"Music is the social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is."
James Villegas - Band Director
I have been a part of our music family for many years. In fact, I taught some of our seniors way back when they were in the 4th grade when I was previously the band director at Spring Valley Middle School!
Being in an ensemble is one of the greatest adventures we can have. You start as a beginner learning Hot Cross Buns, or twirling a flag and before you know it you’re sitting with friends and being a part of the greatest music ever, be it from your favorite movie to Beethoven.
My own adventure started in the 5th grade and continued through military bands, Pepperdine University, and Grad school in Western Washington where I studied orchestral and choral conducting while leading the trombone choir, and athletic band. Along the way I marched in the Mid West, toured Japan, sat in with the Count Basie Orchestra, played for a president and even royalty. I started teaching in Washington state, and I’ve taught in the San Diego area since 2004. I even proudly provided a youth marching band and color guard that soon became part of the local Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive Organization that helps to honor WWII Veterans.
Here at Grossmont you can look forward to the greatest halftime shows, parades, orchestral concerts, ROTC events and more… it’s up to you how far you’ll go or what you can achieve. It’s my job to support you and guide you along the way.
Music is the ultimate lifelong learning experience. We learn, we grow, we make friends we call family. At Grossmont we will start you on that journey and set you up for life.
Dr. Evans - Orchestra Director
Karen Childress-Evans, Ed.D. is retired from the San Diego Unified School District as the Director of Visual and Performing Arts. She has spent 50 years in music and arts education as a performer, educator, administrator, coach and adjudicator. Her educational background includes a BA in Music (viola performance), BA in Education, Masters Program in Music Education, MA in Curriculum and Instruction, Ed. Specialist degree in Educational Leadership and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.
As Artistic Director of Orchestras for Grossmont High School (GHS), Dr. Childress-Evans volunteers her time with beginning, intermediate and advanced string players and has built the orchestra program from 8 students to over 40 since 2015. As an enthusiastic patron of the Grossmont Strings, she has written multiple educational grants and is always looking for lucrative performance opportunities in San Diego County for the Footnotes (advanced string ensemble).
Other retirement activities include playing viola and singing vocals in a duet with her husband, Jim, called Sentimental Journey SD, and also in an award winning Folk Indie band, Enter the Blue Sky. Dr. Childress-Evans has performed in a variety of symphony orchestras and ensembles in Washington and California, and has performed in a variety of local venues including Copley Symphony Hall, Mandeville Auditorium, SDSU, Point Loma Nazarene University, USD, the Hard Rock Café, House of Blues and the Del Mar Fair.
Dr. Childress-Evans is a leading expert in arts education and has been honored with a number of prestigious awards including Outstanding Administrator for CMEA, SDCAEA, and SDTEA, and the National PTA, as well as Best Communities for Music Education In America from the NAMM Foundation, and the 2011 National Award for Outstanding Visual and Performing Arts Education from the National School Boards Association and Kennedy Center for the Arts. She is an adjudicator for CMEA-SBS band and orchestra festivals and has judged numerous art and music groups across Southern California. In 2020, she received the Star Volunteer Award for her contributions to the Grossmont Union High School District.
As a strong advocate for music and arts education, Dr. Evans wants to invite any and all students to join the Grossmont Strings family regardless of their abilities. Learning music uses every part of the brain, the only academic subject that does that. Music education supports success in other academic areas, builds critical thinking skills, improves the GPA, strengthens social interactions, and is a whole lot of fun! What are you waiting for? Once you join, you are home.
Tyler Deardon - Marching Instructor
Tyler has been involved in music since the fifth grade with Mr. Villegas as his first band director teaching him how to play the trumpet. As he got into middle school, Tyler joined the first-ever Spring Valley Middle School Marching Band that became well known throughout the community. His interest in music inspired him to learn more about High Brass Instruments and gain the skills needed to play them. As he went into Steele Canyon High School, he was very active in all band events from marching competitions, pops concerts, and musicals. In the fall semester of his junior year, Steele Canyon went to Championships for their show entitled "Toys." With being active in his band, he also found the time to go back and help out at his old middle school by teaching the children the proper etiquette of marching. He helped to inspire and prepare young teenagers for their future musical careers going into high school. Going into college he joined Cuyamaca Symphonic Band for a few years. In 2018, he joined Gold Drum and Bugle Corps for their show called "Through our Eyes" competing all across the United States and winning Bronze Medal in Open Class at the Drum Corps International World Championships.
Ashlyn Fox - Color Guard Coach
Ashlyn is a Grossmont Alumni graduating Class of 2016 as the 95th class to graduate. She joined the color guard at Spring Valley Middle School, a program directed by Mr. Villegas. As an eighth-grader, she was inspired to continue into high school by seeing all the band events guard was a part of. During her years at Grossmont, the team pushed to become the best they could be which succeeded them in getting many awards, especially 2nd place for their division her Junior year, and then 1st place overall her Senior year at WGASC Championships. Never forgetting her roots, she occasionally went back to Spring Valley to help teach and build up both programs nominating her for Best Senior in 2016. After she graduated, she remained to teach at Spring Valley while also joining Alchemy Independent, a performance group that travels and competes to make it to Dayton, Ohio for WGI Championship. After 2 years, she focused more on school gaining her license as an esthetician, and hopes to do more school after the pandemic to further her careers. She has also worked as a volunteer for the El Capitan Color Guard for a season. She is proud to be back and teaching at her alma mater.