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Stingaree X 4

By Elizabeth Rivas, Staff Writer

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They say Stingarees like coming back to Miami High, and then there is Class of 1985 alumna and current band director Ms. Denlinger (Ms. D.) back to Stingtown for her 4th time.

 

Coming back home!

Ms. D. had already been the band director at MHS from 1989 to 1999, but then took four years off from teaching and later came back to teach ESOL and Special Ed from 2002 to 2007. She later took a job as a band director at Coral Way K-8 for the next 8 years. She was then asked to help rebuild the band program at Palmetto Middle School, where she stayed 2 years.

After succeeding at Palmetto Middle School, she became homesick and wanted to come back to her old neighborhood. She got interviewed at MHS for ESOL and Special Ed in June of this year, but she was also offered a band director job at Shenandoah Middle School. However, in July she got an unexpected call offering her the band director job at Miami High for a 2nd time in her career.

As the director of the Million Dollar Band, she wants to add more emphasis on symphonic band while still maintaining focus on marching band. She believes that only with a strong symphony program can the band be taken to the next level.

 

Life as a Student

As a kid, Ms. D. attended Coral Way K-8 Center for elementary and Shenandoah Middle School. Later at Miami High, band took pretty much all of her time. She was part of the Million Dollar Band and ÉTUDE, a band service club. She was assistant drum major her junior year and drum major her senior year. She was also the president of ÉTUDE her senior year.

In the summer before leaving for college, she wanted to buy a car so she got a job serving drinks at the concession stand at the Seaquarium. She was finally able to buy a car, but it broke down two weeks after. Her parents felt bad for her so they got her a black 1979 Datsun 280Z with gold rims.

She earned a music scholarship to UF for oboe, where she studied criminal justice and education. She later chose education over criminal justice because she couldn’t let go of music. In fact, she can play the piano, oboe, saxophone, and a little bit of drums. “I was scared to never play again,” she said.

 

Becoming a music teacher

Music has played a huge role in her life since she was a child in Long Island, New York where she would sit next to her blind cousin while he practiced violin. She would hold a butter knife and a saucer on her shoulder to imitate him. Her cousin ended up receiving a full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music.

After graduating from UF, she was going to attend law school but MHS principal at the time, Mr. Diego Garcia offered her the job as Miami High’s band director. Even though becoming a band director was unexpected, she loved and still loves her job. She likes watching kids progress from sounding not so pleasant to incredible while supporting each other.

Of course, she dislikes some things that come with this job. She doesn’t like when kids let the band down by not doing their part, but she says it doesn’t happen often. In fact, because she is always prepared, she has backup players set up to cover their parts.

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