"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one."
- John Lennon
Composer. Published songwriter. Singer. A longtime teacher of popular songwriting and audio engineering, MiraCosta College’s music and recording arts instructor Christy Coobatis has written music for commercials, Emmy-Award-winning television and feature films. A world-class musician and composer, Christy has served as resident composer for several modern dance companies and scored numerous independent films, including American Addiction, Wager of Love and Ground Rules.
Christy grew up from musical roots in Dearborn, Michigan, amidst a musical landscape which echoed the legendary sounds of rock and roll, Motown, jazz, classical and pop. He picked up his first guitar at age seven, and says, “This is where, “A fire was created in my heart for music.”
Despite his love for music, Christy pursued an education in psychology during the mid-1970s. After he successfully obtained a bachelor’s degree, he stayed at Wayne State University in Detroit and enrolled in the Ph.D. program, where he planned to earn a doctorate in physiological psychology. But because of his burning desire for music, Christy left the program early and headed for an adventure in California to pursue a contract with Capitol Records.
Arriving on the Hollywood New Wave scene in 1978, Christy faced the typical struggles of show business, which provided an incentive to continue with education. Working toward a goal in music, he earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a bachelor’s degree in guitar and composition at UC Irvine, which helped create a foothold for scoring television shows and feature films throughout the 1980s and 1990s. “However,” Christy recalls, “performing for bands was the lace that connected the eyelets of the countless projects that kept the lights on and food on the table.”
Continuing to travel on his music education pathway, he went on to earn a Master of Music in Composition from Cal State Fullerton. Then, in 1985 he accepted a music teaching position at UC Irvine, where he discovered his love for classroom teaching. “I found it enjoyable to be able to teach the very thing that was so ingrained in my life,” says Christy. “I had an audience, an avenue for the thinking and the tools behind the music. I had found my calling.”
Christy’s passion for helping others learn music and recording arts led him to many more teaching positions, including at Irvine Valley College, Saddleback College, Mission College, Cogswell College, and to his eventual home at MiraCosta College, where he was given a special opportunity to create a unique musical production, “The Journey.”
“The purpose of this concert is to highlight the music that I created while on sabbatical leave during the spring 2011 semester,” says Christy. “Each work is a representation of an aspect of my personal journey toward the present.”
Based on the passionate infusion of Christy’s struggles and success, “The Journey” spans several decades, and Christy’s experiences are woven into his original music of fresh pop and neoclassical tunes. The concert is performed by more than 50 MiraCosta College student musicians with artistic choreography and dancing by the St. Louis’ Arrive Dance Company.
“The support given to me by the college and community to develop what I teach is represented in the music I wrote,” says Christy. “Teaching music and recording arts at MiraCosta College has been the ultimate ramification of all my years of music creation and performance. It is my passion. It is an opportunity to help students to change their lives by giving them opportunities to earn a living in music…based on their talents and aspirations.”
MiraCosta College music instructor Dan Siegel started performing professionally as lead singer and guitarist in a rock band at age 12. Now he’s known as a “quiet giant” in the music industry with his 20th solo album released in spring 2013.
Siegel released his first album in 1979 on Inner City Records, a New York based independent jazz label. His second album, The Hot Shot (1981), reached No.1 on the Radio & Records Jazz Chart and remained in Billboard's Top 10 selling Jazz albums for 10 weeks. Since then, he has performed his Top 10 recordings around the world, cultivating a global audience. He has also published nearly 400 musical compositions.
In Hollywood, his work as a TV and film composer has included the score for the film, “Reform School Girls” (1986) and the Universal Studios dramatic TV series, “Hard Copy” (1987). He has worked as musical director/conductor on the late night CBS TV show “Overtime” with Pat O'Brien and played music on TV shows and movies, including the Oscar winning film “The Usual Suspects.”
Siegel began recording his own compositions with his band after graduating from the University of Oregon. He holds a bachelor’s of music composition and a master’s in jazz studies. He studied piano in Boston with the legendary Madame Chaloff.
Siegel has recorded and performed with a variety of artists including Glenn Frey (The Eagles), Chaka Khan, Berlin, Philip Bailey (Earth Wind & Fire) and the London Symphony Orchestra. He organized Birds of a Feather, a gathering of world-renowned musicians, such as Larry Carlton, Boney James and Ernie Watts.
Siegel has performed in Asia and went to Beijing in 1995 to record and produce China's first jazz band, Tien Square. Siegel 's albums have ranged from the electronic-oriented “Another Time, Another Place” (1984) with Patrick O'Hearn and Alex Acuna (called “the best keyboard-oriented fusion LP of the year” by Keyboard Magazine) to Hemispheres (1995), which features an ensemble of eclectic musicians such as Bela Fleck, Ottmar Liebert and Osamu Kitajima.
“My goal in the classroom is to give students the necessary tools that will enable them to emerge as new music industry leaders,” Siegel says. “Several of my students have launched professional careers after completing courses at MiraCosta College. For me, that is the ultimate accomplishment."