Hoping To Expand the Band, Mr. Ryan Gabbart Finds a Home at La Salle


Lucy MacNeela

After a late start to joining La Salle’s new staff, Mr. Ryan Gabbart is appreciative of everyone’s kindness and welcoming nature.

Lucy MacNeela, Editor

La Salle welcomed several new members to the community at the start of this school year. This story is one of a series of profiles highlighting these people.

Despite teaching only a Zero Period before school, band teacher Mr. Ryan Gabbart still feels embraced by the La Salle community and appreciates that “everyone is extremely welcoming and very appreciative to have me here,” he said. “People are going out of their way to greet me and welcome me, and it’s been really nice.” 

Mr. Gabbart found a love for Portland when he lived here several years ago. After moving back to Texas a few years ago for family reasons, Mr. Gabbart, his wife, and their three-year-old daughter have been anticipating the move back to Portland — another thing delayed by the pandemic — for a couple of years now. 

While living in Houston, Texas, Mr. Gabbart taught band at an elementary school, Western Academy. Although he enjoyed his time working there and loves teaching beginners, Mr. Gabbart said that it has been refreshing to get used to his new role teaching older students.

“I think it’s just surprising how mature the students here are,” he said. “I’ve been [working] in elementary and middle school for a long time.”

He attended the University of Houston for college, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in music performance and then his master’s in music theory. 

Mr. Gabbart first found his love for teaching when he was a graduate student rehearsing with big band and coaching jazz combos. “I’ve always done this in some fashion,” he said. Whether it be for elementary and middle school band or for a college-level jazz band, Mr. Gabbart has been teaching music for much of his life. 

Teaching is something that Mr. Gabbart continued to pursue because of the connections that he could make with his students, and the admiration for music that he could create. “I think the call to become a teacher is really just seeing your students’ victories over the years and the small ‘Aha’ moments that empower them,” Mr. Gabbart said. 

He has taught at many different levels, but his favorite people to teach are beginners. “It’s much more fulfilling to see beginners really gain a lot of knowledge quickly and see the progress [they make] on their own before they leave,” Mr. Gabbart said.

When it comes to goals for the band this year, Mr. Gabbart’s main focus is “to make a band that’s enjoyable and fun,” he said. “This year’s [goal] is to keep it simple and small and just have a dedicated group of students that want to make music, and we’re going to treat it very creatively.”

In the future, Mr. Gabbart hopes to have a group that is larger, but his main concern is having engaged and interested students who want to learn. He wishes to create a community that supports his students and makes the band room a home. 

As a first-year teacher at La Salle, Mr. Gabbart wants to establish strong roots within the community, get to know his students better, and develop a rapport with them. 

“I’m really interested in building on good,” Mr. Gabbart said.