Mike Short keeps his activities in time – Orange County Register

Orange’s 2005 Citizen of the Year Mike Short is as passionate about music as he is about providing opportunities for youth.

Short has devoted countless hours in the service of Orange at events like the 3rd of July celebration and tree lighting ceremony.

On Friday, Short took a group of students to watch a live performance by Carol Channing at Chapman University, his alma mater. From 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, he conducts rehearsals for the OHS musical “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” Today he’ll speak at the Orange Unified School District on behalf of music education for students. Saturday, he’ll work a spaghetti dinner to raise scholarship money to take students on a trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City.

That’s in addition to his full-time job directing five choirs at OHS, and part-time job as choir director for the Orange Community Master Chorale and Collegiate Choir at Santiago Canyon College.

Q: How does it feel to be the 2005 Citizen of the Year?

A:It’s been very exciting. There’s been a lot of recognition from friends. They say, “it’s about time.”

Q: What are your views on arts education in public schools?

A: In the Orange Unified School District I’ve helped coordinate secondary vocal music for several years. Right now the funding is cut. The Governor said he’s giving more money. Now our district needs to plan for that. Right now, none of the plans are being made. They’ve just got to plan for success.

Q: Why do you work with youth?

A: I’m pretty passionate about what we need to do with our kids. The reason we’re here is to help our kids grow. I always tell them, “Luck is when opportunity and preparedness meet.” That’s one of my big sayings at school.

Q: When did you first become interested in choir directing?

A: In junior high school I took an instrumental directing class in Bakersfield. The instructor was Charles Theland at Washington Jr. High. He taught us how to beat a four-pattern. It was nothing fancy. He taught us the basics of conducting and let us lead the junior high school band. That was my first opportunity at directing. It was so exciting. It was the National Anthem. It was exhilarating. I’d really like to find that guy. I would just like to thank him for just kind of instilling that love of what came to be my profession.

Q: You became a music major at Chapman College and lived inSanta Anafor awhile before buying a home in Old Towne. What made you decide to settle down inOrange?

A: It’s very important to be a part of a community. My dad always told me, “You need to be a part of a community. You need to be a part of what’s right or you’re going to be a part of what’s wrong.

Q: Is that why you do so much for the community?

A: I decided a long time ago that I would always try to do what’s right. It’s the ten-fold philosophy — “if you put out something in life it’s going to come back to you ten fold.” That philosophy of ten fold has come back and whacked me so many times in the head in a good way. It’s the domino affect, random acts of kindness.

Q: What is the one thing you would most like to accomplish?

A: I want to see a performing arts building — that is my dream in Orange — to have a performing arts center at SCC and a performing arts venue in Old Towne.

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