Creativity continues to flow for retired district arts coordinator
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Westborough – After serving 14 years as the Westborough district coordinator of fine arts, David Jost retired at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. His creative juices, however, continue flowing as a seasoned instrumentalist on clarinet and saxophone.
“I'sl remain active as a musician,” he said. “I truly still enjoy playing my instruments.”
His interest in the performing arts began at an early age while growing up in Framingham.
“There was always music playing in our house,” he recalled. “My father played trombone and enjoyed classical music. He had a great stereo system and would play the broadcasts from the Boston Symphony every Saturday afternoon. And my mother enjoyed acting in community theater throughout her life.”
Jost played the recorder in kindergarten and first grade. Then he partnered with a buddy who played violin and they performed duets. By third grade, he taught himself how to play clarinet.
“Then in middle school I switched to saxophone because saxophone was cool,” he said with a laugh.
While a musician in elementary school, Jost met his first musical mentor, Dr. William “Bill” McManus.
“Bill started a community band for kids in Framingham called the Blazers Band and he encouraged me to play with them,” he explained.
At the time, McManus also worked as the Westborough district music coordinator, essentially the same position that Jost would later hold.
In 1978, Jost began teaching music in Maynard, where he held several positions in the elementary, middle and high schools.
“Maynard was a great place to start teaching music,” he said. “Most of the high school kids played in the band.”
Four years later, budget cuts in that district caused him to lose the job. Jost packed his clarinet and saxophone with plans to perform with a travelling band. Then he heard from McManus.
“Bill called me and said, “I understand you got cut in Maynard; I have a job interview for you at the middle school in Westborough,”" Jost relayed. “I told him that I couldn's because I was going on the road. He asked me to do the interview and then make a decision. I was gigging every weekend. I needed to decide whether I was going to be a professional musician or a teacher.”
Jost decided to accept the teaching job at the middle school in Westborough in 1982. He was transferred to the high school during the 1986-1987 school year, and ultimately became the district fine arts coordinator. During those 14 years, Jost is proud that the music program at Westborough Public Schools has been honored repeatedly by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).
“At least seven times in the past 14 years, the Westborough schools have been recognized as one of the best communities for music education in the country by a survey done annually by NAMM,” he noted.
Jost plans to continue gigging in retirement. As half of a jazz duo with guitarist Don Ryan, they perform regularly at the Fireplace Room at the International Golf Club in Bolton. He also plays with the Fantasy Big Band with bookings this summer in Westborough, Milford and Hopedale.
He's pleased that retirement will allow for more travelling and family time. In at least one case, he can combine the two interests because his daughter is studying theater at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“I's particularly looking forward to travelling out to L.A. to see my daughter performing theater,” he said. “I's also love to go see my students” performances. With my evenings free, I can go and see the kids I'se watched grow up through the program.”
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