with, they can enjoy, and we can work on together.”

He said music programs do more for students than teach them how to play an instrument.

“Orchestra class and music can be very inclusive for kids of all levels,” he said.

“Learning music is part of a well-rounded education,” he said. “Kids who study music improve their test scores, are more aware of their surroundings and learn how to work together as a group.”

Ferland, who is married and has three young children, is commuting from Kitsap County now while he builds a house near Chimacum.

He said the family’s long-term goal is to live in the Pacific Northwest, to which they returned after eight years in Las Vegas.

“I am looking to improve their skills,” Ferland said of his students.

“I want to bring them together and encourage their creativity.”

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 19. 2014 7:17PM
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