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U'ren Hits the Ground Running with the American Canyon Middle School Music Program
Posted 11/17/22

The retirement of Debbie Walden at American Canyon Middle School (ACMS) last spring left big shoes to fill. Fortunately, Alan U'ren, a talented middle school music teacher with twenty-one years of experience, jumped at the opportunity.

Two factors were attractive to U'ren, the strong music program and the opportunity to collaborate. He noted, “American Canyon is known for their appreciation and support of music. Their support and Ms. Walden’s great work created a thriving program.”  With three choir classes and three band classes, the ACMS program also allows him to reach more students, creating a winning combination that U'ren wants.

The opportunity to collaborate with the American Canyon High School (ACHS) music program was another factor that attracted U'ren to ACMS. He is impressed with the ACHS music program, specifically how they invest in the middle school. U'ren observed, “Jamie Butler and Brendan Day work with the middle school to collaborate and support the program, and I wanted to be a part of that.” The admiration is mutual. “We are thrilled to have Mr. U'ren step into the ACMS Music Teacher position. Teaching all three disciplines (Band, Strings, and Choir) is so difficult and takes years of experience and loads of talent to pull off. Mr. U'ren has all of that and then some,” said Jaime Butler. Brendan Day added, “finding out he was filling the position in a program that had been built up over many years by Ms. Walden was a comfort to me. His years of experience teaching a similar program gives me confidence that he is well-suited and prepared to continue the success that ACMS had found under Walden's leadership.”

U'ren and the ACMS choir perform at ACHS.Caption: Pictured above, ACMS choir students performed for NVUSD staff at our October professional development. Read all about their new director in the NVUSD News.

U'ren sees vertical alignment and continued public performance in the American Canyon community as essential components of a robust middle school music program. Speaking to this point, U'ren shared ways the programs align, noting that 5th graders will get to work with middle schoolers and the middle schoolers will get to work with the high schoolers. “We are also planning concerts with the high school choirs that involve high school and middle school singing together-hopefully with band and strings, too.” Butler, who has already worked with the early flight (0 period) choir at ACMS described them as “fabulous,” adding, “We look forward to hosting the ACMS Choirs on our campus for the American Canyon Choral Day and at our March Festival Concert. ACMS and ACHS are very fortunate to have Mr. U'ren, and we are excited about the possibilities of collaboration for years to come!” Brendan also registered his excitement for collaborating with the ACMS music program, saying, “I am looking forward to coming in as a guest in his band and orchestra classes, and I'm excited to bring our students together to interact and play a piece as one large group.”

Since starting the position in August, U'ren has enjoyed the community support he has heard so much about. He particularly appreciates the many volunteers helping him this year. When asked how our community might continue to help and support this program, U'ren shared, “Attend the concerts to lend moral support to the students and donate old, unused/unwanted instruments of all types to the music program.” With the holiday season upon us, you can do this by attending their winter concert on December 6 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the American Canyon Middle School Gym. While the tickets are free, they ask all attendees to commit to enjoying the entire program.