Richard Watson is a native Californian, born in La Jolla. He was the dirctor at El Dorado High School in Placentia, California for 36 years. He is currently retired from teaching but continues to do clinics and honor groups throughout Southern California. Rich received his BA degree in music from California State University Fullerton and a Master’s Degree in Administration from Azusa Pacific University.
Rich has served as a percussion instructor at Fullerton College and CSUF. His private percussion study was with Walt Goodwin, Richie Lepore, Todd Miller, Frank McCarty, and Myron Collins. He has performed with the Pacific Symphony, California Wind Orchestra, Pageant of the Masters Orchestra, the Rams Band, and Tommy Dorsey Reunion Band. He also performed with Connie Stevens, Bob Newhart, Carol Lawrence and for five years was personal drummer for pianist Roger Williams.
Since 1976, he has been performing at Disneyland in shows, special events, small combos, and with the Doc Anello Big Band. He did the U.S. tour of Disney’s “Symphonic Fantasy”. He currently assists in auditioning talent for the parades at Disneyland. Under Mr. Watson’s leadership, the El Dorado Band has won the Queen Victoria Days Parade in British Columbia, won the Sweepstakes Award four times at the Hawaii Invitational, and won the 6A SCSBOA Championships in 2006. In 2000, El Dorado was part of the 2000-piece band that performed at the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
On January 1st, 2005 and 2010, his band performed in the prestigious Tournament of Roses Parade. His jazz bands are amongst the top performers at jazz festivals throughout Southern California, and was the overall winner of the 2006 Reno International Jazz Festival. His jazz band was selected to perform in 2010 at the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, as well as opening for the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. Many of Mr.Watson’s students are now professional musicians and educator’s, throughout the country.
He is very proud of their accomplishments and success. Rich has received the Award of Distinction from the International Association of Jazz Educators, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District’s “Teacher of the Year” in 2005, and the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association “Honorary Life Member” award. In 2010 he was named the Outstanding Secondary music teacher for Orange County receiving the Irene Schopefle Award.