Letter: To Laguna Beach Music Lovers

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I speak on behalf of so many musicians and music lovers in the city of Laguna Beach when I say that the strange maneuverings regarding Roxanna Ward’s employment at LBHS give cause for concern.

I am the President of LagunaTunes Community Chorus. I was the PTA President at LBHS in 2006-2007. I am the daughter of Carol Reynolds, former Artist of the Year in the Patriot’s Day Parade (for her accomplishments in music), founder of the Laguna Concert Band, and retired chorus teacher of 35 years.

I’d like to express how disturbing it is that the choral program at the High School is treated with such disregard. It has come to my attention that Ms. Ward has been demoted to “accompanist.” I have a high regard for accompanists. They have their own position of value in the music world. But that is not what Roxanna does. Yes, she can accompany. But she also teaches. She inspires. She finds talent where someone might not think they have it. She carries kids from the baby steps of learning to sing, to performing on the stage for parents and community. When you are a musician of her caliber and a person who cares deeply about the kids, you have surpassed the job of accompanist. In addition to that, you know that this new position also deprives her of her health insurance. C’mon, people!

Roxanna Ward has been with the High School for 19 years. I know that she is on the cusp of retiring which makes this decision even more egregious. If you care about this woman who has devoted so much of herself to the kids of Laguna Beach, please give her one more year. Give her the opportunity to go out, in a coronavirus-free environment, next year. Let her have a final concert, a proper send off. That’s all. Is that too much to ask? One more year!

Patti Jo Kiraly, Aliso Viejo & Carol Reynolds, Laguna Beach

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