An award-winning musician and retired music teacher, Kyle Mitchell Pugh Jr. spent 50 years of his life inspiring and mentoring students in Spokane, Wash. The music bug was crawling inside Mr. Pugh way before he ever picked up an instrument; his father played the violin and guitar, and his mother was a pianist. Highly skilled as a tuba player, Mr. Pugh joined the Spokane Symphony Orchestra in 1958. Afterward, he began performing with the Jim Baker Orchestra as a bass player. Mr. Pugh continued to hone his understanding of the music industry through his position as a recording associate for Century Records. Over the course of a half-century, Mr. Pugh performed with the Many Sounds of Nine Orchestra, the Russ Carlyle Orchestra in Las Vegas, the Doug Scott Cabaret Band, the Spokane British Brass Band, Bruce Davis’ Variety Pak, and the Master Class Jazz Orchestra.
In 1976, Mr. Pugh diversified his professional credentials when he began a three-year stretch as the band teacher at Garry Junior High School. He then went on to serve as the band teacher for several elementary schools band programs in the Spokane area. Mr. Pugh became involved in the education sector because he wanted to pass on his knowledge to students. With music being a universal language that transcends cultural boundaries, Mr. Pugh was able to achieve greater opportunities to share his expertise and impact the musical aspirations of young instrumentalists and vocalists.
A certified teacher in the state of Washington, Mr. Pugh prepared for his career by investing his time into his own education; he earned a Bachelor of Arts from Eastern Washington University in 1975. Active in various local music projects in his community, Mr. Pugh has participated in initiatives with the Lilac Bloomsday Association and the Mentoring Music Organization for Young Students. His professional affiliations have included the American Radio Relay League, the Washington Education Association, VHF Radio Amateurs, Dial Twisters Club, and the Eastern Washington Music Educators Association. Additionally, Mr. Pugh is a lifetime member of the American Federation of Musicians.
When asked of the highlight of his career, Mr. Pugh is inclined to name more than one event, but he reflects on a special time in his life. “A highlight of my career was playing in a band at the Dunes Casino in Las Vegas,” he says, adding that he also directed a musical segment on “The Lawrence Welk Show.” He is proud to have played alongside famed country music singer Jimmy Dean and other famous musicians over the decades.
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