Department: Instrumental Music
Since college and while teaching Mr. Willner has continued playing in various community groups, most notably the San Jose Wind Symphony under Darrell Johnston for 12 years, the professional and now defunct San Jose Municipal Band and most recently the Foothill Symphonic Winds under former Paly director Dave Adams.
Mr. Willlner has had the good fortune to have performed under some of the greatest band conductors of the past century including Dr. Vernon Read while at San Jose State, Col. Arnold Gabriel, and, on four very special separate occasions over a span of twenty years, Frederick Fennell, the band director of band directors. Lessons learned from these and other great masters are passed on daily to students in the Paly Orchestra and Bands.
While still in high school, Mr. Willner spent two years in the Concord Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, winning a national championship one of those years. While teaching at other high schools he also fielded winning parade and field marching bands. He never completely got the outdoor music experience out of his blood so he gets to channel that energy through his work with the Paly Pep Band at the home football games.
Over these nearly thirty years as a music educator, Mr. Willner still gets thrilled every day by the sounds created by his students and the interactions that he is allowed to have with them musically and personally on a daily basis.
Mr. Willner lives in the South Bay in a very old house with his wife of 26 years bassoonist and elementary school teacher Inger and their four children, twins David and Celia and other twins Anne and Isabel. Yes, everyone plays an instrument.