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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

New teachers valuable addition to music program

Music students were pleasantly surprised on the first day of school with the addition of two new faces to the teaching staff: teacher Anthony Lanzino and student teacher Jonathan Hsu.

Having taught previously at James Logan High School for seven years, Lanzino brings an impressive wealth of experience to Saratoga. Prior to his present teaching position, he also taught seven years at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago, where he served as the director of bands and the music department’s performing arts chairperson.

Under Lanzino’s tutelage, the band program in Chicago quadrupled. He also led groups to national festivals at both the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.

According to Lanzino, notable alumni include the first lady Michelle Obama and Michael Jordan’s son went to school there while he was department chair and sang in the choir.

Through one of his friends, percussion teacher Vince Oliver, Lanzino secured an opportunity teaching the jazz program at Saratoga. After reaching out to music teachers Michael Boitz and Jonathan Pwu last year, he was chosen to teach the AP Music Theory class as well as co-teach orchestra with Boitz.

Lanzino said that he knew Saratoga High was a great school with a strong performing arts department, but he was surprised at how close students are to the school and community.

“[Students’ bonds to the community] are something that is way above any other school I have worked at and it has been great to see and be a part of,” Lanzino said. “I also cannot believe how many people that work here went to school here; it is a real testament to the community and the experience that students have while attending school here.”

Hsu, on the other hand, got his opportunity as a student teacher by chance in the lobby of a concert hall.

I was watching an open rehearsal on Mahler [Symphony No. 3] when I ran into [Boitz],” Hsu said. “I knew him from county honor band back in high school. He asked me what I was doing with my life. I said I was getting my teaching credential and he said, ‘You should come [to Saratoga].’”

Hsu realized early in his life that he enjoyed teaching and went to pursue his undergraduate degree at San Jose State University, where he played tuba and served as a drum major for the marching band.

“Helping people brought a lot of joy to me, [and] teaching brought a lot of help to people,” Hsu said. “I was lucky; a lot of people don’t know what they want to do in college, which means I got very lucky that I knew what I wanted to do.”

Hsu was originally brought in in the spring to help low brass members improve their playing, but when he helped the low brass prepare for the Spain tour, he was impressed with what he saw and decided to stay. Hsu would like to officially join the staff when he gets his teaching credentials.

“[When I came in,] Ms. Hasegawa appointed me with a folder with all the scores, not just the parts, and I was very impressed [with the difficulty of music],” Hsu said. “[The music department] seemed like a well-organized, well-oiled machine, so I thought that was very impressive.” 

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