Sorry to be late to the party, but...
All of the comments about his insistence on excellence, pushing all of us hard, indeed. But the method of pushing and insistence was accomplished with the driest wit ever, with sayings memorable (and repeatable) to this day. For example, an unusual way of looking at, and striving for, excellence: "If every practice session is perfect, then when we play perfectly during a performance, we've simply hit our average." On paying attention, and watching the director: "If you fall asleep during a performance, make sure it's with your eyes open and your instrument to your lips." After working for nearly 20 minutes with two orchestra members on a particularly difficult passage; " ...raise it two octaves...and leave it out." On developing our sense of musicality: "Let's remember that the rests are an important part of the music!" And so many more. Thanks for the great memories, and the better lessons.
If you weren't an excellent musician before you met Mr. Emerson, you were definitely excellent after. I spent 3 years with him from '80-83 when he retired, to all of our dismay. In '84, the year I graduated, the new Teacher, Jerry Willis, took over from the newly closed Pacific High school. For several years prior, we had taken home Superior ratings in all our competitions. That year, we lost our rating to Excellent and Good. That just shows you how amazing Mr. Emerson was. Rest in Peace. You are a legend and my hero, Mr. Emerson.
I love that somebody wrote about the "scotch tape and baling wire". That was so Mr Emerson! We always had a great band - we took great trips to San Francisco & Hawaii (my senior year 1975). I love playing to this day! I know we didn't always appreciate the hard work & his pushing, but it got the job done & from what I read, we all realized it eventually.
Mr. Emerson had a great influence on many of us, some posting here whom I recognize and remember from San G from 1968 to 1971. I remember, in particular, a performance we did in competition during 1969 or 1970 where our concert band won a regional competition agains some very excellent Southern California concert bands. That winning performance was a triumphant efforts.
RIP Mr. Emerson - your dedication and spririt live today in many of your students.
I agree with my great friends Steve and Beth. Douglas Emerson was an encouraging, solid influence on my life and my music writing. He taught me the value of personal discipline as well as inspiring a commitment to strive for excellence in all things. I am glad to see he is so well-remembered by those his work as a music educator has touched.
Doug Emerson started our high school days with wonderful jazz during "zero period". Our Stage Band performed for some very special people one evening. They danced and came over to see our instruments up close. This gave us the chance to interact with people that we otherwise would never have had the privilege to meet.
I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Emerson at his home about a week before his passing. We talked about his students over the years and seeing the joy in his eyes was priceless. He told me that he attended a reunion a few years back for Eisenhower HS. He started to laugh and said that the kids are now in their sixties. He was proud of his accomplishments with all he has done and a honorable man. It was a pleasure getting to know you Mr. Emerson. It is now your turn to play music with the angels in heaven. God bless you and your family.
Thoughts and Prayers going out to the family!! I had Mr Emerson in band from 76-78 at San Gorgonio HS. He was one of the best teachers i had while in school, he was very tough as a teacher but it taught me to work hard and i carried that with me into my life as an adult!! So Sorry for your loss!! RIP Mr. Emerson. Joanne Mead
Thoughts and Prayers going out to the family!! I had Mr. Emerson in Band at San Gorgonio HS 76-78 and he was a tough teacher but when i look back he was one of the greatest teachers i had in school, he taught us how to listen and work hard which were great lessons in life!! So sorry for your loss!! RIP Mr Emerson!! Joanne Mead
Mr. Emerson was a HUGE influence in my life as a young musician. He gave me wonderful opportunities to develop my musical and leadership skills, which I have used to my benefit throughout life. He demanded excellence from his bands and orchestras - even if he had to hold us together with "scotch tape and baling wire" (no duct tape yet). He was often met with resistance, until his students found out that they loved being part of something great. Thanks for the wonderful gifts of music, teamwork, discipline and, oh yes, joy in accomplishment. SGHS Class of '72
Am I the only one to remember him teaching 5th grade music at Fairfax Elementary School? I was in a wheelchair and he taught me and encouraged me to keep playing. I did and continued playing at Pacific High with Jack McCollugh and Harry Harbaugh, not to mention and not to forget Rod Van Horn at Highland Junior High. Thanks to Doug, my life has been wonderful and very fulfilling. Thanks for the chance. See you on the other side!
Mr. Emerson was my most influential at San Gorgonio. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to his family.
Lynette Hager (Walker)
Mr. Emerson was my band and marching band instructor from 1970 thru 1972. He will be missed. Our prayers go out to his family....