Cholla High School students performed at Bookmans Speedway on June 14, but it was no ordinary performance. These extremely talented and brave young musicians lost their instructor, mentor and friend on June 11. David McClung passed away suddenly but the impact he had on his students was profound and long lasting. David McClung taught at Cholla High for 9 years and touched many lives — none so much as the students he mentored with his Blues Music Standard band.

Cholla Blues Standard

As part of Cholla’s enrichment program, which exists due to a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, The Blues Standard was the brain child of McClung and Aaron Kalish. The after school program is in its fourth year and going strong. Its creators wanted to bring students and educators together outside the classroom. Current director and best friend of McClung, Bill Greenberg says, “It is a way for students and teachers to see each other in a different light.”

This program is one of many offered by Cholla and aims to expose students to the creation, history and playing of Blues music. After their shocking loss, students were asked if they wanted to go forward with their plans to perform at Bookmans Speedway. The answer was immediate and unanimous; they all wanted to play. They felt it was the best way to honor their friend and instructor and, as Bill Greenberg explains, “When you are a musician you just want to play, so we play.” What resulted was a touching and fitting tribute to a long-time musician and English teacher, a way for the students to honor Mr. McClung and to mourn together by playing.

If you missed the performance you have one more chance to support these accomplished young musicians; they will be at Bookmans Ina on Saturday, June 28.