In a PCC music room, a trio plays live jazz music. Occasionally, there is break and a soft voice is heard suggesting a different emphasis or tempo be tried next. Inside LL104, marching band director and music instructor Kyle Luck sits at a drum set, flanked by jazz studies students Lucas Dedmon and Isaac Lopez, on the double bass and guitar.

Luck says he’s thankful to be here.

“I love this institution,” he said. “I came here [in 1982] because I wanted to be in the marching band for the Rose Parade.”

He attended PCC for more than three years before moving on to Cal State Northridge to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Luck now leads the marching band in the Rose Parade.

He earned a master’s in music at USC in 1998, and worked as band director at two local high schools before returning in 2006 as PCC’s marching band director.

Best thing: “[At PCC], there wasn’t one instructor I didn’t thoroughly enjoy and learn from. They really cared about the students.”

Worst thing: “[In 1982], the system was set up so you had to go to the college in the district you lived in. I could take only six units here and had to take all my other classes at Glendale City College. That [requirement] was lifted my second year but the first year, it was a drag because I really wanted to be a full-time student here.”

Most interesting thing: “There were so many incredible opportunities [at PCC]; I felt like a kid in a candy store. I played in the marching, concert and jazz bands, and was also in the percussion and chamber ensembles. [There was] a really great group of students here. I learned from them as much as I did from the faculty.”

If I could go back and change one thing: “I never missed my rehearsals but I wish I’d taken my general education classes a little more seriously. [As a result] I had to work a lot harder at Northridge.”

What I know now I wish I’d known then: “I wouldn’t be so choosy. I would take my classes much more seriously and learn everything I could [at PCC]. A perfect example was when I got in the real world. I found out I wished I’d taken choir because, in my first teaching job, I was a choral director.”

Student opinion: “He’s fantastic. I had him only for jazz combos, but he’s always around as a mentor and coach,” said 22-year-old jazz studies major Isaac Lopez. “He’s an awesome drummer.

The 1987 photo, courtesy of Kyle Luck (left), depicts the director of bands during a performance at Walt Disney World. The current photo (right), shows Luck on a drum set. (Natalie Sehn Weber / Courier)

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