On June 9, Richard Vaughan, Hillview Middle School’s Music Director for 23 years, preformed for the final time at Bistro Vida in grand fashion. The event was jam-packed with community members and Vaughan’s former students and featured performances by the Hillview Jazz Band, Concert Band, and String Orchestra. Vaughan also played the cello in a duet with his longtime friend Michael Ahern.

Vaughan began his long teaching career in 1992, after playing the cello for many years. “I hadn’t planned on becoming a teacher but I realized that making a living as just a performer, especially in the Bay Area, was going to be tough,” he said. “I had completed a teaching credential as part of my Masters while at The Hartt School of Music in Connecticut, but I had always viewed it as a fall-back.”

However, despite his initial reservations, Vaughan quickly fell in love with teaching. “It turned out that I actually enjoyed working with young musicians,” he said. “My first job was a part-time orchestra position at Woodside Elementary. And here I am, 33 years later.” 

In 2001, Vaughan transitioned to working at Hillview and soon became the school’s Music Director. Under his leadership, Hillview built its new performance center, further expanding its music program. 

The celebration concluded with City Council member Betsy Nash presenting Vaughan a proclamation thanking him for his years of teaching and monumental effect on Hillview’s music program and community.

Reflecting on his long-tenured career, Vaughan’s favorite moments are composing, performing, and being with his students. “I just love being on stage and performing, whether it be as a solo cellist or as a conductor. Marching onto the field at AT&T Park with the Concert Band, performing on the Carnation Plaza Stage at Disneyland with the Jazz Band, and doing the Holiday Concert series at the San Francisco City Hall with the String Orchestra are some of my favorite memories,” he said.

In retirement, Vaughan plans to return to his roots, devoting more time to his cello. He said, “With all the new technology, five-string electric cellos, pedals, looping, and the ability to easily record multi-track recordings, I want to explore jazz, rock, and other genres besides classical music.”

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