Tuesday nights concert at the performing arts center was a big night for student musicians, returning to the regional high school stage for the first time in two years. In was also a big night for the band ensemble’s director, Ray Fallon, who joined the school’s music faculty this fall.

“It’s been so long since we’ve had a proper performance,” Mr. Fallon said prior to the concert. “The students have had enough isolation. Right now, these kids are just glad to be back into creating music with each other.”

Mr. Fallon arrived on Martha’s Vineyard approximately six months before the start of the pandemic. He had never been to the Island before and didn’t know anyone. He was drawn by a job at the Tisbury School, which offered an opportunity to focus on teaching band without overextending to teach chorus or theatre, as is a common practice for school districts, he said.

Mr. Fallon grew up in Boston in a family where everyone played an instrument. His specialty is trumpet and he began performing at age 12 with the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps. During student days at an arts-focused high school and then as a UMass Boston undergraduate majoring in music education, he regularly had free tickets for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Berklee College of Music concerts, and other performances.

“To become a band teacher and be good at what I do, I’ve had to learn more than 20 instruments,” Mr. Fallon said. “It’s a lifetime endeavor to teach all the styles of music that are encompassed in band.”

Mr. Fallon began performing at age 12 with the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps. — Ray Ewing

Since joining the high school faculty, Mr. Fallon has been creating ambitious long-term plans for the program, including specialized ensembles. For this first year, big band, which utilizes saxophones, trombones, trumpets, percussion, guitar, bass and piano, was possible even though many students weren’t even familiar with what the term “big band” means, he said.

Mr. Fallon said he is happily providing musical education and sharing with his students the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and other greats. He also works closely with three of the Island’s middle school band teachers: Ian Lisi, Katie Cademartori and Kathleen Cadorette. They support and helped develop the big band. A percussion ensemble will be added next year, in part because of work that Mr. Lisi is doing at the Edgartown and Oak Bluffs Schools.

Mr. Fallon said he dreams of a pep band that will eventually play at high school football games. He also hopes to be able to create opportunities for students to travel off-Island to hear concerts and play at music festivals for teenagers.

In the meantime, he is focused on helping students thinks flexibly about how to transfer skills from one instrument to another, as is the case with a guitar player revisiting trumpet skills and a flautist training on saxophone.

“This year is about core training,” Mr. Fallon said. “The kids have a ton of talent and we’re molding them to form the group.”

More pictures.