A private family service will be held today and then a public memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 for Foothill High School's choir director JoAnn Koobatian, who died Oct. 18. She was 46.
The family service, to be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Pleasanton, will include her husband Richard and their 12-year-old daughter Amanda, who is in 7th grade at Hart Middle School.
The Nov. 9 service will be held at Valley Community Church on Del Valle Parkway. Those attending are asked to wear pink.
This Saturday, Nov. 2, the 2013 Falcon Royale at the Pleasanton Hilton Hotel will be dedicated to her as parents hold their annual fundraiser, this year marking the 40th anniversary of the opening of Foothill High.
These tribute follow a week of special events in honor of Ms. Koobatian, that included a special half-time concert during last Friday's game between Foothill and Granada High School on the Foothill field.
Last week, the Foothill campus was a sea of pink as students, faculty and parents paid tribute to to the school's talented, fun-loving and much admired choir director. The tribute included wearing embroidered pink wrist bands that hundreds of students made during the week in honor of her favorite color.
Ms. Koobatian majored in music at San Jose State and made it her career from then on. A soprano, she sang with a quartet for many years, including in concerts at the Dean Lesher Center, before joining Foothill as a drama teacher in 1996.
The three choirs she taught are Concert, Chamber and Treble. She also spent extra time at lunch and after school working with students who couldn't fit choir into their schedules, but wanted to sing, and sing better.
Valerie Rossman, the school's visual and performing arts department chair, remembers that from the start, Ms. Koobatian was a star.
"I could see right away that she was a completely dedicated, skilled teacher who knew her subject like no one else," Rossman said. "She had high expectations for her students and just never gave up on them. She always challenged them to do their best and they really appreciated her for it."
Along the way, Ms. Koobatian was honored to receive the 2nd annual Juanita Haugen "Women Making a Difference" award for education, the Crystal Apple award and was named "Teacher of the Year" last year in the Pleasanton school district.
Even after being diagnosed with a rare form of thymic cancer in 2005, she continued teaching through chemotherapy and radiation treatments which eventually damaged her voice. Even though she couldn't sing along with them, she listened to students' voices and knew immediately just what parts they should have in her choirs.
Working with Mark Aubel, music and choir director at Amador Valley High School, she was part of a team that produced 18 musicals featuring students from Pleasanton elementary, middle and high schools.
Aubel, who was on the Foothill campus last week to help Rossman and Foothill's counselors meet with grieving students, said that what made JoAnn Koobatian special "was that not only did she produce good musicians and good choirs, but she produced good people as well."
Aubel, who is planning Saturday's "celebration of life" service, is also working with Foothill band director Josh Butterfield, who is taking over the choir's leadership position temporarily at Foothill.
Music, band and choir directors at Pleasanton schools are a close-knit community, Rossman said. "They're grieving, too."