Dude Rock disciples petition to keep instructor

Professor Alan Waddington, pictured in the center, alongside the students of Dude Rock after the class’ end of the year performance “Dudestock” in the Campus Center. Music major Don Peña, pictured on the far right, began the petition to keep Waddington as the instructor for Dude Rock. (Evan Solano/Clarion)

By Macy Olivas | Staff Writer

A petition to keep the instructor of the foundational section, popularly known as “Dude Rock” has collected more than 200 signatures in six weeks.

Music major Don Pena created the petition in mid-July to try and save professor Alan Waddington from what has been described as the impact of budget cuts.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, Waddington cannot work more than 40 hours per week without receiving overtime.

The college would have to pay a rate no less than one and a half times the regular pay rate, an expense the college cannot support.

Dude Rock is designed to help emerging musicians experience a real band environment and become comfortable performing live. Julieta Wood, endorser of the petition said, “Professor Waddington and Dude Rock have been a most essential part of my growth as a musician. He is one of the most dynamic, knowledgeable, and relatable professors at Citrus College.”

The petition was initiated to show the dedication in Waddington’s students and the seriousness of the class.  Pena said he got the idea talking to a student at Dudestock, a showcase performed in June in the Campus Center.

Pena says that Dudestock was created to expose the talent of the members of Dude Rock.

“It showed what we can do,” Pena said. “It showed that we are serious musicians and that there’s a lot of hard work that goes into that class.”

According to music major Yuri Oatis, Dude Rock corresponds with all different genres of music. “We’ve got country singers. We’ve got people coming in there singing Lorde. I sing metal. It’s so diverse,” he said.

“We’ve all earned each other’s respect and we’ve all become accomplished musicians.”

Musicians in the Dude Rock program are not being taken seriously by administration, Pena said. “It always comes down to the element of what that class is perceived as. We wanted to make a point,” he said.

“Just because you have long hair and you dress in black does not mean you’re not a serious musician.”

Waddington is well-known for his unique teaching strategies and inspirational rock ‘n’ roll mentality. A main founder of Dude Rock, his philosophy is simple. “I let them choose music they enjoyed to play and then showed them methods of how to analyze, prepare and execute,” he said.

According to Waddington, his being cut from Dude Rock seemed to be something that no one wanted to happen.

“The petition says something about the character and the bond of the students that were in the class. They have pride, they are resourceful and they are working with a system.”

“I love those students,” he said.

Robert Slack, the dean of fine and performing arts, concurs that cutting valuable employees such as Alan wasn’t a decision the district wanted to endure. “Nobody fought harder for this than I did,” he said.

Slack tried to keep Waddington as the instructor of Dude Rock, “However my hands as a dean are completely tied.” Slack said.

Waddington was touring with rock bands before he began teaching at Citrus. “I wanted to get back to playing jazz and other music so I came to Citrus,” he said.

He contributed to the development of curriculum in the jazz program and formed a friendship with Slack, who eventually hired him as a student worker in 1987.

Waddington became an official employee in 1992, started working full-time in 1998 and has been a classified professor at the college ever since.

Slack hopes that Waddington will still help with Dude Rock as a teaching assistant, “I have nothing but incredible respect for that man,” he said.

This is not the end for the members of Dude Rock.

According to Oatis, the reasoning for gathering signatures was to “make noise and get people to realize that we don’t want another teacher,” he said. “As far as getting him back, that could take a year or two.”

“People should be restless and not okay with the fact that these changes have happened. There needs to be a type of anarchy.”