Larry Thornton was one of the leaders when the traditions of jazz education were just being established in Southern California; His bands from Hart High School in Newhall excelled and were consistent winners at many of those first festivals. Larry was born and raised in Bakersfield. From the time he was nine he was actively involved in the music programs of the schools he attended. He served in the army band at Fort Ord, and still considers this to be one of the best jazz educational experiences of his life.
After leaving the army he continued his education, graduated from Fresno State and began his teaching career in Bakersfield. In 1965 he moved to the Newhall area and after spending four years at the junior high level, accepted the position as Band Director for the Wm.S. Hart High School. He retired from that position in1990 and from education in 1992. Many of Larry’s students have gone on to become highly regarded professionals in the jazz arena.