Meet Mr. Grigas!

Shannon Marks, Staff writer

Robert Grigas, Saugus’s new band director, had been working with the Saugus Band, helping the students in the marching band and such, for five years prior to his new position as band director.  

Although, few people know who he is. Here’s a little more about this amazing band director.

Grigas, commonly referred to as Mr. G by the students in the Marching Band, has been playing music for many many years. Grigas directs three different bands and teaches two periods of Music Appreciation; a class about learning music and music structure. He has the Marching Band; that lasts through both first and second period. The Jazz Band that takes place in eighth period, and the Salsa Band; that’s after school. Right now, he’s working hard with all of them to create wonderful music to share with the school. He is hoping that in time he will have two Jazz Bands and two Drum Lines.

His Music Appreciation class is much different from the other classes he teaches. He teaches his students how to read and play music. So far, the students have learned about different beats and piano. Moving forward, they should expect a lot more involvement and fun! Not all of the students in that class came into it with musical knowledge though. All of the students are starting at the bottom and working their way up, no matter if they are an experienced musician or not.

Whereas, in Jazz Band, students are reading jazz music and starting to create solos or in other words,  improvise with their music. The instrument collection currently consists of  Trumpets, Trombones, Saxophones;Alto, Tenor, and Bari, Clarinets, Bass Guitars, and Piano. The music is a tad harder than other music that the bands play, but the students in there are rocking it! Grigas has helped the students with his knowledge of music and helps them to help them to understand better.

On the other hand, his third band class, his Salsa Band, is held after school. All instruments are welcome to that band. Things like the Cha Chaa style of music are played. It does feature Improv like the Jazz band, but the style is very different in the ways that the music is presented and felt.  This is a smaller band but the students are just as committed and share the same love for music. 

Marching band does indeed go through both first and second period and sometimes even earlier than that. The constant urge to be at school at seven everyday is something that students in the band must accept to be successful, but Grigas is there along with them. He has been working with all the parts of the band to produce the best music he possibly can. Currently, the band is working on their show piece called “Noc-Turn”. The theme of the show piece is in the name. Nighttime. Grigas has been very enthusiastic about this show and pushes all of the students to learn the hard parts with a passion. “Learn to love to learn.” is something that he tells the students when they are practicing the show. 

Photo taken by Shannon Marks

Mr. Grigas started to learn music in sixth grade after seeing his best friend, Greg Geherin, playing the Clarinet in the school band. After that, Grigas started to learn music and lit the path to his future as a professional musician. His first instrument was the flute and he thought that he was going to be the first male flutist in his small town. He later realized that all genders play the flute. That didn’t stop him though. After that, he began to get his degrees in both music and teaching. He went to three different schools: Mount San Antonio College, Cal-State Northridge, and CalArts. Grigas was actually playing the Euphonium for four years before he went to college and got a scholarship for playing it.

Grigas plays many different instruments including Piano, Marimba, and the Conga Drums but the instruments that he mainly plays are the Vibraphone, Piano, and Tubla (North Indian Drums). “I wanna practice my trumpet. I wanna practice some flute. I wanna learn a little bit of my clarinet. My saxophone isn’t that good; I wanna learn that. So I just wanna, you know, learn the instruments.” Grigas explained. 

Grigas really loves his Band and really wants them to go far. Grigas says, “the Suagus band is amazing. The reason I even stay here is because of the community. The community is fantastic. It’s beautiful. It’s lovely; I love the kids, I love the parents. I think what I want this community to do is to grow and to be known and heard. I want people to know who Saugus is”. Not a whole lot of people know who the band is, but he has hope that in time, more people will.

His plans for the band are championships. It seems simple enough but, when you look at the time and effort, one word takes a lot of time to accomplish. Grigas knew that this job was never going to be easy. He explained that “It’s crazy. It’s intense. It’s interesting. It’s hard. It’s Difficult. It’s fun. I enjoy it a lot”. He stated, “There’s unbelievable talent in this band and it’s just, like, showcasing that talent.” He knows the students here in the band have incredible talent with their instruments and he knows that if they put in enough effort and enough time that they will go to Championships. He said that “There’s a lot of potential and we can go far; just getting everybody to think in the same way. Kind of molding minds” Grigas further explained his plans more, saying, “I would like us to start traveling outside of California. I want to go to Reno Navada, Washington DC, New York, Hawaii, I wanna take us to Texas, I wanna travel around the country. That’s what I wanna do with our band.” 

Grigas loves the students that are in his bands. “I want the rest of the valley to be like, ‘Oh, that’s Saugus; Alright. That’s the one that went to championships. That’s the one that’s tearing it up. That’s the one that does it right. We need to model ourselves after Saugus ‘cuz Saugus knows how to do it.’ That’s what I want.” Grigas explained.