New band teacher brings stability to program


Courtesy Grant Newcombe

Happy about the concert success, Grant Newcombe poses for a photo with his mom.

New band director Justin Snively unlocks his door each morning with a smile on his face, excited to work a job which he describes as “as a dream come true.”

After two years of uncertainty within the band program from multiple directors coming and going, the musicians hopefully have one who will stay. 

“It’s been really nice to work with high-school students as well as continue to teach the beginners the fundamentals of music,” Snively said. “It’s two aspects of the job that not a lot of teachers get to do; either you teach middle school or you teach high school. To be able to teach all the grades at West Shore is awesome.” 

Both students and teacher alike have said that working together from the start of the year has provided a more secure and connected program. 

“Honestly, the older students have been a pleasure to work with because I think they like having the structure,” Snively said. “I think it’s going to be something that moving forward will give them a better start than they had last year.” 

Senior Grant Newcombe has been in band since seventh grade, and said that band students had previously struggled to learn and perform because of the changes, especially beginners. 

“Our band program has really been dragged through the mud in the past couple of years,” he said. “It’s a little bit sad because I feel like Mr. Snively cares a lot and will start to build up the band program again, but of course I won’t get to see that.”

Junior Caleb Alvarez said he is hopeful for Snively’s leadership skills and teaching style.

“I really like this new band director and I think he’ll lead the program into a great new direction, even though I may not be able to see it fully,” he said. 

Junior Jackson Haney, who is a part of symphonic band this year, said students have begun to grasp the songs and music they’ve learned again with their new director. 

“It’s been chaotic with how we’ve been going through band teachers and all,” he said. “I just hope Mr. Snively is here to stay.”   

Last Tuesday, the entirety of the band program performed at the Fall Concert, which the students had been preparing for since the beginning of school. For the first performance of the year, the students were impressed. 

“The jazz band did incredibly well,” Newcombe said. “Their pieces were very challenging and all went really well. I also sang in one of their pieces and that was a lot of fun.” 

By Sofia Palermo