MBA Music Teacher, Kristian Leukert, Named “Excellent”
Kristian Leukert, AAF Award Kristian Leukert, Director of Music at Monterey Bay Academy, has been named a “Teacher of Excellence” by the Alumni Awards Foundation. Each spring the AAF selects only 10 recipients out of thousands of Adventist school teachers across North America for the award. This marks the 9th time in 10 years that an MBA teacher has received this award. This recognition comes to Mr. Leukert in large part from both the community involvement of his music groups as well as his efforts to minister to local elementary schools through the inception of a beginning elementary band program at MBA.
”It is rare to find a musician like Mr. Leukert who is equally gifted in both vocal and instrumental performance. He is blessed with an amazing blend of talent, personality, patience, and natural teaching ability that allows him to truly inspire his students.” states MBA principal, Tim Kubrock.
When the Salvation Army asked if MBA’s select choral group, Oceanaires, could participate in a concert to kick off their Christmas toy drive, Mr. Leukert said yes. Following the concert, the Salvation Army director said, “The Oceanaires were the highlight of the concert,” and they are eager for MBA to return next year. Mr. Leukert also took students to perform in a benefit for local high school music programs called “Sing for Your Life” at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium netting MBA a check for over $550 to help support music education. Mr. Leukert’s groups also perform in non-Adventist community churches throughout the school year.
Mr. Leukert witnessed a steady decline of trained musicians arriving at the high school level during his 11 years of teaching. He saw that several of our local Adventist elementary schools did not have band programs. Taking action he created his own beginning elementary band that will bring future musicians to the MBA band program. Starting this past fall, approximately 20 students from surrounding schools, as well as home school students, arrived at MBA each week to learn their instrument and play together.
Judy Seagreaves, Principal at nearby VHM Christian School, says “Kristian is truly an answer to my prayers for VHM. While we are all able as teachers to teach children to sing together, we had no way to inspire them to learn band instruments. What a joy it was to hear our elementary students tell me with excitement which instrument they had chosen to learn!”
Mr. Leukert has developed his own program for practical training/teaching to accelerate beginning bands that he hopes to publish one day. He recognizes that our Adventist churches are dependent on the music talents we possess as members and bring to our Sabbath school and worship services. These talents are most often generated at school. “Adventists are known in outside circles as extremely versatile when it comes to music due to the strong music education we provide,” says Kristian. “We can’t allow that to disappear.”
Retired MBA choral director of 30 years, Arladell (Nelson) Speyer, says “MBA music is performing excellently and I feel so very excited about MBA’s future. Kristian is truly a gifted leader who appears to love music, the students, and MBA. We will be excited to watch the music department flourish under his guidance!”