Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Keynote Speaker Tech Sergeant Peck

Tech Sergeant James Curtis Peck will be the Keynote Speaker at the veterans Day Ceremony at the Mojave Air and Spaceport’s Legacy Park on Wednesday, November 11 at 11 a.m.

Peck graduated Reseda High School in 1959 and became a traveling musician with a dance band playing one-nights all over the country. He entered college in 1960 as a music major and was offered a saxophone position with the 562nd U.S. Air Force Band, Van Nuys, California and served 9 years. He also played with many other bands including Wingy Manone, Bob Crosby and the Barnum & Bailey Circus Band. Peck appeared on the Lawrence Welk Plymouth Show and did sideline work on “My Little Margie” and the Donna Reed shows and on the movie Manchurian Candidate. He formed the Musicmakers Band in 1987 under the name Curtis James.

After graduating from San Fernando Valley State College in 1965, Peck began a 36-year teaching career in music. He taught public school full-time in Las Virgenes USD until moving to Madera USD in 1979 due to Proposition 13. He finished Masters Degree in 1975 and began teaching other part-time music positions at Madera and Clovis college centers through Reedley College, California Lutheran College, and for six years directed the Merced College Concert Band.

After retiring twice, Peck moved to Bear Valley Springs in 2001. He substituted at Tehachapi USD and taught a class through Antelope Valley College. He took over the music ministry at Bear Valley Church for 10 years and has continued playing with the Curtis James Band and joined the Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra and the Tehachapi Pops Orchestra on clarinet. Peck recently became one of the directors of the T-Pops Orchestra conducting several programs until the Coronavirus pandemic hit. Performances have been affected to the point that the Symphony played a concert on November 1 at Country Oaks Baptist Church which was live-streamed over the orchestra’s website.