OAKDALE -- Oakdale High School's band and chorus instructor of 25 years is retiring today. Ron Quintanal, 62, has taught about 6,000 students throughout his career and averaged 80 hours a week working on band and chorus projects.
"Mr.Q" will lead the band for the last time today as the last group of students he has molded into musicians walks across the stage for graduation.
Quintanal talked this week about his career.
Q: Except for a short stint in the Castro Valley school district, you've taught here. What made you stay for 25 years?
A: I'm a city boy in the country, but it just felt right. And this is a one-high-school town. There's no competition, except for Sonora, occasionally.
Q: What was the height of your career?
A: Playing at Carnegie Hall. It's a historical place. Our vocal jazz group performed with several other schools. It was a great experience being in New York. We're kind of isolated here. They got to perform with others like them. And I saw what other teachers had to deal with. So I realized we're all in this boat together. We have the same problems no matter where we're from.
Q: What's next?
A: Everything (teachers) do is by bells. So now I'll be able to go to the bathroom when I want, not when a bell rings.
Seriously, I'm going to spend more time playing (trumpet), and travel with my wife.
I'll still be working with the Oakdale Community Band and bringing in guest artists. People don't listen to enough live music. So I started bringing in musicians. We were the Gallo Center before there was a Gallo Center.
Q: What advice do you have for teachers new to the field?
A: Make time for your family. Don't spend so much time with high school kids that you forget you have kids at home.
Bee staff writer Eve Hightower can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2382.