Faculty / Staff

Joe Ostenson

I started my music career playing trumpet when I was in the 7th grade. My first influence in music was my dad, who was a bugler in the U.S. Army in World War II.

When I entered Hillsdale High School as a freshman in the fall of 1954, I was over 6 feet tall.  My goal was to be a basketball star.  That changed when I tore up my left knee. When I realized I would no longer be playing basketball, I knew I needed a new goal.  That goal would be becoming a musician.  From the middle of my freshmen year until I graduated from High School in 1959, I took every music class I could, I took Concert Band, Jazz Band, Marching Band, Pep Band, Choir and Orchestra.

I continued my musical goal while attending College of San Mateo.  During my Jr. College years, I discovered many new aspects and realized I wanted to be a music educator. I graduated college in 1961.

I enrolled at San Jose State University in the fall of 1961 majoring in Music Education. I graduated in January of 1965.

I accepted a position teaching music for the Hollister School District which began in the fall of 1965. Throughout the years, I have taught Beginning Band, Advanced Band, Beginning Guitar, Choir, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, and Marching Band to public school students in Hollister.

I retired in June of 2010. The 45 years I spent teaching music to kids were the best years of my life. 

Les Pierce

Les Pierce started playing saxophone as a student of Joe Ostenson, and has continued playing ever since. The styles of music played have included everything from rock, country, jazz, big band, Latin and others.  In addition to this, he has been giving private lessons for a number of years, while continuing to Play locally with a number of groups.

Bruce J. Gilsenan

Bruce's Qualifications include playing guitar from 1981 to present, teaching professionally since 1988, playing publicly solo and with various groups since 1988. Bruce also writes and performs original compositions

Some of Bruce's experiences include teaching guitar at Porcella’s Music 2010 – Present, teaching at Hollister/Music Tree from 2009 – 2010, teaching guitar at Hollister Music from 1998 – 2009, Bruce was an Assistant Manager at Hollister Music 1998 – 2007, and has been teaching independently since 1988. Pedagogy Curriculum: includes Theory. proper technique, harmony, songwriting, performance, rhythm, lead, finger style, alternate picking, scales, chords, arpeggios, musical notation, tablature, chord diagrams and music history,Genres taught - Rock, Metal, Blues, Classical, Country, Funk, Latin, Reggae, etc. Bruce attended Gavilan College where he studied Classical Guitar – 1987, and Cabrillo College where he studied Classical Guitar, Jazz/Pop Theory, Songwriting, Jazz Improvisation, Latin Ensemble - 1992-1999

Noelle Sladon

Noelle Sladon is currently a voice, piano, and guitar teacher at Mr. O's Academy of the Arts. In Addition Noelle works as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in a private practice in Hollister.

Noelle has loved and been involved in music and the performing arts since she was a child. During the 1970's Noelle was a voice major at De Anza College in Cupertino CA, Noelle then went to San Jose State University where she earned her B.A. Degree in Drama. Noelle went on to get a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology at National University in the late 80's.

Noelle has performed in various plays including Music Man, Annie Get Your Gun, and Fiddler on the Roof, with the San Benito Stage Company. Noelle has performed in many other plays in the past with other theatre groups in the bay area. Noelle is currently in the Shiloh Band as a lead singer and rhythm guitarist. Shiloh, has had two performances for Mr O's “Save the Music” Benefits in Hollister. In addition Shiloh has played for Ridgemark Golf and Country Club lounge, Paines, Relay for Life, The Emmneus House. and many private parties and weddings. Noelle is a member of Oriana Chorale, and is on their board. Noelle has been a music teacher for over 20 years. Noelle is currently accepting new students at Mr. O's Academy for the summer

Lynn Rialson

My name is Lynn Rialson. I began taking piano lessons at seven years of age and started taking Suzuki violin lessons when I was eight years old. I also studied trumpet for a while.

I met Rebecca Gonzales when I was ten. She played mariachi music and started teaching me mariachi. Rebecca was playing with Mariachi Los Camperos in Los Angeles. She has such a beautiful singing voice and plays the violin very well. She was an inspiration to me to learn all I could. Rebecca now is the leader of a performing mariachi called Mariachi Tesoro in Los Angeles.

The Mexican Heritage Corporation in San Jose had a wonderful mariachi youth program in a dozen schools. I volunteered to teach violin where I met my future husband John Rialson.

We also had a mariachi program several nights a week at the Mexican Heritage Plaza for all different ages to come and learn new songs. I worked with other teachers such as Juan Diaz, Isidro Alvarez, and Carla Diaz.

We worked everyday for a decade reaching thousands of children to sing and play mariachi. I also helped at mariachi festivals in San Jose, Fresno, Salinas, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. I have been teaching violin privately for about three years here in Hollister.

John Rialson

I started taking piano and trumpet lessons when I was about seven years of age. I have always loved music.

I studied trumpet with Henry Weir from the age of eight until I was about sixteen and played trumpet in school bands from elementary school, high school, and college. In college, I took many music classes and was in a school jazz band under Dr. Herb Patnoe that took second place in the National Collegiate Jazz Band Festival in Indiana. I was at Foothill College at that time.

I later studied with Dr. Claude Gordon and later took his class on how to teach brass instruments. I have always had a few private brass students that I have taught over the years.

In the seventies I became very interested in mariachi music. I found some like minded friends and we formed a group called Mariachi Aztlan with Jonathon Clark on guitarr on and Kate Woods on violin. That was a wonderful learning experience. The group became very popular and we were working all the time.

This led to a job with the Mexican Heritage Corporation where I was the Mariachi Youth Program Coordinator. We had mariachi programs in a dozen schools in San Jose.

I also taught mariachi programs at San Jose State University and Stanford.

For more than fifteen years, I have played trumpet with Mariachi California de Javier Vargas and continue to do so.

Arturo Mora

Arturo Mora is our Mariachi instructor/director here at the Academy. With many years of experience, he was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and played with a couple of the most known Mariachi bands there.

He came to the United States and joined a group in Oakland CA. He played with them for 4 years.

He is currently playing with Mariachi California in Watsonville, CA. He is also the current director for the Mariachi Academy Alma de Mexico located in Hollister, CA and in Gilroy, CA.

He has formed a performing Mariachi Ifantil Alma de Mexico that participates in local events and private parties. He can be reached here at Mr. O's Academy or on his cell (408) 401-7537 if interested in learning Mariachi music.

Lucy Rodriguez

Lucy is a Folkloric teacher/ instructor, coordinator of our Mexican folk dance class held in our building. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, she has kept her traditions and culture alive through her dancing. She started her group in the 70's. She started a neighborhood group to show her daughter the beauty of her dancing, then it grew into a community group.

She is an experienced dancer and has danced with local nearby groups. She has taught may generations of our local children and continues to be active in our community with holding performances and participating in local parades and festivals. She can be reached at (831) 207-0699 or lucy.rodriguez1953@gmail.com

Kirk Berkland

Drum Instructor

Special Thanks to Pablo Palancio
Mr. O's Academy of the Arts : 360 Sixth St : Hollister : CA 95023 : 831.636.3813 : 12:30 pm 6:00 pm (Monday Friday)
Email: bandleader_mro@yahoo.com
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