David Zagelow has had a passion for music ever since he picked up a flute at the age of six. What started as a hobby quickly turned into a dream to work in music, thanks to many mentors along the way.
Though Zagelow began music courses at a young age, he says that he didn’t become a dedicated music student until he reached high school. This is where his passion caught fire and he began looking at universities to continue his education and chase his dreams of a career in music.
“My high school music teacher told me that Hal Ott at CWU was a great teacher, so I began looking into Central as an option,” Zagelow said. “I went on an overseas trip with my flute teacher to Japan and when I was there, I met world-renown flutists who also recommended that I go to Central and study with Hal Ott. Being in another country and having people still tell me, “You should go to Central, Hal Ott is at the top of his game” is what really led me to Central.
He enrolled at Central and was enjoying his time studying music, but when Ott asked him what his plans were after he graduated, he realized he didn’t have any idea of the career path he wanted to pursue.
Ott helped connect him with the Nagahara Flute Company and once Zagelow graduated in 2002, he moved to the East Coast and began making flutes. While he enjoyed his job, he wasn’t sure it was the perfect fit for him. That’s when he decided to become a certified Suzuki flute teacher in London, Ontario, which eventually led him to move back to his hometown of Bellingham and begin his career in teaching music.
“I wasn’t very successful in the beginning," Zagelow said. “It was very, very tough and I didn’t really know what I was doing.”
He had several side jobs, one of which was at a commercial real estate company in the marketing department where he learned how to run marketing for small businesses. He took that knowledge and applied it to the music business, Evergreen Music School, that he had started with his wife, Joanna Zagelow, a skilled piano teacher.
Evergreen Music School began to gain momentum, and they now have three locations with 12 music instructors, with classes ranging from violin to guitar to piano.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic will change the way their classes are taught, the music school is prepared to open this fall with increased safety measures including plexiglass between students and instructors, mask use when possible, and frequent sanitization and hand sanitizer stations throughout the schools.
“I owe a lot to the education that I got at Central, it played a huge role in where I am at today,” Zagelow said. “It gave me a well-rounded education not just in music, but in life.”
Story by: Robin Burck