2019 Austen Warburton Community Service Award – David Ladd Anderson

David Ladd Anderson is the 2019 Recipient

When music is in the air look for David Ladd Anderson “Mr. A” who has entertained the community for several decades as a professional musician, band leader, director, and music teacher with the extraordinary ability to band people together around a shared vision.

David received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music from San Jose State University and has a teaching credential from Santa Clara University. His early bands were one of the very first to perform Jazz-Rock, Fusion and Contemporary Jazz, and shared the stage with some of the greatest such as Benny Goodman, Dave Brubeck, Chuck Mangione, Modern Jazz Quartet, Grover Washington, Jr., Kenny G., Woody Herman, Ray Charles, Hiroshima, and Lee Ritenour, to name a few. Over the years, David Ladd Anderson Music Productions and Laddjazz Records have released over 15 jazz CDs.

Mr. A has played a significant and leading role, year after year, in the musical environment in our community. With his leadership, music education at all levels in Santa Clara has prospered. During his 26 years as director and music teacher at Santa Clara Unified School District, students received a full curriculum of music education and complement of extra-curricular performing groups: Beginning, Intermediate & Advanced Symphonic Bands; Beginning and Advanced Orchestras; Advanced Choirs; Jazz Choir; Total Harmony; Big Band; and Advanced Jazz Band.

The award-winning Buchser Middle School Jazz Band performed Big Band Jazz, Blues, Pop, Swing, and Latin-Jazz music at a very high level and continuously received the highest marks at jazz festivals for over 20 years and has wowed many crowds by performing at citywide special events since 1992. More than 100 of the band’s alumni study music, teach music, and play music as professionals. Buchser Alumni have played in the “Tonight Show Band,” Smokey Robinson’s Band, Carlos Santana’s Band, and many college, high school, and professional organizations.

David’s many awards include an Emmy for P.B.S. Television Special for the live performance of the band called David Ladd & Videojazz recorded at the Montgomery Theater, documenting the important relationships built by artists and communities; The first music teacher to receive Teacher-of-the-Year in the San Jose Unified School District in 1990; City of Santa Clara’s “Those Who Inspire” Recognition Award in 2005; Jazz Educator of the Year 2005; Nominated for the 2006 Disneyland Teaching Award, which celebrates creativity in teaching and the ability to inspire; And, City of Santa Clara Mayoral Proclamation in 2017 in recognition of his music legacy.

Mr. A is a leader who inspires teams into something that is more than the sum of their parts and through his nonprofit Music is Special, teaches the value of being disciplined, dedicated, committed, and responsible with the importance of having fun. Under his direction, projects have been organized, sponsored, and administered contributing to the excellence of bands and band music through Silicon Valley and beyond. His music company provides an educational purpose with student bands traveling the world performing as well as special needs bands that perform in the Bay Area o Déjà vu Bands, who traveled and played in our Sister City, Coimbra, Portugal o The Ambassadors, who traveled and played in our Sister City, Izumo, Japan o The Rhythm Makers o The Downtown Allstars o and the Magic Makers, a rock band of kids, most with varying degrees of autism, performing at community events such as Day in the Sky, City of San Jose Disability awareness, Autism PTA, Santa Clara Sister Cities, Area 5 and City of Santa Clara July 4th Celebration. And they performed in Los Angeles in 2014 at the World Special Olympics Celebration.

Besides making music with his students and bands, David continues to be a passionate volunteer helping the “Reclaim Our Downtown” committee, making Mr. A deserving of the 2019 Austen Warburton Community Service Award.