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Music in Schools: 2014 California All-State Jazz Band

Strymon is committed to supporting and promoting music in the schools. Most everyone here plays an instrument and many of us were members of our schools’ music programs. We hope to inspire young musicians to continue to create amazing music.

This year we were proud to sponsor Ethan Opdahl of Mission Vista High School on behalf of the California Alliance for Jazz. Ethan was selected at the guitar for the 2014 California All-State Honor Jazz Band. We were excited to learn more about Ethan’s guitar playing and musical aspirations.

What got you interested in Guitar?
My sister got a really cheap little nylon string acoustic one Christmas, and at age seven I started messing around with it just for fun. I became absolutely addicted and actually started teaching my self to play out of a beginners book my dad had. My Grandpa graciously offered to pay for a year of lessons. My parents saw how serious I was about it and I kept taking lessons for about 8 years. It took me about three years to realize this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Were there any teachers or instructors that really stood out while learning guitar?
I wouldn’t be anywhere without my guitar teacher Howard Hart. He always bombarded me with insane Al Demiola picking exercises and such, and for that I’m very grateful. He’s a really cool player. Anne Fennell, my high school music teacher, has also taught me a lot in our music composition classes and steel drum ensemble.

Who are your influences?
I listen to a lot of different artists. Most recently I’ve been listening to prog metal bands like This Town Needs Guns, Animals as Leaders, Dream Theater, Tool and Intronaut. In terms of guitarists, I’m a huge John Petrucci fan. I really like fusion guys like Holdsworth and Al Demiola. I also just got hooked on Guthrie Govan.

What are your musical aspirations?
I definitely want a career in music. I think I would really enjoy touring with a band or as a solo artist playing progressive rock/metal. Lately I’ve been considering a degree in composition. I think it would be absolutely awesome to write music for films or video games (my other addiction). My number one school is Berklee College of music (fingers crossed for a good scholarship :P).

Talk to us about what you performed in the 2014 California All-State Jazz Band.
The All-State band was an amazing experience. It was literally my first ever jazz gig; I felt very honored to play with so much talent.We played Blue Daniel, Ximeno 735, Central Park West, Trogs Delight, and Groove Merchant. Our director Joey Sellers was full of personality and had a very entertaining dry sense of humor. It was a great experience and opened me up to a whole new style of music. Getting my Ola chorus pedal and meeting Dave Fruehling from Strymon was really cool. I wear the Strymon jacket he gave me all the time!

ChronemicsTell us about your band, Chronemics.
I started Chronemics almost a year ago after my band Relentless Nation stopped playing. The drummer (Aaron Day) and I came together and recorded two demo’s in my garage over the summer, and we later added bassist Nate Davis and keyboardist Logan Snodgrass. We are all honors/ ap students, and Nate is a working college student, so progress can be slow at times. The band plays original prog metal instrumentals, and thrives on pushing the boundaries of what is possible. We have two more songs nearly release ready, and are in the process of booking shows. I’m hoping we can get a full album released during summer. I can’t wait for more people to hear our stuff! You can check us out at or



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