The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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April 8, 2024

Parents and teachers show passion for music

Musical talent at Whitman isn’t confined to the music hallway, or even to the student body – parents and teachers alike are finding opportunities to show off their musical prowess in bands and singing groups.

Gil Keteltas, father of senior Emma Keteltas, is a member of the Tone Rangers, a D.C. a capella group. The Tone Rangers won the Washington Area Music Association award for best A Capella Recording in 2007 for their CD, “We Think You Love Us (But We’ve Been Wrong Before.)”

Keteltas is a founding member of the group, which was started in 1989. In college, he was a member of the Cornell Hangovers, a subset of the Cornell University Glee Club, and when he came to D.C. he contacted other alumni of the group and started the Tone Rangers, he said.

A lawyer by day, Keteltas is a second tenor and also acts as the business manager of the Tone Rangers, who try to rehearse at least once a week.

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“As official as the ‘Tone Rangers’ sounds, we are a group of people who like to get together for fun,” he said. “Bottom line – I would miss being a part of this group.”

AP Environmental Science teacher Kelly Garton is a drummer, not a singer, but he maintains a similar devotion to music, describing it as an “outlet.” Garton began drumming at a young age and has continued throughout his life, performing in marching bands, rock bands and even as a drummer for the Washington Talent Agency. His recent repertoire includes six years performing at the Bannockburn Spring Show.

“Ever since I was ten, I’ve just loved playing the drums. There’s nothing really more than that; I just really enjoy playing,” he said.

Garton plays in a jazz band along with other adults in the Bannockburn community, including some Whitman parents. He said they’ve been playing for a few years, after finding a common interest in playing music, particularly jazz. Their current name – it’s changed in the past – is Quintessence.

“We all have different professions in our daily life, but we all happen to be really interested in pursuing jazz,” Garton said.

Choral Director Jeff Davidson said there were many options for adults looking for a means of performing. Davison knew of several local singing groups, including a Latino choir, Jewish choir, church groups and women’s groups.

“Just because you haven’t sang or played an instrument in years doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for you, especially in a big urban area like this,” Davidson said.

Garton agrees, suggesting that musically-inclined adults find a group to practice with.

“The best way to get better is to play with other people,” he said. “There’s only so long you can sit in your room and pretend to be a rock-star.”

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