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Arthur HecHt

Piedmont Exedra - Piedmont Unified School District | March 29, 2024:


The Arthur Hecht Volunteer of the Year Award is presented annually to individuals who have volunteered their efforts over a period of time and made a difference because of their involvement and commitment to Piedmont’s youth. Arthur ‘Art’ Hecht was a tireless community volunteer dedicated to students in both Piedmont and Oakland. He served on Piedmont’s Board of Education from 1970 to 1982, and was instrumental in developing the Piedmont Continuation High School (now called Millennium High School). In 1998, the Volunteer of the Year Award was established in his memory.

Arthur - The_Tribune_Sun__Jul_24__1988_.jpeg




Before 1968, music in the Piedmont secondary schools was in the dumps. Students received excellent instruction under Leonora Sleeter in the elementary schools, but when they came to Junior High, music was not "in." Most students became discouraged and dropped music. A number of concerned parents approached the music teacher to see how they could help.

Then in 1968, Alan Harvey came with plans to turn music around. He encouraged a support group made up of parents and others.

Doris Hecht and Georgia Koregelos called many music parents on the phone to gauge interest. A meeting was held at the Koregelos home, and CHIME was born! Citizens Highly Interested in Music Education was aimed to include all those interested in music education and the performing arts in Piedmont. It remains open to parents as well as those citizens who do not necessarily have children in the schools. Those who were most concerned with the situation became members of the first board, and Art Hecht was elected first president.

The purpose of CHIME was to support Mr. Harvey and the music program in every way possible. Fundraising activities were planned and the post-concert receptions were intro-duced. In order to acquaint all music parents with the purposes of CHIME, and to sign them up for committee work, a sherry party was held at a private home. This tradition continued through the first two decades.

In 1969, the first annual Music Awards Banquet was held at the Bow and Bell, and it brought many innovations. Mr. Harvey awarded silver and gold awards to students based on a point system, and perpetual trophies were started for the best senior vocalist and instrumentalist. CHIME also awarded its perpetual trophy for service to the Music Department.

Over the years, CHIME has developed a number of other activities in addition to the post-concert receptions and participation in the banquet. In 1974 Mr. Harvey arranged for approximately fifty students to perform at Expo '74 in Spokane. CHIME helped with the fundraising and with arrangements as well as providing chaperones and other as-sistance.


About the same time CHIME took on the sponsorship of Piedmont Explorer Post 99, a group specializing in Performing Arts under the auspices of the Boy Scouts. Bob Linford was the first institutional representative and Post Advisor. Curtis Axell followed him. CHIME helped with finances, and CHIME members helped with transportation and chaperoning for the Post's annual trip to Ashland, Oregon., for the Shakespearean Festival. In addition, Post 99 members attended various theatrical productions and workshops throughout the Bay Area.

CHIME has also helped with transportation and financing for participation by Piedmont music students in the annual Solo-Ensemble Festival, sponsored by the California Music Educators Association.

Nancy Burns suggested a big band dance as a major fund-raiser and the result was the first "Sentimental Journey" dance in 1975.

The affair was held in the Community Center and the High School Stage Band provided dance music. The dance was repeated in 1976 and 1977, with ever increasing numbers of participants. In 1977 the Junior High Band under the direction of Dave Promessi made a brief appearance.

There have been other fundraising projects which resulted in the purchase of new choir robes, regular contributions to the Theatre Enrichment Fund, and equipment and instruments not included in the school budget. In the first years of its existence, CHIME organized a Pops Concert at the beginning of the school year, and received the proceeds for later disbursement. The Pops Concert has been replaced by other activities. Before the old high school was torn down, members of CHIME sold pieces of the auditorium cur-tain. There have also been raffles, Christmas card sales, and other activities.

When the new high school was planned, CHIME took on a new role as consultants in the design of the Theatre. This advice was instrumental in the development of the theatre.

Many devoted people have given their time to serve CHIME on its Board and commit-tees.

CHIME came into being because there was a need to be filled. With increasing monetary squeezes facing the District, a viable support group for performing arts will be needed more than ever.

Doris and Art Hecht


Oakland Tribune - Saturday - Aug. 22, 1998:

Hecht wrote his own eulogy

By Peggy Stinnett


Art Hecht knew he was dying. "My congestive heart failure has been getting the better of me and I'm wondering what people are going to say about me at my memorial service," Hecht wrote a few weeks ago at his home, where he Wednesday at 74. died.

"I've lived through many eulogies and have thought to myself, 'Wouldn't it be nice if the deceased could hear all this?'" he wrote in his unusual farewell to friends and family.


To make sure he "knew at least some of what would be said about him — no doubt with the twinkle in his eye he was known for Hecht his wrote own eulogy, in which he borrowed the saying, "If you want to make sure something done right, do it yourself."

Hecht did many things right, and to him, the most important thing took place is West Damonds Where was McClymonds High School's most faithful volunteer.


Before that, he served 12 years on the Piedmont school board. Plans for a memorial have not been announced yet. But Hecht said "anyone who feels:

like it" could come and add to his own eulogy. "And after that. I hope you'll all gather somewhere, have a good time and have some good laughs, on me."

In an interview in 1996 as he strolled down the halls of McClymonds, he said. "This is my job."

As young men and women hailed him with "Hi. Arti-bo. Hecht would beam a big smile and give them a high-five. He loved the kids and they loved him for his support, finding them jobs and arranging tutoring and otherwise helping with their education.

He loved it that they were black and he was Jewish, they were young and he was old, and were true and trusting friends. 

"Some of my closest friendships have come out of those relationships and I thank those friends for their trust." Hecht wrote in his farewell.

He told why he cared.

I believe the basic goodness of humanity. I'm emotional and cry in the movies, I believe in positive role modeling for young people. We can't say one thing and do another. Young people are yearning for mentors and role models, not just athletic stars but ordinary people like us. I believe there is no such thing as bad kids, only some kids that make bad choices. Its up to us to help them make good choices."

Hecht, a past president of Oakland Roatry and a lifetime member, was honored by his colleagues for his work at McClymonds, and also by the Marcus Foster Educational Institute. Hecht and his wide, Doris, who died in 1994 after 43 years of marriage, had one son, Stephen, a physician who lives in Davis.

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