According to Orlofsky, they were good, and he has the pedigree to make that kind of assessment. The award-winning director of instrumental music just finished his final year at George Stevens Academy after a 34-year stretch, rounding it out with three top finishes at the 2021 National Jazz Festival on May 22, where Orlofsky won the Jazz Educator Award.
Orlofsy studied music at the University of Maine and went to graduate school for music education and performance at Bowling Green State University. Then, he went on tour. “One summer evening, there was a knock on my apartment door,” said Orlofsky. It was a friend asking him if he wanted to join a band and hit the road. He did, for three years. They played college towns and the disco, rock and funk music that was in demand. “But our love for all those players really was jazz,” he said.
Orlofsky always wanted to be a band director, but he did briefly consider pursuing fortune and fame in the music industry. “I suppose I had dreams of that,” he said, but they faded after a few players left his college band in a lurch. “I just wanted to play,” he said. “I guess I was a blue collar musician.” (As a blue collar musician, Orlofsky still holds down steady gigs.) So, after three years of rock and roll, he decided, “Okay, it’s time to get back into teaching.”
That career lasted 43 years, starting at Fort Fairfield. Then Orlofsky’s wife, Carol, took a job at Mount Desert Island High School, so he interviewed at George Stevens Academy and Deer Isle Stonington. “It just seemed like GSA was a little more serious about seeing their music program really grow,” he said. “So, I thought, this is where I’ve got to go.”
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