Blast from the past

Ilmie Xhaferi, Staff Editor

After graduating PV in 2010, Daniel Pasquale has taken over Joe Zajac’s position as Pascack Valley instrumental music teacher following his retirement at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Pasquale is a former band and Bro Squad member. (Contributed by Daniel Pasquale)

Although Daniel Pasquale has always known that he wanted to be a teacher, he didn’t realize that he wanted to become a music teacher until he was a student for former PV instrumental music teacher Joe Zajac and PV choir teacher and Tri-M Music Honor Society adviser Argine Safari.

“I had to figure out what I wanted to teach and that came when I was in high school because that’s when I really fell for music,” Pasquale said. “Thanks to my high school teachers, Mr. Zajac and Mrs. Safari, that’s how I really got my grasp in music. That’s when I put [music and teaching] together.” 

Pasquale never imagined that a decade after graduating from PV in 2010 he’d be taking over Zajac’s job as PV’s instrumental music teacher following Zajac’s retirement at the end of the 2019-20 school year.  

“Zajac’s done a lot of great things for the program and he’s done a lot for me,” Pasquale said. “I can probably make lists and lists of what I remember learning, so I do this [job] as an honor and distinction to be able to keep the program going.” 

Pasquale first became interested in music when he began to play the saxophone in the fifth grade. During Pasquale’s four years at PV, he took concert marching band and joined Bro Squad, PV’s all-male acapella choir group, during his sophomore year. 

“Ever since I could remember, [Pasquale] has always known that he’s wanted to go into music education and no one knows the music department at PV better than him,” Pasquale’s friend and PV alumni Chris Willem said. “He was a great student at PV and he cared so much about the music department.” 

Pasquale plays the saxophone during a band concert. He began learning to play in the fifth grade. (Contributed by Daniel Pasquale)

Despite the hybrid schedule that will take place this year, Pasquale said that he wants to create an “adjusted, flexible, but unique” experience for his students to begin the school year with. Although he is still exploring certain online applications, such as Canvas, Pasquale said he will utilize online tools to accommodate students this school year. 

“We have Google products to use and I know we have different music tools so we’re going to be using the software that comes with that,” Pasquale said. 

Despite not having gotten to know the PV student body yet, Pasquale said that he looks forward to hearing his students play and learning what they can “bring to the table” in order to help them grow. 

“I’m excited to go back to a community that has helped me a lot and to be able to give back and contribute to that community,” Pasquale said. “I’m looking forward to making the connection with band students and all the music students, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do as a band program to grow.” 

Pasquale teaches his band students in the newly renovated band room. This will be his first year teaching at Pascack Valley. (By Ilmie Xhaferi)