With his hands folded on the desk reflecting a friendly and welcoming demeanor, Kyle Luck, the director of bands at PCC, describes his position as a dream come true.
“When I was a student here back in the mid-80s, I knew then that my dream job was to be the band director at PCC,” Luck said. “The irony was I thought it was never going to happen, it was a pipe dream at the time.”
Luck applied for and got the job in 2006. A passionate percussionist, Luck has been practicing music since middle school, but he did not always get to bang his drums in a marching band.
“I started playing the flute in middle school,” he said. “I was such a shy kid, I didn’t try out for band in elementary school, I didn’t know how to do it. I really wanted to play drums, but I walked in there and the band director said ‘well I don’t really want you to play percussion play a different instrument’ and the only instrument I could get a sound out of was the flute.”
After three years he moved on to being a fulltime percussionist by the 9th grade.
“I auditioned for [the Tournament of Roses Band] my first year of high school, and I didn’t make it. I didn’t make it in the band I was going to direct,” Luck said.
Years later, as part of his responsibilities as band director, he now leads the Tournament of Roses Honor Band.
“It is a huge amount of work and it’s not without its own stresses but with all that comes a great deal of joy, and satisfaction,” he said. “The outside has no idea how many hours of preparation that goes into putting on this two hour show. We take a group of students who have never played together before, and within two months turn them into a world class marching band.”
Luck’s passion and dedication to pursuing his career as a percussionist is what originally brought him to PCC back in the early 80s because he wanted to march in the Rose Parade. Getting his degree from CSUN, Luck went straight into teaching after graduation.
After 18 years as a professional educator, eight of those years spent here at Pasadena City College, it’s a wonder that he still has love for his work, and care for his students.
“I love what I do. My children are my inspiration to stay on top of it, I mean I’d love to practice retirement that would be fun too, but you know, the thing I love about this job is being around young people, cause I don’t feel old. There’s a lot of youthful energy here; it’s never boring.”
With personal philosophies such as “it’s never crowded by the extra mile” and “people need love most when they deserve it least,” it’s no wonder that the students here on campus enjoy working with Kyle Luck.
“Kyle Luck’s a great instructor, and a great organizer. He’s brought a lot of really good press to PCC by the Rose Parade,” said Matthew Ellison, music major.
He also keeps class entertaining for his students.
“He’s fun to work with, and enjoyable as a person,” said Joe Wong, music major. “He’s kind of a nerd, talks about Star Wars in class, and makes funny jokes all the time. You can tell that he’s a grown up band geek in the best way possible.“
Whether it’s being a part of the Rose Parade, or flourishing in their talents, Kyle Luck is helping students here at Pasadena City College accomplish their goals and advance in their music while fulfilling his own life-long dreams of being the director of bands and pursuing his music career.