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Maggie Alford, Bear River’s Music Professional

Maggie Alford playing clarinet during a festival in Loomis.

Maggie Alford knew since fourth grade that she wanted to be a musician. She started when Phil Richardson came to Alta Sierra School for a presentation.
“The old band director at Magnolia, Mr. (Phil) Richardson, he’d do this thing for all the surrounding elementary schools where he’d come talk about music and playing instruments,” Alford, a junior at Bear River, said. “He’d do all the demonstrations with the instruments to recruit kids for his fourth and fifth grade band. In the beginning, I was interested in every instrument — trumpet, trombone, flute and clarinet.”
Although she liked many of the instruments, one of them attracted her the most.
“He laid out all the instruments and he asked ‘Which one do you want to play?’ and I chose clarinet because it was the one I was most interested in. He gave it to me and said ‘Play it’,” Alford saidl “I somehow played it the right way on the first try. He was impressed with me and that’s how I started. I went from there.”
Alford continued in band and in sixth grade, she met Samantha Tate.
“Me and Maggie have been friends since sixth grade and we started our friendship because of band,” Tate said “She’s always been there to talk to even when it’s hard. She’s always open to talking even if she doesn’t understand the situation.”
Their friendship has lasted through the years.
“I would say my favorite memory was Playathon at Magnolia with her,” Tate said “I got to see what her process of thinking was and how she worked with the students. We ran around the halls a lot since we were there for around six hours. We argued over sourdough bread for our lasagna which was a lot of fun.”
As Alford continued in music, she branched out to many different types. Her mother, Amy Alford, has been there for all of it.
“She plays tenor saxophone,” Amy Alford said. “She started playing it in the seventh grade, but she prefers the clarinet. She’s mainly just played in school. She played concert and jazz band as well as marching and pep band. She also played in the stage band her freshman year, for Bear River’s Starlite Express (the show choir). She’ll downplay everything, but she’s incredible. My greatest joy is watching her perform.”
In her sophomore year, Maggie Alford joined the McLaughlin Community Orchestra, led by Greg McLaughlin, Sierra College’s band director. She was invited by her clarinet tutor to join and now she plays second clarinet for the orchestra. She’s participated in the Eggplant Festival, Alice Goes to Wonderland, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. She also performed in front of the state capitol in 2023.
Then in her junior year she joined McLaughlin Studios in Loomis. The studio is owned by Greg McLaughlin, and his wife, Nancy McLaughlin. She performed in the Winter Concert as an end-of-the-semester performance.
“I think my favorite of everything that she has done so far was the Winter Concert at Sierra College with a close second to the Nutcracker. But honestly, anytime she plays is my favorite,” Amy Alford said.
Maggie Alford has been participating in Bear River’s music program as well, and Bear River teacher Ashley Petrie has been able to watch her grow this year.
“So far we’ve done all sorts of things for the pep band at the football games and basketball games,” Petrie said. “We had a holiday concert where Maggie performed in the saxophone ensemble. This year she was placed first clarinet.
“She’s very kind and always tries to help other musicians in class. She’s also training to become drum major. She’ll be auditioning at the end of this year to be the leader of the marching band next year.”
Maggie Alford has explored the world of music, and met many people and participated in big performances.
“I have done a lot,” Alford said. “Counting Bear River’s music program, I’m presently performing in three separate groups. It’s a lot of fun. It’s always been fun to piece the music together.
“When you put it all together, band and all, it turns out so beautiful. It’s amazing to look back at where you started and then to look at where you are now.”

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About the Contributor
Emily Tatum
Emily Tatum, Staff Writer
Emily Tatum is a freshman in Bear River High School. She joined the BRCurrent her freshman year and writes stories about the news but also fictional ideas. She is the middle child of three, loves the animated TV show Gravity Falls, and wants to become an author when she's older. She also draws her own characters and some of her favorite fictional characters from different fandoms.
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