New Hart band director excited to get started.

July 13, 2021

John Breitenbach

New Hart band director excited to get started.

Pirate News is a service of Hart Public Schools in partnership with Oceana County Press. 

By Kate Goodman, OCP correspondent 

HART — The 2021-2022 school year for band students at Hart Public Schools will be a little different this year. For the past 33 years, John Taranko had been at the podium, leading the bands. Following Taranko’s recent retirement, the district has hired Muskegon area native John Breitenbach.

“It is a great community that supports and appreciates the arts,” Breitenbach said about Hart.

Breitenbach is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University. He said he has been involved in music since the fifth grade. Breitenbach said his biggest inspiration in becoming a music educator was his “great [band] teachers,” who helped “influence” him from a young age. “I grew up playing the saxophone,” he said, “playing all the way from fifth grade to high school. And even pursuing private lessons with Dr. Dan Graser of GVSU during my final high school years.”

During his student teaching years, in Fruitport, Breitenbach loved the idea of sharing his knowledge with students. He is excited to begin his career at Hart.

The band program at Hart “has a high level of excellence,” said Breitenbach,“Mr. T (Taranko) is a legend around here and built an incredible program. I feel honored to take over.” Breitenbach explained how he will continue on the programs the band has to offer, like marching band, concert band, and jazz band. When summer winds to a close, Breitenbach will host band camp from August 16-20, in the field of Hart High School. Students will have a chance to learn the marching band music they previously voted on in spring of last year. Selections such as, “Happier” by Marshmellow and “Blinding Lights” by The Weekend.

As the start to next school year quickly approaches, Breitenbach stated he is excited for the band to have “live performances” and “play for a live audience” again. Breitenbach’s goal is to “get to know the kids” and to build a “relationship” between his fellow staff members and students.

With a passion for music, Breitenbach is excited for the start of the 2021-2022 school year. 

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