Jim Thompson, Camp Director
Jim Thompson received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from California State University, Los Angeles in 1972. His primary performance instrument is percussion. While a student at CSULA he studied percussion with Mitchell Peters of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and drum set with Freddie Gruber, a freelance teacher
in the Los Angeles area. He holds a Masters Degree in Instrumental Conducting from the American Band College.
He began teaching instrumental and choral music at Lone Hill Intermediate School in San Dimas. He established a successful jazz band program with appearances at local jazz festivals as well as the Reno International Jazz Festival. Following 13 years at Lone Hill Jim moved on to teach at Monrovia High School, California H.S. in Whittier and Rowland High School. He ended his public school teaching career in the Tustin Unified School District for 18 years first at Hewes Middle School and later established the program at Orchard Hills School. During his 42 year teaching career teaching career he was honored three times to be selected as Teacher of the Year.
Mr. Thompson remains active as a clinician and adjudicator on both the street and field for SCSBOA. He is an active performer in percussion, performing with the Golden State British Brass Band, The Pomona Concert Band, the Bellflower Symphony Orchestra, and is the assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Concert Band.
Jim first started his association with Wildwood Music Camp in 1987 when he was contacted just three days prior to the senior camp to be an emergency sub for the saxophone coach. He continued to return to Wildwood every summer since, first as the sax coach for many years, later taking on the duty as the jazz band director for both Intermediate and Senior camps for a number of years and later became the Intermediate Concert Band director. In 2009 he was forced to miss working at the camp
due to surgery but was able to visit for a day. In 2016, following the death of camp director Keith Nelson he stepped into the position of camp director.
Though officially retired, he supervises student teachers for Hope International University in Fullerton as well as teaching online music history courses.