Teaching at Pinewood

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Cory conducting the Pinewood Singers

A note from Cory on his Pinewood teaching career…

In 1998, I was given the opportunity to create and teach an innovative music program from the ground up at Pinewood School in Los Altos Hills, California, and I loved it… except, of course, all the damn kids.

In five years, Pinewood evolved from a school with no music courses to one with a mandatory freshman music history course, an award-winning choir, a recording studio that released eight full-length student CD’s, and an ambitious musical theater program. I chaired the new Arts, Communication & Technology Department and coached the Varsity Boys Soccer team to its first winning record in years. I take great pride in our accomplishments with my students and fellow faculty, and feel privileged to have been a part of their students’ lives to this day as I keep up with their developments.

Pinewood Singers

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I conducted my final concert as Director of the Pinewood Singers on a beautiful May evening in 2003.

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Into the Woods at Pinewood, with music direction by Cory Cullinan

For this Director and several seniors, it closed four years of hard work and play. For others, it represented one very memorable year that included our fully staged production of Sondheim‘s Into The Woods to standing-room-only audiences on multiple nights; our performance of Haydns Te Deum with the Menlo orchestra and choir; our national anthem performances at basketball state championship playoffs; our master classes and performances at various venues; and our Best Overall Choir award at Disneylands Music In The Parks festival, where we received the only perfect score from the judges and outperformed quality choirs from schools ten times Pinewood‘s size.

Listen to the final song, of the final performance, I conducted as Director of the Pinewood Singers — Dirait-on by Morten Lauridsen

SWARM

Each semester for five loud years, SWARM (Students Writing And Recording Music) students wrote and recorded their own CD’s in our studio at Pinewood, which were then manufactured and sold to the student body. Students learned to compose and record their own music in Pro Tools (the industry standard music production platform), and performed and promoted the music at a concert at the end of each semester. Here’s one student on the impact of the SWARM program on his life.

Listen to the songs my SWARM students and I recorded at Pinewood: