LGHS Music Faculty
We are happy to have Michael Boitz on LGHS's music faculty for the 2023-2024 year. He is serving in his 26th year leading the Instrumental Music Program at Saratoga High School, of which he served as Department Chair for the Visual and Performing Arts Department for 21 years. Mr. Boitz taught in his native Minnesota before arriving to take over the program at Saratoga High School in August 1998. Saratoga High School Instrumental Music Ensembles have developed a reputation for excellence at the state, national, and international level under his leadership. Mr. Boitz’s musical responsibilities at Saratoga High School include overseeing all aspects of the Music Department, involving over 40% of the 1,180 students enrolled at Saratoga High. He has served as Director of Bands 1998-2019 and Director of Orchestra’s 1998-present, and continues to work with both Bands and Orchestras as he did upon arrival 26 years ago. Saratoga High School currently has 4 directors, but Mr. Boitz continues to split his load between the Band and Orchestra program in an effort to keep all aspects of the Saratoga High School instrumental music program vibrant and fully supported. Mr. Boitz has been awarded the Teacher-of-the-Year by the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District, the California Music Educators Association Bay Section Gilbert T. Freitas Award for Excellence in Music Education, the California Music Educators Association Richard L. Levin Orchestra Educator of the Year Award, the California Music Educators Association Band Educator of the Year award, the California Music Educators Association Bay Section Educator of the Year award, the University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award, and has been inducted into the John Phillip Sousa Legion of Honor. Mr. Boitz and his path at Saratoga High School is one of the featured chapters of author and lecturer Scott Lang’s Book, Leader of the Band. Mr. Boitz has led concert tours to Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Slovenia, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Australia. International festivals have included the WASBE (World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles) Conference in Prague, CZ in 2022, Utrecht, NL in 2017, the World Music Contest in Kerkrade, NL, twice the Mid-Europe Music Festival in Schladming, AT, twice the Jungfrau Music Festival in Interlachen, CH, twice the former Vienna Youth in Music Festival in Vienna, AT, and the IMAGO Music Festival in Ljubljana, SI. Performance venues have included the Musikverein in Vienna, AU, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, NL, the Palau de Musica in Barcelona, SE, the Konzertsaal in Lucerne, CH, the Kursaal in Donostia/San Sebastian, SE, the Palau de la Musica in Valencia, SE, the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, AU, and Carnegie Hall in New York. Under Mr Boitz’s leadership, the SHS Symphonic Wind Ensemble has also performed at multiple state and regional conferences, and has earned consistent Unanimous Superior ratings since 1999. The advanced orchestra at Saratoga High School, Saratoga Strings, has performed twice at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago (2014, 2018), and in December 2023 will become one of the few High Schools in the U.S. to perform three times at the 2023 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic. The Saratoga High School Marching Band has performed at both the nationally televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (2012), and the internationally televised Tournament of Roses Parade (2016), along with multiple Bands of America Regional Championships, of which Saratoga was the West Coast Regional Champion in 2015. Mr. Boitz serves regularly as a Guest Conductor for High School and Junior High Regional Honor Bands and Orchestras on the West Coast, presented Clinic Sessions for WASBE (World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles) in Hungary and the Czech Republic, presented Clinic Sessions and Rehearsal Labs at the Midwest Clinic, and serves as Adjudicator and Clinician for multiple associations throughout the U.S. He has been honored to conduct All-State Bands and Orchestras in California, Nevada, Indiana, and Oregon. Mr. Boitz has personally been awarded Honorary Commendations from the City of Saratoga, as well as the Band Program and Orchestra Program at SHS have been awarded Honorary Commendations from the City of Saratoga. Mr. Boitz completed undergraduate and graduate studies at Concordia College (Bachelor of Music) in Moorhead Minnesota and Northwestern University (MA) in Evanston, IL, respectively. His teachers and mentors of greatest influence have included Dr. Mallory Thompson, Dr. Russell Pesola, Dr. J. Robert Hanson, Dr. Frank Bencriscutto, Dr. Lawrence Sutherland, Dr. Ed Huttlin, Mr. John Lace, Mr. Mike Hiatt, Mr. Gordon Nilsen, and Mr. Peter Dahlstrom. Michael Boitz was born and raised in Anoka, MN, and is a proud graduate of Anoka High School.
Mr. Armeen Ghafourpour is a bassist and music educator who teaches and performs in the Bay Area. He holds degrees in Double Bass Music Performance, with a Bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University, and a Master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music. He is also currently working toward a Master’s and Credential in Music Education from San Jose State University. Before joining the music staff at Los Gatos High School, he was a professional bassist in New York, performing regularly with the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes and the Binghamton Philharmonic. As a strings educator, he previously held faculty positions at the Hochstein School and Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY. Mr. Ghafourpour has many years of experience performing and teaching in the marching arts. The highlight of his marching experience was four years as a percussionist in the DCI championship group, the Santa Clara Vanguard, and he has been a part of the educational team at the Vanguard and Vanguard Cadets since 2015. As an educator he works to combine the best of both his musical worlds, as he presents philosophies of focus, work ethic, and dedication learned from the marching arts with his academic knowledge and performance experience of classical music.
Director of Bands
Mr. Ken Nakamoto is proud to be a part of the LG Music Family as the Director of Bands. In this capacity, Ken teaches all three concert bands, jazz band, marching band and collaborates with the rest of the LG Music team. Prior to his tenure at Los Gatos, Mr. Nakamoto taught at William C. Overfelt High School for 3 years and served as their Performing Arts Department Chair. He also had the privilege of teaching the 2022 Open Class Champion Vanguard Cadets. As part of the instructional music staff, he and the rest of the team lead the Vanguard Cadets to their 7th championship title while winning “best music”. Mr. Nakamoto received his Bachelor’s degrees in Instrumental Music Education and Euphonium Performance from San José State University with departmental honors. While at San José State, he was fortunate to study with Dr. Matt Tropman, Prof. Thomas Hornig and Dr. David Vickerman. Currently, Mr. Nakamoto serves as the music director for the San José Metropolitan Band and principal baritone for the 2023 NABBA Champion San Francisco Brass Band. His professional affiliations include the California Music Educators Association (CMEA), California Band Directors Association (CBDA), and the California Orchestra Directors Association (CODA) where he serves as a board member. At the core of his vision, Mr. Nakamoto hopes to bring his diverse experience as a musician and educator to help guide, mentor and inspire students that continue their musical journey through high school. Outside of music, Mr. Nakamoto enjoys spending time with friends and family. In his spare time, he enjoys bouldering and the pursuit of finding all the coffee places in San Jose.
Mrs. Maricel Riley earned her Bachelor in Education in Music, P.E., and Health, graduating cum laude in 1991 from the University of San Agustin, Philippines. In 1993, Mrs. Riley was chosen as a youth diplomat and traveled around Southeast Asia and Japan to promote friendship and mutual understanding among nations serving as the choral director of the delegation. Mrs. Riley went on to earn a Doctor of Education degree from the University of St. La Salle, Philippines, and was awarded the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation for her experimental study entitled “The Effects of the Gestalt-Centered Approach in the Learning of Students in Music.” She served as a professor for 11 years in the College of Education at the same university and in 1998 received its Most Outstanding Mentor Award for her exemplary contributions as an educator. Mrs. Riley joined the Los Gatos Union School District as a music teacher in 2006, teaching general and vocal music in grades K-5 and serving as Choir Director of R.J. Fisher Middle School for seven years prior to her current role as the Choral Activities Director of Los Gatos High School. Choirs under her direction have earned no less than Unanimous Superior ratings in the CMEA Large Ensemble Festival, Music in the Parks Festival and have garnered GOLD as well as Adjudicators Award at the Worldstrides Heritage Festivals. Mrs. Riley made her international conducting debut with the Los Gatos High School Choirs in England in 2014 and in 2018, her choirs performed in prestigious venues in Spain. In 2019, her Women’s Chorus was chosen as a featured ensemble in the California Choral Directors Association All-State Conference in San Jose, Ca. Furthermore, Mrs. Riley made her Carnegie Hall conducting debut with the Los Gatos High Schools Choirs in April 2023. Mrs. Riley is currently the Artistic Director of A Sharp Chorus, a Chinese Community Choir based in Los Altos. She made her debut Concert with the ensemble in December 2022 and in June2023 went with the community choir on a performance tour in Italy and was invited to sing at a High mass at the Vaticans’ St. Peter’s Basilica and participated in 2 international music festivals namely the Joyful Festival in Capannoli in the Italian Tuscany area and the International Music Meeting in Candiana, the Province of Padua. Mrs. Riley is an active member of the California Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education and the American Choral Directors Association(ACDA).