Be the Change: Becky Huskey – Giving The Gift Of Music

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Becky Huskey, music teacher for Tehama County’s  Antelope School District, offers the joy of music to her students and loves it. “I am honored and lucky to be a music teacher. Music education is so important,” she says.

And the students feel just as lucky. “I love learning the songs,” says Haley.   “Yeah, it’s a lot of fun,” echoes Payton. Both children attend fourth-grade guitar class. “I like it too,” chimes in Keegan. “It’s really hard though.”

Whether guitar is hard or not, Maxine Barrett, former chief business officer for the district, says, “I’ve known Becky for over 30 years. She makes music fun for the kids, and they respond well to her.”

Becky started teaching at Antelope Elementary School in Red Bluff in 1981 in a learning disability special day class. During her eight years in that assignment, she volunteered to teach music and choir to all students during her recesses and at lunchtime; that was the beginning of her journey to becoming the school’s music teacher.

art-115-btc2“John Gonsalves, long-time North State resident and my teaching mentor, taught band for the school part-time,” says Becky. When John retired from his position, Becky was offered the opportunity to become the school’s full-time music instructor. For the past 34 years, giving the gift of music to kindergartners through eighth graders and seeing them succeed has fulfilled her professional desires.

School principal Rich Hassay says, “Becky’s passion for music and her dedication to the students has touched many lives and created life-long memories.”

Shelli Woolery, school secretary, couldn’t agree more. “I’ve known Becky forever! I went to Antelope School as a child, and my children also attended there. She’s a wonderful teacher and always wants kids to succeed and have fun.”

Sixteen years ago, one of the fun things Becky did was begin a fiddle program for the school. She and her daughter were taking fiddle lessons from Pat Scott, who later became Becky’s close friend. They thought fiddle would be a good addition to the existing curriculum. Pat now donates time to the program. “Pat loves the kids, and we couldn’t do without her,” says Becky.

The admiration is mutual. “Becky gets children to do more than I think they’re capable of and brings out what we’re aiming for. In my personal life, she listens to me and is my shoulder to cry on. Everyone needs someone like that,” says Pat. 

Becky was raised in the San Bernardino Mountains. Her father was a band director, and Becky fell in love with music at an early age. When she turned five, she began taking piano lessons. She played oboe from fourth grade through college, participating in her father’s band. Following high school graduation, she attended Valley Community College and majored in voice and piano. After transferring to University of California, San Bernardino, she continued in voice and received both a single subject and special education teaching credential.

During her college years, she met her husband Tom. They both knew that city life was not for them and in 1981 bought land in Cottonwood. “We homesteaded,” says Becky. “We built everything ourselves. Our home and ranch is constructed from our own hard work.” Becky even made the stained glass windows in their house.

While constructing their home, Becky and Tom started their family. They have three adult children, two of whom are twins. “The family is the joy of my life,” says Becky. “I dream of having grandchildren and one day having everyone come and live on the ranch.”

She recalls that it was difficult living in a home continually under construction, but adds, “The kids say that made it the best times ever!”

Becky plays accordion in the four-member band “Loosely Strung” that includes her friend Pat playing fiddle. A guitarist and bass player round out the group. “We donate a lot of time to convalescent homes and fundraisers,” she says. “We also do paid jobs for events like birthday or retirement parties.”

When not participating in music, Becky crafts greeting cards, raises lavender, creates stained glass, and enjoys life on the ranch. “I live life to the fullest and strive for happiness,” she says. “Life is what it is, whatever it brings, and happiness is the key.”

Becky Huskey can be reached at Antelope Elementary School, (530) 527-1272, Ext. 109. 

The mission of our Be the Change column is to feature community members from the North State who are actively making a difference in community life. If you would like to nominate someone who is making a difference, please write to pn@northstateparent.com.

Carolyn Warnemuende
About Carolyn Warnemuende

Author Carolyn Warnemuende has two daughters and five grandchildren, and lives with her husband in Redding. She writes parenting and educational articles, sponsors a school in Uganda, and visits Africa twice a year. She receives great joy in taking daily care of her four-year-old granddaughter who was adopted from Ethiopia.

Comments

  1. She was the choir teacher at Berrendos while I was a student there. I was her only violinist and I was ecstatic to be able to play. Not one school before then had any program or even made a in this area had place for a stringed instrument, but she was open to the idea and I loved it. I am excited to see she has an entire fiddle group. She was and is now a fabulous teacher.

  2. Kenneth Huskey says:

    Wow, that’s my beautiful and loving momma:-) Such a wonderful article. Thank you!

  3. Bette Narbaitz says:

    I’ve enjoyed Becky professionally and socially for many years! We met through Mt. Lassen Orff Schulwerk Assoc and worked hard on the board to bring music teachers and trainers to workshops for Northstate educators.I learned so much from Becky’s workshops and model lessons as she spreads her passion and love for music. We also had some wonderful trips to National Orff workshops. Now that I’m retired we continue our friendship and play in a “Ukuladies” group for area events and our own enjoyment. I know her students are so lucky to have her as a music instructor and have learned life long skills and a love for music from her. Many thanks to you, Becky!!

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