When John Whitney packs up his office next month as he retires as principal of Pleasanton Middle School, he'll be sure to take the Gold Record and guitar that are the highlights of parallel interests he has in music along with education. In Pleasanton, he's known as the dedicated administrator from his years at PMS and three years before that as principal at Donlon Elementary. Yet on the rhythm and blues circuit, he's the lead guitar player with Annie Sampson and her band, playing weekend gigs along the California coast and at well-known local clubs such as Half Moon Bay Brewery and Armandos in Martinez. Over the years, after he graduated from Cal State Hayward (now East Bay) and before he settled down to a day job as a teacher at Wood Middle School in Alameda, Whitney played and wrote the music for bands on stages at county fairs, festivals and even the Monterey Jazz Festival. He missed out on Woodstock but would head there in a minute if there's ever a Woodstock II.
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posted Friday, May 24, 2013, 12:00 AM