The Grizzly Growl

Meet Mr. Matthews

Photo Credit: Riley Baxter

Photo Credit: Riley Baxter

Riley Baxter, Staff Writer

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It’s the final day of band camp. Mr. Matthews sits perched atop a high platform, watching as the band marches the first two movements of their show. He has spent the past week preparing them for a hopeful, fall marching season.

In the weeks leading up to the end of the 2016-2017 school year, the band program was shocked to hear the news that Jerusha Johnson, the director of bands at Copper Hills for the past four years, was leaving. Her replacement had yet to be announced. In the first week of summer vacation, the student leadership of the band met with John Matthews, a man with extensive musical background.

For Matthews, his love for band started in the 6th grade in El Paso, Texas. Some of the crowning achievements of his career include using his compositional side for the Battalion Drum and Bugle corps, a local “professional” marching band. He once had the opportunity to sit in the Dona Ana Lyrical Opera, the opera company based in La Cruces, New Mexico, where he played the trumpet. Now, he’s the instructor entrusted with taking our band to the next level, and improving the reputation of CHHS.

“I love it,” he said without hesitation when asked about Copper Hills. “I really love it. When I first got here to kinda scope things out before summer parade bands, I got the lay of the land. And when I started seeing the students, parents, the administration… It just feels like home.”

He comes from Arkansas, where he lived and taught for 4 years. “It was a huge transition,” he replied when asked about the move. “Moving out here was probably one of the smoothest transitions I’ve ever done. Living in Little Rock, I had great support with the teachers, administration, church families. Moving out here I felt almost the exact same thing, it’s almost like picking up where I left off.”

The program had made some major improvements under Johnson’s guidance. “It’s really great to come into a band program that’s been improving over time,” Mr. Matthews said about the work done so far. “I feel like there’s going to be a lot of success here for the next several, several years.”

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Meet Mr. Matthews