When Orange Coast College student and elementary school teacher William Renner signed up for OCC’s classical guitar class in spring 2020, he wanted to enrich his life by sharpening his guitar skills and return to in-person performances. That vision of playing in an ensemble would have to be postponed approximately two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that halted all in-person events.
He continued improving his guitar skills while attending classes online during the pandemic. With the return to in-person classes this semester, Renner will be performing in the guitar ensemble, along with a solo performance on May 22 at 3 p.m. in the Robert B. Moore Theater on campus. Tickets are available for purchase online.
Born in La Palma, Renner grew up in a musical household. His mother sings and plays piano, and his father plays guitar. “My father always tried to teach me how to play guitar, but I never really wanted to pick it up,” Renner said.
His musical journey began at Walker Junior High School, where he started in the band program and learned how to play the saxophone. As his love for music and live performances grew, he continued this passion when he transferred to John F. Kennedy High School.
At JFK High, Renner joined the marching band, the jazz band and the wind ensemble. He also acquired first chair his junior and senior year, where he assisted the conductor in tuning the orchestra.
After high school, Renner took a break from playing live music to pursue higher education. He attended Cal State Fullerton where he earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology and his elementary school teaching credential. He will receive his Master's of Science in educational leadership this spring.
Renner would play his saxophone over the years, but his love of playing live in a band still lingered, and in spring 2020, he signed up for classical guitar classes at OCC. Little did he know, the COVID-19 pandemic would force classes online and put a pause on live performances.
“I had taken quite a long break and hadn't really ever played with anybody for any period of time,” Renner said. “I really missed playing in a group. There's just something really special about playing a piece of music with other people. There's just something almost magical about it.”
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