There is a new face in the band department this school year here at Malden High School: Lauren Foley, who was welcomed this year to become the lead teacher and supervisor for the Malden High School Band.
Foley grew up in the small town of LaGrangeville, New York.
Much of Foley’s early years involved music in many ways, and Foley thanks this foundation for her being still involved in music even today. Always loving her music classes in elementary school, Foley decided to pursue music in high school.
Foley explained that her first band experience is what helped propel her to stay with her bright musical passion, “my first band teacher, who was also a flute player, the same instrument as me, was really good at challenging me in ways that I didn't feel bored in class and she really kept my interest up.” Foley expressed her desire to even teach band one day. when talking about her first band teacher, Foley concluded, “I wanted to be like her one day. Now I kind of get to do that, which is really cool.”
Foley also mentioned that the greatest role model she had to look up to in her life was her father. “He was in the military and was very passionate about the things that he did, and usually put all of himself into what he did,” she explained.
When discussing Foley’s own high school endeavors, she summed it up as being a pretty typical high school experience, however, she soaked up every bit of opportunity to play music she could. Foley noted, “I tried to be in just about every ensemble that I could.” Additionally to her high school experience, Foley also thanked her participation in the marching band for some great memories. She commented that the marching band was “Great because we got to travel all around New York and participate in competitions. It was definitely one of the most rewarding experiences I had.”
Foley, recently graduated this year from the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst, where she majored in music education, as well as participating in the marching band. This was an adjustment for Foley because of the immense size of the band. However, she sums it up as being “Family like.”
After searching for jobs, Foley stumbled upon Malden High’s job offering for a band teacher in her search for a position at a school. “I saw the Malden job open, so I checked out the website and looked them up on YouTube to check it out and the music program seemed to be pretty strong.” Foley also noted, “I liked that it was a large school. It feels very familiar coming from such large schools.” Foley also remarked, “Two days later I had the interview, about a day or two after that, I was offered the position, which was really, really cool. And I was very excited.”
So far, Foley has thoroughly enjoyed her experience at Malden High School. Foley claimed, “I really enjoy being here. All of the students I've interacted with have been so lovely, they're all super smart, very capable, and I love what I do.”
Foley believes what she brings to the table includes "A lot of enthusiasm to my classes, kind of instilled from UMass for sure.” Her students would also agree that Foley has done a great job filling the role for the previous holder of the position, Erin O’Brien-Mazza. Sophomore band member Sean Retotal remarked, “She has done a great job, she's organizing everything so well.” He added, “She has the patience to keep up with us.”
Senior Lyra Gold also highlighted, “Miss Mazza was a huge cornerstone of the band community and the high school community in general.” However, “Miss Foley is doing a great job stepping in, you know, taking over a position where the program she's overseeing isn't typical. It's not easy, but she's doing a great job.”
Gold also explained some of the hurdles that Foley has been having to tackle this year: “We don't have the manpower that we did. You know, when I started, and it's been difficult to kind of keep up with how music is supposed to sound versus how many people we actually have to play it. But like I said, it's been an adjustment that we make over time and that we make all together so it's working out.”
Gold concluded in their remarks that “Miss Foley is only four or five years older than us. I think that's a really fun, dynamic to have. I also really appreciate how flexible she is with understanding us and the fact she is doing a job that she's never done before so well.”
Foley admires that Malden High is “One of the most diverse high schools in the state. I love interacting with students who, even if they're still learning English, they really want to learn the music. I love seeing their determination in what we're doing.”
In her final remarks, Foley concluded that the goals she has set for herself while working here at Malden High School are “To build the marching band up a little bit more. I'd love to do field shows. Even if they're just halftime performances, not even like competing or anything, maybe that will be somewhere down the line. But I definitely want to build the band. Get a couple more people in here.”
Foley’s positive attitude and the positive feedback and impact she has already made in her short time at Malden High are just the beginnings of what she hopes to accomplish here.